Kara DioGuardi says her time as a judge on "American Idol" was "torture" and almost prompted her to buy undergarments by the Depend brand, which manufactures adult diapers, due to anxiety over possibly wetting herself from nerves.
The 40-year-old songwriter details her experiences on the FOX singing contest series in her new book, "A Helluva High Note: Surviving Life, Love, and 'American Idol,'" which was released on Tuesday, April 26 and also contains stories of her past sexual abuse.
"As far as I'm concerned, Season 8 might as well have been called 'Survivor,' DioGuardi writes in her new book," DioGuardi said, referencing the CBS reality show. "Every moment was mentally, physically and emotionally challenging. Every old fear or insecurity about the way I looked, what I said and who I was leaped to the forefront of my mind before each show."
"They could edit out all of your stupidity in the audition rounds, but when the show went live, you were on your own, baby," she added. "At one point, I almost bought Depend undergarments as the anxiety over possibly wetting myself from nerves became a regular occurrence. It was torture."
DioGuardi said Jackson was always kind to her throughout her time on "American Idol" and that Abdul "took me under my wing at the early auditions" but that Cowell resisted her attempts to bond with him. The three, as well as FOX spokespeople, have not commented on her remarks.
DioGuardi added that she ultimately accepted the job on the show because "let's be honest, who turns the biggest show on television down?"
DioGuardi first appeared on "American Idol" in 2009, joining veteran judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. DioGuardi was often seen sparring with her peers and once challenged a bikini-wearing contestant vocally over a Mariah Carey song. DioGuardi ended up performing a duet with the girl on the season's finale and showcased her own skimpy swimsuit.
DioGuardi says in her book that the experience helped her overcome her fear of singing and baring her body in public.
Abdul left "American Idol" later that year. Ellen DeGeneres, who replaced her, Cowell and DioGuardi left the show in 2010 amid declining ratings. FOX then revamped the series with two new judges - Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
DioGuardi also says in her book that she found out she may be axed from the show by reading about it online and that the stress of "American Idol" affected her ability to get pregnant, adding: "I had undergone three unsuccessful rounds of IVF during Season 9."
DioGuardi said on NBC's "Today" show that she is "stronger" after appearing on "American Idol." She spoke during an interview to promote her new book as well as her new Bravo songwriting competition series "Platinum Hit," which is set to debut on May 30.
Check out Kara DioGuardi's interview on the "Today" show below.