Kelly Rowland of The X Factor: Simon Cowell Will be a 'Great Father'

updated 08/01/2013 at 07:30 PM EDT

originally published 08/01/2013 07:30PM

The judges from The X Factor came to Beverly Hills on Thursday to drum up a little publicity for the new season. Little did they know they would be entering a publicity storm.

Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato and Paulina Rubio soldiered on, answering questions at the Television Critics Association meeting about reports Simon Cowell had gotten a friend's wife pregnant.

"I think that Simon has always been a very classy guy, he's always been a very respected guy, and he's going to be a great father," Rowland, one of two new judges, tells PEOPLE.

"It is part of life, the gossip," adds Rubio, who also just joined the competition show. "He didn't tell me anything yet, but I will support him if it is true."



Lovato said she simply didn't want to comment. "There's no reason for me to talk about his person life, and I'm here about talk about the show."

But the singer had plenty to say about Cowell and his "Mr. Nasty" reputation.

"Simon is very tough but off camera he's like a teddy bear. He has a big heart," she says.

"I've learned so much from him," Lovato adds. "I think he puts up a front with the rest of the world to be this bad guy but you get to know him he's a really, really sweet person."

Cowell and his fellow panelists are currently in Los Angeles dwindling down their contestant pool of hopefuls. Season 3 premieres Sept. 11 on Fox.



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