Entertainment mogul Simon Cowell is known for being one of the harshest and most critical judges on talent competition reality shows.
He’s a record executive, television personality and entrepreneur and has also used his platform for the betterment of others, engaging in philanthropic activities over the years.
“The X Factor,” “Britain’s Got Talent,” “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol” are some of the most popular shows on Cowell’s resume.
Cowell had always been surrounded by musical influences growing up, so it was no surprise when he entered the entertainment industry with a strong focus on the music business.
He helped launch the careers of many musical artists and bands, such as One Direction and Little Mix, who all got their big break on his competition shows.
The music mogul has played a hand in the business side of his own entertainment company, Syco Entertainment, and has also worked on the production side of many musical releases.
When he is not busy judging others on television or working with various musical artists, Cowell spends time with his family, which is made up of his longtime girlfriend Lauren Silverman and their adorable son Eric, who live together in their family home in Malibu, California.
Although the happy couple is seen in a bright light now, the relationship started off with controversy since Lauren was married and Cowell was a close friend of the couple.
These days Cowell is a doting father to his son Eric; however, that doesn’t mean he plans on leaving him part of his big fortune.
Cowell spoke out about how he doesn’t think children who are given a family inheritance work as hard to make their own wealth, which is why he doesn’t plan on leaving his money to Eric.
Cowell was born on Oct. 7, 1959, in Lambeth, London, and raised in nearby Hertfordshire.
His mother was a ballet dancer and socialite, while his father was a real estate agent and music industry executive.
Cowell’s father’s connections allowed him to get his first job in the music industry when he got a job in the mailroom at EMI Records Ltd.
But after failing to get a promotion, Cowell left to try his luck elsewhere.
That’s when he showed his entrepreneurial side, setting up E&S Music in the early ’80s before quitting the venture.
He then formed Fanfare Records, which eventually went under, before starting S Records under BMG.
It was there that he really proved his skill at spotting talent when he persuaded two actors who had performed “Unchained Melody” in a television show to record and release the song.
Known as Robson & Jerome, Cowell would later admit that that record made him his first million. While at BMG, Cowell would also sign popular acts Westlife, Five and the Teletubbies.
But it wasn’t until 2001, when Cowell, along with Simon Fuller, successfully pitched a music competition reality show named “Pop Idol” to ITV that his life would change forever.
When the show was picked up, Cowell became a judge on the series, and that’s when the world got to meet him for the first time.
His critical reputation and his signature phrase, “I don’t mean to be rude, but …” catapulted him to fame, and by the time other countries had their own version of the show, it was clear they all featured someone trying to emulate Cowell’s personality.
When “American Idol” launched in 2002, Cowell also appeared on that iteration, cementing his status on both sides of the Atlantic.
He then came out with another hit reality talent competition show, “The X Factor,” which launched in the U.K. in 2004.
As with the “Idol” series, Cowell started the program in the U.K. first before syndicating it to the world.
He also formed a new company named Syco in 2005. Through Syco he continued to dominate the music industry, signing new artists such as operatic pop group Il Divo.
By 2010 he left “American Idol,” but it wasn’t long before he appeared on the U.S. version of “The X Factor” in 2011.
“The X Factor” became well known for launching the careers of stars such as Leona Lewis, One Direction and Little Mix, among others.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Cowell came out with yet another talent show titled “Britain’s Got Talent,” which broadened the scope of entertainment acts who could audition to be on the show.
As with the “Idol” and “X Factor” franchises, the show was syndicated around the world.
In fact, in 2014, the franchise was named by the Guinness World Records as the world’s most successful reality TV format, with versions in over 68 countries. Cowell said at the time:
“I am very proud that ‘Got Talent’ is a home grown British show. We owe its success to a group of very talented producers all over the world who have made this happen. And of course amazing talent.”
What’s interesting is that these three major franchises are not the only ones Cowell created over the years, though they were the most successful by far.
But after dominating the entertainment space for the last two decades, Cowell has recently begun to focus more on his family, especially after a major accident he had in August 2020.
Fifteen months ago, Cowell was involved in a horror bike accident at his Malibu home. After falling off an electric scooter, he fractured his back in three places and required emergency surgery that lasted six hours.
Apparently undergoing a number of procedures and fusions, as well as having a metal rod inserted in his back, doctors said that the injury was bad but that Cowell was very lucky.
In November 2021, he stepped down as the lead judge on a new show format he’s introducing titled “Walk the Line.” However, he is continuing on as an executive producer. A source close to Cowell told The Sun:
“Everyone at ITV and within Camp Cowell is massively excited about this new project. It has all the ingredients to be a huge hit. As you can imagine, workaholic Simon has been massively involved from the word ‘go.’
“But given all the upheavals of the past year or so, what with lockdown and his health, he’s decided now is not the time to be front of camera. He’s just finished an exceptionally busy period filming which saw him spending an extended period of time away from home, so he also wants to devote more time to his family in the coming weeks.”
While Cowell used to think fatherhood wasn’t for him, the hardworking showbiz honcho has had a change of heart since he and Lauren had Eric in 2014.
But first, he and his partner had to overcome the controversy that surrounded their relationship.
The news about Cowell’s relationship with Lauren first broke in 2013 when the world found out he was not only about to be a father but also that he was in a long-term relationship.
Even more shocking was that Cowell was having a baby with Lauren, who was still married to Andrew Silverman, one of Cowell’s closest friends at the time.
According to US Weekly, Cowell first met Lauren and her now-ex-husband on vacation at Barbados’ Sandy Lane resort in 2004, and the three quickly sparked a friendship that would last long after their vacation ended.
According to The Sun, as the years went by, Cowell would enter, and then soon exit, many relationships, even briefly becoming engaged in 2010 to Mezhgan Hussainy, a makeup artist from “American Idol.”
Both Cowell and Lauren were unhappy in their relationships and secretly began an on-again, off-again affair with one another, as per Good Housekeeping.
They were forced to come clean about their love affair in 2013 when the American socialite became pregnant with Cowell’s child.
The news became a massive scandal as Lauren was still technically married at the time. Soon after the story became public, her then-husband filed for an “at-fault” divorce, citing her adultery with Cowell as the sole reason, according to the Daily Mail.
During an interview with The Mirror in 2013, Cowell admitted that he was not proud of how his relationship with Lauren began, especially considering the hurt that was caused as a result.
“I regret that part,” Cowell said. “But then of course you have a baby and you look at the baby and you kinda go, ‘this is what happened from it.'”
Amid all the high-profile drama, Lauren gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Eric, on Feb. 14, 2014.
Despite the widespread media attention and the bad press they first received, the couple has persevered and is still together to this day.
The two seem very supportive of each other and have stayed by each other’s sides through all their ups and downs. Cowell said in the same interview with The Mirror:
“My life has changed, but I am probably more focused on what I am doing now than I was a year ago. Maybe because it puts things in perspective having two people in my life who I am responsible for.”
The music mogul went on to talk about how he finally found his life partner:
“The great thing about Lauren is she loves what I do, so she sits in if I am watching ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ for example, and she has got a good opinion.”
During an interview with Hello! Magazine in 2015, Lauren talked about how she and Cowell are a great match for each other. She said:
“I think Simon has changed me. He makes me laugh all the time. I can’t get angry with him because when I’m trying to be cross he just makes me laugh.”
Aside from their happy times together, Lauren has also credited Cowell with helping her grow as a person: “I feel I learn so much from him, which is incredibly inspiring. He’s very talented.”
According to Express, the first time Cowell saw his son Eric, he said, “This is the most magical moment of my life.”
The news outlet also reported that a source close to Cowell revealed that “For once he was so happy he was speechless and he said he choked up completely as he cradled little Eric in his arms.”
While appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Cowell said of his son:
“He’s the most amazing thing that ever happened to me. I adore him.”
He’s certainly a loving father, despite his harsh persona on TV. When asked by AGT host Terry Crews if he had spent more time with his son during the lockdown, Cowell responded:
“If there was one good thing from this, it was that. We’re like best buddies.”
People reported that following his accident in 2020, Cowell was worried how his son would react to seeing him after surgery:
“I was so embarrassed about coming home looking about 100 (years old) because I couldn’t walk, and I have these metal rods in my back and these screws. I said, ‘Lauren, I just don’t know how to explain it to (Eric).’
She obviously said something to him because he came in … and I was lying in bed and he said, ‘Daddy, you’re like Ironman,’ and I thought that was the sweetest thing and it meant a lot.”
Despite all his adoration for Eric, Cowell has decided not to leave his fortune to him. Estimated to be worth $600 million by Celebrity Net Worth, Cowell was number 45 on Forbes’ 2020 Celebrity Earnings list.
He made it clear he won’t be leaving his son an inheritance as early as 2013 when he told The Mirror:
“I don’t believe in passing on from one generation to another. Your legacy has to be that hopefully you gave enough people an opportunity, so that they could do well, and you gave them your time, taught them what you know.”
As for what he’ll do with his fortune? Cowell said he would donate it:
“I’m going to leave my money to somebody. A charity, probably — kids and dogs.”
Eric Cowell, Simon Cowell (2019), (Ian Lawrence/GC Images?Getty images)
What do you think about Simon Cowell — who is worth $600 million — refusing to leave his son an inheritance?
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