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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).

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? Only The Young shouty man. Sinitta's tweets. That Blonde Electra kiss. And more! 15 silliest moments from The X Factor 2014 Simon Cowell reveals that Ben Haenow has already reached number three on iTunes chart. Cowell: 'Ben's single already at number 3' X Factor winner was announced during Sunday's live finale at Wembley. Ben Haenow wins X Factor 2014 There are two Overs in The X Factor final. And no, we can't believe it either. The X Factor Final Live Blog: As it happened X Factor brings back Wagner, Chloe Jasmine and more for comedic medley. See Wagner, Chloe Jasmine back on X Factor Crawford is given Christmas present from Simon Cowell - but what's inside? Xtra Factor's Sarah-Jane gets Stevi surprise Andrea, Ben and Fleur have done all they can. Who sang best tonight? The X Factor final poll: Who sang best? It's time to face... the fact it's nearly Christmas. X Factor final: Live blog - As it happened Over 37,000 readers take part in poll ahead of tonight's live final. X Factor: Fleur is readers' tip to win Tulisa is deemed the "natural choice" to replace Mel B for the final. X Factor: Tulisa steps in for ill Mel B X Factor finalists confirm their respective winner's singles ahead of this weekend's final. Fleur East promises "bigger" Uptown Funk Who'll be wearing lucky pants? Why is Andrea so happy about using a washing machine? X Factor: 10 things to know before the final Simon Cowell also unleashes his snark on Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. X Factor: Simon hits out at Quickenden Cheryl Fernandez-Versini says she is very "straight-talking" with her fellow judge. The X Factor Cheryl on Mel B tension Cowell's Got Talent now has 67 local versions across the world. Mongolia's Got Talent = Cowell owns Earth The X Factor judge admits that he did ask Madonna to perform. Simon Cowell: 'Madonna never snubbed me' Mark Ronson had to release his single early after Fleur East performed it on The X Factor. Cowell denies Uptown Funk 'corruption' He says that Cowell has offered him "priceless" advice during the competition. X Factor Ben: 'Simon doesn't prefer Fleur' Fox is rumoured to want Simon Cowell back in the US with a new show. Simon Cowell to return to US TV? Taylor Swift, Lenny Henry and Simon Cowell also make Top 20 of this year's power list. Google chief tops Guardian power list Britain's Got Talent gets a global-sized spin-off. Planet's Got Talent show coming to ITV The X Factor judge finally wears something different, and we're left stunned. Simon Cowell as you've never seen him before Fleur, Ben and Andrea are in the running to be crowned the X Factor 2014 winner. X Factor: Who do you want to win? Sunday's semi-final also saw performances from Sam Bailey and Idina Menzel. X Factor: Lauren Platt leaves Andrea, Lauren, Fleur and Ben battled for a place in the final. X Factor semi-final live: As it happened Find out how this week's performances went down with the judges. The X Factor: What did the judges say? The remaining contestants performed two songs each during tonight's semi-final. X Factor: Best reactions to Saturday's show Who deserves a place in next week's X Factor final? The X Factor semi-final: Who sang best? Lauren, Fleur, Andrea and Ben compete for a place in next week's X Factor finals. The X Factor semi-final: Live blog Simon Cowell had suggested there was romantic involvement between the pair. Sarah-Jane 'used to' Stevi romance jibes A special Saturday Night Takeaway, a choir of I'm a Celeb alumni and much more. ITV's Text Santa reveals new shows, line-up Louis Walsh admits that he finds working on The X Factor exhausting. X Factor's Louis: 'Simon bullies me'