A sharp-tongued British personality whose cutting but often hilariously honest comments have dashed the dreams of countless aspiring singers, Cowell was a successful music producer before being tapped in 2001 to be a judge for Pop Idol
, the British reality competition that was the basis for American Idol
. Since then, Cowell has practically made a career out of being disliked, as his outrageous put-downs and tempestuous relationships with host Ryan Seacrest and former judge Paula Abdul have been a large part of Idol
's mass appeal. Throughout his time on Idol
, Cowell also launched several reality-competition series, including American Inventor
, America's Got Talent
and Celebrity Duets
, as well as the short-lived matchmaking series Cupid
. In 2010, Cowell announced he was leaving Idol
in order launch a U.S. version of the popular British singing competition The X Factor
, on which he's served as a judge since 2006.Simon Cowell Fast Facts:
- Started out as a clerk in the mail room of EMI Music.
- Launched his own record label, Fanfare, in the 1980s and had his first hit, "So Macho," with singer Sinitta.
- Ranked No. 33 on the 100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate list on the UK's Channel 4 network in 2003.
- Penned the 2003 book I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But... : Backstage Gossip from American Idol and the Secrets that Can Make You a Star.
- Appeared in a 2005 PETA anti-fur ad, as well as a 2009 PETA commercial urging dog owners not to leave their pets unattended in hot cars.
- Simon Cowell Relationships:
- Eric - Son
- Lauren Silverman - Significant Other
- Eric Cowell - Father
- Michael Cowell - Half Brother
- Nicholas Cowell - Brother
- Julie Cowell - Mother
- Tony Cowell - Half Brother
- John Cowell - Half Brother
- June Cowell - Half Sister
- Mezhgan Hussainy - Ex-fiancée
- Terri Seymour - Ex-significant Other
- Simon Cowell Awards:
- 2006 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2005 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2004 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2003 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2007 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee