Nigel Lythgoe
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Nigel Lythgoe’s Alleged Private Texts to Paula Abdul Exposed

American Idol alum Paula Abdul is deadly serious about her lawsuit against her former boss and friend Nigel Lythgoe.

Now she’s accusing her former co-worker of launching a smear campaign against her by only releasing innocent, friendly messages between them. But Paula’s got receipts.

To add to her allegations of sexual harassment, Paula released screencaps of some of the super cringey, totally inappropriate text messages she’s allegedly received from Nigel over the years. Hope you haven’t eaten recently.

Paula saved the proof

Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe
Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images

In December 2023, Paula sued Nigel for sexual assault and harassment. She claims Nigel assaulted her several times during her years as a judge on both Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

According to, the Opposites Attract singer alleges Nigel “cherry-picked” the messages he released as proof that they were just friendly co-workers. But Paula’s got her own stash of messages, and those show a pattern of explicit and inappropriate harassment.

In one conversation from September 14, 2015, Nigel allegedly sent Paula a late-night text reading, “F*ck it! I’m missing you madly already x. Wanna come round and take off that beautiful dress, jump in the pool naked with me? Let’s cling to each other like we’re the last 2 people on Earth and gently make love before my drugs wear off. HaHa!” Ew.

Attempting to gently end the conversation, she simply responded, “Good nite!” But Nigel had more to say.

“I’m in the pool?????” he wrote back.

Trying to laugh off his inappropriate advances, Paula replied, “Omg! My phone died, and I just got your message! You are killing me! Hahahahahahahaha.”

Nigel gave it one last try with, “Get over here quickly before everything shrinks.”

Janet Jackson’s former choreographer simply answered, “I love you!”

Treading a line between friend and boss

Another conversation between the two took place on April 11, 2014.

“I am hoping to rush to your honors on Saturday night?” Nigel texted. “It depends [on] what time we finish?”

“Oh! I hope you can go!!!” the Straight Up artist responded. “Pleeeeeezz Re: Vegas – I agree, but we really need to talk. I want to fill you in on a few things I found out. Very interesting!”

Nigel replied, “I’ll come if you promise me a big wet kiss! With tongues! Is a small grope of the ass asking too much?”

Trying to downplay his gross comments, Paula responded, “You are something else, Nigel! One of a kind!!!!”

Documents filed by Paula’s legal team on March 14 alleged, “Not only did Lythgoe’s Answer hit the press nearly as soon as it was filed, but it is rife with argumentative and vitriolic character attacks on Ms. Abdul and superfluous background that are irrelevant to the sexual assault, battery, and harassment claims pled by Ms. Abdul.”

In addition, Paula’s legal team claims Nigel’s response “is a blatant attempt to smear Ms. Abdul’s reputation and to curb the negative press he has received from now being sued by 5 separate women for sexual assault and battery.” They’re requesting his response be thrown out.