FOR 15 years, bitter resentment has fuelled a secret feud between three Australian Idol stars.
The year was 2003. Las Ketchup was at the top of the charts with The Ketchup Song and the first season of Australian Idol was a phenomenon on local screens.
Guy Sebastian didn’t have abs yet and Shannon Noll didn’t threaten fans or call them “f***ing private school stupid f***head motherf***er(s)”. It was a simpler time.
As the weeks rolled on and we voted to keep our favourite contestants in by calling the hotline on our landline telephones, the intensity of the competition grew.
Paulini was nationally shamed for wearing a skin-tight gold dress. Judge Mark Holden didn’t realise the country was laughing at him rather than with him. And Cosima De Vito shocked millions when, after placing in the final three of the semi-finals and knocking out Paulini, she withdrew from the competition because of throat nodules.
It’s this departure that apparently became the source of a years-long rift between her, Paulini and Mark Holden. And Cosima has now hit out at the pair for recent comments they made about her decision to pike all those years ago.
“They clearly have unresolved issues with my exit from the show,” 41-year-old Cosima told New Idea.
“I’ll be honest, I was quite upset and even felt a little betrayed because I thought maybe after 15 years we could all put it behind us, and I would get a little bit more compassion about what I went through.”
Cosima’s brave New Idea interview comes after a recent “where are they now” story published on E! Online. Talking about Cosima’s departure, Mark Holden said: “There are some people who, when you shine a light on them, they grow … Other people, the more light you shine on them, they shrivel and crack.”
Paulini said: “I didn’t expect her to pull out at all. Just because of her personality. She’s so strong. I was like, ‘Jeez, why didn’t she do it on my week!’ No, only joking.”
Despite Paulini’s “lol jks” clarification, Cosima took the comments as seriously as a throat nodules diagnosis. She told New Idea she was hurt by the lack of sympathy and understanding the pair showed towards both her and her nodules.
“Clearly Mark will always think that I didn’t deserve to be there, and his comments were cold,” she said. “Everyone, including Mark, knew the struggles I had with my voice.”
Cosima slammed Paulini’s comments as “insensitive and hurtful” but stopped short of saying something mean about her gold dress because that’s just a low blow.
“Paulini it’s been 15 years and you need to get over it,” Cosima said recently on Instagram. “The people were voting. To say that I should have left the week before was insensitive and cruel. You need to think before you speak.”
Embarrassed by the jibes from her former co-stars, Cosima ended her battle with one final clarification: “I do not regret my decision and I love my life and how it turned out.”
Cosima’s last release was a 2013 cover of Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff.
Paulini avoided jail last year for bribing a government official to unlawfully obtain a driver’s licence.