Britain’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell has admitted that he made mistakes over how to best handle series runner-up Susan Boyle.

Speaking on Friday as Susan Boyle pulled out of her fourth show on the live tour, Cowell said, “I suddenly realised she didn’t know how to cope with losing. We didn’t handle it well.”

He added that the 48-year-old – who spent four days in London clinic The Priory with exhaustion following the final of the show – “seemed fine” in the run-up to the programme itself.

“Then, at the crucial point in the final, I looked at her face and thought’she doesn’t know how to deal with not winning,'” he admitted. “It was a bad moment.

“Afterwards, I went over and gave her a hug and tried to reassure her. I said, ‘Susan, my offer to record an album with you still stands’. We agreed we would work together – that it wasn’t the end of the road.”

Cowell also said that he was not in showbusiness to “upset a nice lady like Boyle”, who became a global superstar after her original audition for the show was seen all round the world on Youtube.

He said that he thought she came over “well, but not sensationally” in that audition.

“I certainly didn’t think, ‘here comes a phenomenon who is going to become the most famous woman in the world, I wonder if she can mentally cope with it?’

“I thought she looked a bit eccentric and certainly a character, but that was all.”

Susan lost out to dance troupe Diversity in the final.