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).

The 31-year-old magician impresses the judges with his tricks. Watch Jamie Raven mesmerise the BGT judges How did tonight's (April 18) varied selection of acts go down on Twitter? Twitter reacts to Britain's Got Talent ep 2 Here is everything you need to know about the maelstrom of talent tonight. BGT: The good, the bad & the bizarre The One Direction singer has already signed his first artist. Louis Tomlinson starting a record label Interview: Former Westlife star talks about his debut solo single. Why Markus Feehily didn't ask for Cowell's help Get ready for this evening's instalment of weird and wonderful acts. Britain's Got Talent: 10 teasers for tonight Britain's Got More Talent continues to humiliate David Walliams this weekend. BGT: What's on David Walliams's rider? Get some sneak peeks at this week's show as dance troupe Boyband impress. BGT: Did Alesha's heart just melt? The One Direction boss says Malik had told him he wanted to leave the band before. Cowell knew Zayn's 1D exit was coming The upcoming 12th year of the ITV reality show is premiering in the autumn. The X Factor UK gets US broadcast again Dermot O'Leary's replacements have been confirmed - let us know your thoughts. Poll: Are Olly & Caroline the right hosts? We all know she has a strong vocal, but now she has an equally strong voice. Why Leona's new album is very exciting The ex-X Factor NZ judge compares her criticisms to the likes of Gordon Ramsay. Natalia Kills: 'Cowell is harsher than me' The Queen, Prince Harry and Prince George will all feature in ITV's new series. Newzoids unveils puppet Royal family X Factor 2006 winner references the breakdown of their professional relationship on new record. Leona 'criticises Cowell on new album' Celebrities team up with DI Sleet to solve murders across Successville. Watch BBC Murder in Successville trailer Calum Scott admits that he might be at a disadvantage as a singer in the show. BGT's Calum: My sister will get her chance Simon Cowell said he is warming to the idea of adoption. Simon Cowell considering adoption The Ruby Reds get something off their chests; wow judges at Britain's Got Talent. Watch The Ruby Reds wow at BGT auditions One episode in and we've had a Golden Buzzer. But what did you think of the acts on show tonight? Twitter on Britain's Got Talent return Here's your guide to all of the acts from tonight's Britain's Got Talent premiere. Britain's Got Talent: Good, bad, bizarre Amanda Holden reveals that she thinks the Ysgol Choir have a good chance. BGT: Why did Simon press his golden buzzer? We know what to expect on the show now, but that doesn't stop it being fun. Britain's Got Talent: Was it any good? The judge tells The Seven O'Clock Show that he wants to return to management. Louis Walsh says he's done with X Factor Watch new preview clips from tonight's (April 11) first auditions show. Got Talent: Max the dog doesn't like Ant Get some sneaky hints about what you can expect from tonight's premiere. Britain's Got Talent: 10 teasers for tonight Amanda Holden is horrified that Simon Cowell has let slip about the games. Amanda Holden on career-ending BGT games Probably not, no. Did Stephen Mulhern turn down The X Factor? Simon Cowell tells Digital Spy that the hit show is "back on top form" this year. Amanda Holden is getting naughty on BGT Cowell tells his fellow judge that he is replacing her with the "younger" Cheryl. Watch Cowell prank Holden with BGT axe Amanda Holden gets filthy, Stephen Mulhern's after Ant & Dec's job and more. The 10 most bizarre BGT launch moments Britain's Got Talent judges joke around with Stephen Mulhern ahead of the new series. Cowell: 'New BGT judges too expensive' The comedian is pitted against a Belgian Shepherd on the BGT stage. BGT: See David Walliams dressed as a dog The comedian says that eccentric acts are still his "absolute favourite". BGT's Walliams: 'Talent not most important' The singer says that the judges have "healthy" debates about acts on the show. Alesha Dixon talks BGT disagreements The Britain's Got Talent boss says he has "higher standards" than his co-judges. Cowell: 'David Walliams is out of control' She says that Simon Cowell is "perfectly entitled" to shake up the judging panel. Amanda Holden talks her BGT future The presenters say that one of Simon Cowell's ambitions is fulfilled this year. Ant & Dec: 'BGT still surprises us' Britain's Got Talent judge recalls the show's "unbelievably bad" first review. Cowell: 'People said my career was over' View the early standout contestants as the ITV show's 9th series returns. Meet Britain's Got Talent's Ones to Watch