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).

Fellow Britain's Got Talent judges Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon want to star. Walliams working on talent show sitcom Singer and actress says her new job on The X Factor "just fit into place perfectly". Rita Ora doesn't want a Cheryl X Factor feud The singer says the role is a "great thing" for her at this point in her career. Ora: 'X Factor is an amazing opportunity' The shock jock tips Simon Cowell to replace him on the talent show. Howard Stern is quitting America's Got Talent The singer reveals she had to cut off her hair to be allowed to play football. Sam Bailey pretended to be a boy for 2 years There are a lot of adorable photos here that will melt your heart. You have been warned. 9 cute Father's Day messages from the stars "Last year's show made me realise there's still a lot of talent to be discovered." Cowell: 'It's make or break for X Factor' Murs says he prefers being an encouraging host. Olly Murs didn't want to be an X Factor judge Singer, brand ambassador, actress, X Factor judge... Here's how Rita Ora took over the world of entertainment. Rita Ora is everywhere: Her rise to success The music mogul texted This Morning host Amanda Holden X Factor comments on air. Cowell: 'Rita and Nick didn't sign for money' Can a new panel revitalise the primetime TV behemoth? New X Factor judges: For and Against Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw are joining this year's judging panel. Cowell on new X Factor: 'Embrace the madness' Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Simon Cowell - yay or nay? Poll: Are you happy with the X Factor judges? Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Simon Cowell complete this year's judging lineup. Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora join X Factor We've gathered together everything we've heard about the new series of The X Factor. The X Factor: Everything we know so far The regulator received 1,150 complaints about Matisse's secret doggie double. Ofcom investigating BGT stunt dog complaints The singer said that seeing the two shows fighting over her is a 'massive compliment'. Ora: 'X Factor bidding war is a compliment' It looks like we'll have a confirmed X Factor judging panel by July 6. X Factor arena audition dates unveiled The star also wants to bring a chat show similar to James Corden's Late Late Show to the UK. Stephen Mulhern on Catchphrase's return The 'Bleeding Love' singer says she never reads what people say about her. Why Leona has never believed her own hype Craig Revel Horwood previously said that a same-sex couple is "on the cards". Strictly judge doubts same-sex pairing in 2015 The British judge reminds Epic Records label boss where Fifth Harmony came from. Cowell hits back at LA Reid over X Factor The Epic Records boss says he shouldn't have returned for the show's second season. LA Reid regrets doing The X Factor USA Can you honestly see Robbie Williams and Simon Cowell together on a judging panel? Robbie Williams denies X Factor role Presenter reveals that she's hoping she can do the Strictly winners' dance. Caroline Flack: 'Simon Cowell enjoyed Strictly' Simon Cowell signs up the 15-year-old after sitting his GCSE exams this week. BGT singer Isaac Waddington wins music deal Leona goes On The Record to talk Cowell frustrations and empowering songs. Leona Lewis: 'I won't let my past define me' The presenter also reveals he's gutted over Jamie Raven's trick being exposed. BGT Mulhern had no idea about stunt dog The TV judge says he felt like an "idiot" after the "cock-up". Simon Cowell: 'We let BGT Jules down' The TV judge takes time out from Matisse-gate for the event at Banqueting House. Simon Cowell hosts charity Midsummer Ball Producer Mark Sidaway wants to put the ITV show back on top. X Factor plans "big changes" to take on Strictly The singer says his former Take That bandmate isn't "patient" enough to do television. Gary: Robbie turned down American Idol Simon Cowell and Gary Barlow also get made out of pepperoni and cheese. Who fancies a David Beckham pizza? From Collabro to Pudsey - what have the acts gone on to achieve since winning the talent show? Ranking the BGT winners post-show Join us as we bring you all the action from the huge Britain's Got Talent final. Britain's Got Talent final: As it happened Little Mix interruptions and Twilight epiphanies - Collabro talk their new LP. Collabro's track-by-track guide to Act Two It's official - we now have our lineup for the Britain's Got Talent 2015 Final. Who's last through to Britain's Got Talent final? Join us for the last Britain's Got Talent live semi-final of the series. BGT semi-final 5 - as it happened "We should encourage that sort of thing, absolutely," says judge Craig Revel Horwood. Strictly to "certainly" have same-sex couple The host also talks about her meeting with Simon Cowell after winning Strictly. Caroline Flack backs Grimmy for X Factor