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Simon Cowell

Occupation: Producer

Nationality: British

Born: October 7, 1959 (54)

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).

The 79-year-old dancer said that Simon Cowell's early buzz did not affect her. BGT Paddy: 'Golden Buzzer was super' Some viewers were disappointed to learn that Paddy had won a Spanish talent show. BGT: Simon Cowell defends dancing Paddy The talent show's eighth series kicks off with 45% of the audience share. Britain's Got Talent returns with 10.5m Paddy Jones and much-younger partner have toured the world with acrobatic salsa. BGT salsa gran won Spanish talent show Coverage of the FA Cup semi-final delays the first episode by 45 minutes. BGT delayed by football: Funny reactions Simon Cowell returns to ITV for more variety show fun and games. Britain's Got Talent returns! Live Blog Get some hints about what madness is coming your way on Britain's Got Talent. BGT: 10 teasers for tonight's launch Mad Men and 24 binge sessions and the return of Britain's Got Talent. What to watch this weekend: Don't-miss TV Ukrainian dance troupe with a difference Light Balance take to the stage. See Britain's Got Talent act Light Balance Alesha Dixon suggests that a number of acts could win this year's competition. BGT Simon Cowell expects British winner Amanda Holden reveals that she would like to see "less earnest drag acts". BGT Cowell: Fatherhood won't change judging Video: Digital Spy chats to Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden. BGT judges talk new series, Cowell baby Britain's Got Talent judge shows off his hidden talent... or not. Simon Cowell raps as Pitbull - listen Has Britain still Got Talent? Find out what some of the show's past stars are now up to. 11 memorable BGT acts: Then and now Cowell reveals that Rihanna was never approached for a role on the ITV show. Cowell on X Factor rumours: 'Rita Ora? No' The Take That frontman is stepping down from his role as X Factor judge. Simon Cowell denies Gary Barlow spat Squiddly and Diddly are joined by the other judges' pet pooches for the launch. Cowell dresses puppies at BGT press launch Greggs ruins your daily cuppa by sticking Britain's Got Talent stars in the froth. BGT judges get frothy coffee portraits TV producer says he is the "best person" at spotting stars on The X Factor. Cowell 'better at talent-finding than Barlow' The singer talks to DS about her new album, tour plans and turning down X Factor. Anastacia: 'I needed to find myself' X Factor judge says he regrets having an affair with Lauren Silverman. Cowell 'depressed' before fatherhood Ant & Dec reveal some hints about the act they pressed their Golden Buzzer for. BGT Ant & Dec talk taking Simon's chair David Walliams praises Simon Cowell for his "honesty" on Britain's Got Talent. BGT David: 'I'm a thorn in Simon's side' Simon Cowell jokes that David Walliams couldn't wait to take over as head judge. BGT Simon Cowell on "annoying" David Amanda Holden admits people forget that she's an actress because of the show. Amanda Holden: BGT changed my minxy image David Walliams says that he wanted to champion the "underdog" on the show. BGT: Walliams defends golden buzzer pick We rate four BGT acts that we met backstage at auditions in Hammersmith. Britain's Got Talent: Could these acts win? The Got Talent franchise has now been ordered in 58 territories around the world. Got Talent 'most successful reality show' The X Factor winner says that "people look too deeply into the media circus". James Arthur denies Syco drop claims Simon Cowell's label reportedly sacks the star after terrorism lyrics in rap. James Arthur 'dropped by Syco' Simon Cowell's talent show will return for its eighth series later this month. When will Britain's Got Talent return? Digital Spy looks back at past stories that were somehow not hoaxes. 10 April Fools' stories that weren't Find out where and when you can audition for the talent show. How can I audition for The X Factor? Gogglebox pair Stephen & Chris get rather frank about Miley, Gwyneth and more... Gogglebox duo take on the stars Singer responds to reports that villain in X Factor musical is based on him. James Arthur hits out at Simon Cowell Sinitta shares a picture of herself with Simon Cowell's newborn baby son. Sinitta is Simon Cowell son's godmother Peter Dickson's take on all the news and speculation surrounding this year's series... X Factor Voice voices opinion on X Factor Stephen Mulhern drops hints about what to expect from new Britain's Got Talent. Britain's Got Talent: Mulhern's musings Stavros Flatley and The Showbears join Stephen as he advertises BGT's spinoff. BGT: See Mulhern sing for the judges Other press night attendees include Kate Beckinsale and Stacey Solomon. Cowell kiss, Cardle at X Factor musical