Former Frankie Goes To Hollywood frontman Holly Johnson was left ostracised by all his peers in the music industry after he was diagnosed with HIV - but thanks Simon Cowell for standing by him.
The singer was left fearing for his life after doctors diagnosed him with the virus in 1991, but it was the reaction of his showbusiness pals that pushed him to his lowest ebb.
He explains, "When I dropped out of the music business, it was like being an outcast for a number of years. It was a very hard and dark time for me. I was gravely ill and no one knew if I would make it.
"I had little support from people in the music business and I didn't hear from any of the other band members."
However, the star could count on one person for support - music mogul Cowell.
Johnson says, "Simon Cowell was one of the very few people who came round to my house to see that I was OK.
"He knew that I wasn't in the best of health. I got a message that he wanted to work with me, so I sent him some demos of new songs and he came round and suggested that I do an album of cover versions."
Despite the kind offer, Johnson decided to turn down the opportunity - but will always be thankful to the American Idol boss.
He adds, "It was very kind of Simon but, as a songwriter, I felt I would rather perform my own songs than the Unchained Melody type of song, which I know he likes.
"Simon was the only person who made an offer to me like that and, to this day, I have got a soft spot for him."