Simon Cowell

Occupation: Producer, music executive

Nationality: British

Born: October 7, 1959 (55)

Simon Cowell is a music executive who first stepped out from behind the scenes as a judge on 2001 UK singing competition Pop Idol. After becoming notorious for his brutal honesty and cutting put-downs, he secured a place on the panel of the phenomenally successful American Idol, which he continued to work on for nine years before leaving in 2010.

Cowell also established his own production company, through which he developed a variety of reality formats. The most successful of these have been UK shows The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, both of which have since been exported to numerous countries worldwide.

In 2011, the music mogul brought The X Factor to America, acting as one of the four judges. He also premiered his first gameshow, Red Or Black, that year.

Cowell got engaged to make-up artist Mezhgan Hussainy in February 2010, but the couple separated in 2012. In April 2012, it was revealed he had an affair with fellow X Factor judge Dannii Minogue (who left the show in 2010).

Josh Daniels' performance of Labrinth's 'Jealous' left the X Factor judge in tears. Simon Cowell explains X Factor tears Rita Ora is in tears again - and Simon Cowell is being seduced. X Factor 2015: 10 teasers about tonight "Something needs to change on that show," axed X Factor contestant Mason insists. X Factor Mason: 'Cowell's lost control' The judge spoke to Digital Spy about The X Factor's "scary" challenge. Rita Ora was "dreading" Six Chair Challenge Bupsi leaves Simon Cowell wide-eyed after a particularly provocative audition. X Factor: Cowell is seduced by an auditionee The 18-year-old even makes Simon Cowell smile. The X Factor: Che Chesterton wows judges When is the show on TV? What's going on with Boot Camp? And how have the ratings been so far? The X Factor: Everything you need to know "Why don't you shut up?" Simon Cowell and Mason Noise trade barbs at the Six-Chair Challenge. Cowell calls X Factor singer an "arsehole" Peter Andre jokes that his wife has already left him out of fear of embarrassment. Strictly's Peter Andre: Cowell loves us really "We're having a GREAT time here today." Simon Cowell gets booed at The X Factor "It's disappointment after disappointment." X Factor: The boys have fallen apart The X Factor judge said it sets a bad example for the younger generation. Cheryl: Body shaming should be illegal X Factor co-host says of boss Simon Cowell: "He makes you feel like everything you say is the best idea in the world" Flack: 'I laugh off Harry Styles past' The judge took to Twitter to share his surprise at the public's choice for him. Is Simon disappointed at X Factor category? The public have their say, but who did Simon, Cheryl, Rita and Grimmy end up with? X Factor announces judges' categories Niall Horan hopes President Obama takes a look. Watch One Direction fans' inspiring video Seann Miley Moore pulled out all the stops in his strong (and sassy!) X Factor audition. Rita Ora left stunned by powerful audition Josh Daniel's rendition of Labrinth's 'Jealous' will hit you right in the feels. Watch X Factor audition that made Cowell cry Excuse us, we have something in our eye. X Factor review: We're not okay Join us as we bring you all the action from the second night of auditions. X Factor episode 2: Live blog New judges, new hosts - but was The X Factor just the same old show? X Factor review: Were the changes worth it? The live auditions kicked off with a bang, and social media was on hand to document every moment. X Factor episode 1: What did Twitter think? There will be tears. X Factor: 10 teasers for episode two The student's smooth voice wins over the judges with a fantastic rendition of a Billy Joel classic. X Factor 2015: Tom Bleasby has got soul Techno Susie, 4th Power, Louisa Johnson - it was all going on tonight. X Factor: Here's your video round-up A homecoming-of-sorts may be just what the boys need before taking their well-earned break. Cowell wants One Direction send-off on X Factor We'll be dreaming of Nick Grimshaw lip syncing tonight. X Factor: The 15 best bits from tonight's show Camden Town singer wows the crowd and judges alike with her rendition of Mary Mary's 'Shackles'. X Factor: Jennifer Phillips earns standing ovation The Filipino girl group, made up of four sisters, flew in especially to audition. X Factor: Filipino girlband stun judges It's time to face the music. The X Factor 2015 launch: Live blog "Professionally he's talented but he should be ashamed," Roche said Rixton's Jake Roche slams Zayn Malik There's loads happening in the launch, from sexy dancing to viral stars. X Factor 2015: 10 teasers about tonight No X Factor party is complete without this treat. X Factor: The only bingo card you need Chocolate + Baccara's 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie' = One happy former X Factor judge. Can Louis Walsh dance? Find out here Whatever happened to Rowetta Satchell, Tabby Callaghan and dare we say it... Steve Brookstein? The X Factor series 1: Where Are They Now? The Essex girl takes to the auditions stage with a long list of Whitney Houston songs. X Factor: Lauren Murray "reps Whitney" Susan Price shocks the judges with her moves on this weekend's show. Watch this X Factor act hit some bum notes He just can't resist lip-syncing and dancing to the Girls Aloud hit 'Sound of the Underground' backstage. X Factor: Grimmy channels his inner popstar Is Cheryl missing Louis? "No." The X Factor: All the red carpet gossip Simon Cowell attempting to get down with the kids is just one highlight. X Factor: Best bits from the press launch