The X Factor judge's feelings for his former co-star were revealed in extracts from ex-BBC journalist Tom Bower's book The Intimate Life Of Simon Cowell published in The Sun.
Cowell is said to have compared her to Princess Diana, while also stating that he "would have liked an affair with Cheryl".
Bower claims that the Syco boss had become infatuated with Cole during her visits to his dressing room when they worked together on The X Factor.
He is quoted as saying: "She would come in dressed in her tracksuit and slippers, drop her eyes and play the soulful victim to get around me. She played me.
"When she walked over, I felt I was the mouse with a beautiful cat. I adored her. And as she got her own way, it drove Louis Walsh mad. [Walsh said,] 'These girls are actresses. They'll get you to do what they want'."
The book also reveals how Cowell had almost tempted Cole to return to the UK X Factor after her axe from the US version.
He reportedly said: "Come back to The X Factor in London. It'll be your Princess Diana moment. You'd do a great entrance."
Cole replied: "OK, I'll do it." However, her agent will.i.am told her not to pursue it.
Simon Cowell is also said to have had a secret relationship with Dannii Minogue in Tom Bower's book of revelations.
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