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).

"I'd rather take a bath, fill it with vinegar, cut myself a thousand times, immerse myself slowly for an hour..." Cowell won't let Katie Hopkins join BGT Taylor Swift is named Woman of the Year, Sam Smith is top musician at London gala. Taylor Swift, Sam Smith win Elle Awards See a whole load of celebrities made out of batter to celebrate Pancake Day. Flippin' heck! See Cheryl as a pancake The singer is preparing to release her fifth album later this year. Watch Leona Lewis record new music The BGT judge's husband is 'mortified' after accidentally tweeting the picture. Amanda Holden explains Pretty Woman picture The singer tells Twitter followers that she has lots of "exciting things happening". X Factor winner Sam Bailey dropped by Syco The Britain's Got Talent judge quickly deleted the photo from Twitter. Holden criticised for daughter picture Simon Cowell brings his baby son Eric to meet his fellow BGT judges. BGT: Baby Eric Cowell meets the judges Watch Ant & Dec and the show's judging panel sharing their very best advice. BGT judges share their Dos and Don'ts The judge arrives with male models wearing gladiator attire in a camp entrance. See David Walliams's camp BGT arrival Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson will voice celebrity puppets in Newzoids. ITV to air topical puppet sketch show Mukerji addresses guests at a fundraiser including Prince Charles and Camilla. Rani Mukerji's bid to end child trafficking The singer says he has a similar working method to Labrinth. Marlon Roudette on joining Cowell's label The singer says that his approach to music wouldn't work for the format. Roudette 'wouldn't get through X Factor' One Direction and label boss Simon Cowell make Debrett's annual influential list. Cowell, 1D among music's most influential After Christopher Maloney holidays with Danniella Westbrook, anything is possible. 6 bizarre celebrity holiday pairings Debrett's unveil latest list of "people of influence and achievement in British society". Who are the most influential people in Britain? The comedian says he doesn't expect to get his NTA back from Simon Cowell. Walliams: 'Cowell won't give NTA back' Pictures of David Walliams's makeover at the hands of Simon Cowell are unveiled. See David Walliams's Red Nose Day makeover We take a look back at the fascinatingly huge popularity of the Soldier, Soldier stars. 20 years after Robson & Jerome: 10 facts The presenter says that his previous comments were "taken out of context". Dermot responds to X Factor exit rumours David Walliams dresses for the occasion as Britain's Got Talent auditions start. Simon Cowell lifts up Walliams' kilt Fox says it has been in talks with Cowell about "a performance-oriented show". New Simon Cowell talent show being mulled? The X Factor judge's fashion sense is already rubbing off on his son. Cowell and Eric: Like father, like son ITV confirms that the judging panel will remain the same for the new series. BGT: All four judges return for new series The accompanying music video features pictures and videos of the late singer. GRL debut single in memory of Simone Battle The singer inks a record deal after finishing second on the talent show last month. Fleur East signs to Simon Cowell's label The girl group will release their first collection on February 3. Fifth Harmony unveil debut album tracklist The comedian says that "everyone was out to get" the X Factor-based musical. Hill on I Can't Sing!: 'Most musicals flop' The singer is returning to music this year with a crowdfunded release. Ray Quinn thanks Simon Cowell for career Elevator fights, new looks and the behind that broke the internet. That's showbiz for you. 22 biggest showbiz shocks of 2014 The Great British Bake Off triumphs in the annual readers' vote. DS 2014 Reader Awards: Reality TV winners Strictly Come Dancing champion reveals she'd love to appear in a musical. Caroline Flack: 'Cowell's proud of me' Cowell reveals that X Factor "monsters" will be brought to light in the book. Simon Cowell writing an autobiography The X Factor winner is on course to be this year's Christmas number one. Watch Ben Haenow's first music video The X Factor winner has described her new sound as "natural and organic". Watch Leona Lewis perform new music The singer says she had "always wondered what it would be like". Tulisa excited to do X Factor with Simon East 17, Zig & Zag and Oasis were among the eclectic artists fighting it out. The Christmas No.1 battle of 1994 revisited The X Factor judge jets off to Barbados for a bizarre-looking break with baby Eric. Simon Cowell's weird holiday in pictures Katie Waissel also hits out at Cheryl for her "bulls**t". Is Katie Waissel hinting at X Factor role?