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Simon Cowell

Occupation: Producer, music executive

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 comedian says he hopes to do an X Factor special of the ITV show. Lemon wants Cowell on Through the Keyhole See Blonde Electric, Chloe Jasmine and Reece Bibby attempt to impress the judges. Watch a sneak preview of tonight's X Factor Get some hints about what's coming up on The X Factor's launch episodes. X Factor: 10 teasers about this weekend Steve Halliwell's memoir will be released next month. Emmerdale star to release autobiography Give it 110% with our quiz - featuring the judges' outlandish, bizarre and baffling thoughts... Guess the X Factor judge from the quote Simon Cowell promises that we will see some "wacky people" on the show this year. Louis Walsh on 'stupid' Lenny Henry remark Sarah-Jane Crawford reveals that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is a great rapper. X Factor Sarah-Jane praises Caroline Flack The judges talk about joke acts, panel friendships and getting competitive. The X Factor: 9 things to know Simon Cowell claims that the only people "pissed off" by the clash are viewers. Cowell blasts Strictly over X Factor clash Simon Cowell says he wasn't talking about Cheryl when he criticised popstar judges. Simon Cowell clarifies singer judge comments What X Factor moment did Cheryl find barbaric? Would Simon let Louis babysit? The X Factor judges talk beating Strictly The upcoming schedule clash is described as "unfortunate" by the BBC. BBC defends X Factor, Strictly clash The Syco boss describes the boyband's new album as "fantastic". Simon Cowell: '1D could last 20 years' Cheryl Fernandez-Versini pulls off a monochrome look at ITV show's press launch. See Cowell and Cheryl at X Factor launch Cheryl admits that Simon "just can't be bothered" to learn her new surname. X Factor: Simon doesn't know Cheryl's name Cheryl Fernandez-Versini says in hindsight Simon Cowell was "right" to fire her. The X Factor: Simon on firing Cheryl The presenter says Mel B could clash with all of her fellow judges during series. Dermot: 'Mel B is a mini Sharon Osbourne' The X Factor judge feels like he's "back in control" of the show. Simon Cowell 'not interested in sob stories' The popstar thanks his "gorgeous wife" for dousing him with water in clip. See Robbie Williams's Ice Bucket video Watch new promo showing Sarah-Jane Crawford taking over the ITV2 sister show. See new Xtra Factor host in new promo The Syco boss takes to Twitter to address rumours of the group's future. Cowell clears up One Direction comments The show's boss wanted Tamera Foster to make it to the final. Cowell: 'Previous X Factor was predictable' Peter Fincham says that the channel's risk-taking is different to others. ITV: 'Downton Abbey was a bloody great risk' Singer is spotted filming in Bermuda, where Louis Walsh is thought to be. X Factor: Tulisa filming Judges' Houses? The Britain's Got Talent star will be the first guest of the new series. Alesha Dixon for Piers Morgan Life Stories The new series of The X Factor will kick off on Saturday, August 30 on ITV. The X Factor: When is it back? The singer was nominated by fellow X Factor judge Simon Cowell. Watch Cheryl's Ice Bucket Challenge X Factor judge is the latest star to be covered in freezing water. Watch Simon Cowell's Ice Bucket Challenge The music mogul says it's inevitable they will split at some point. Cowell: '1D will make two more albums' Sarah-Jane Crawford says Cheryl and Jean-Bernard look "really happy". Xtra Factor host: 'Cheryl is lovely' The Boss Is Back and Louis Looks Back are among special shows. ITV announces week of X Factor specials Simon Cowell describes Betty Boop as the 'biggest diva of them all'. Simon Cowell's Syco making Betty Boop movie Move over Rylan, Wagner and Kitty. Here comes Chloe-Jasmine Whichello. X Factor has found this year's Katie Waissel Former X Factor stars also share their enthusiasm for this year's panel. Union J: 'Tulisa is a lovely lady' Simon Cowell adorns his baby son Eric with his trademark dark sunglasses. See Simon Cowell's 'Mini-Me' Eric photo When will it air? Which acts are returning? What twists is Cowell planning? All we know about X Factor 2014 so far The audience reacted badly to some of the singer's decisions at the boot camp stage. Cheryl booed at X Factor boot camp Xtra Factor host says she "cried with happiness" when she landed role. Crawford: 'Cowell likes people with balls' The Saturday Night Takeaway hosts play the classic party game. Watch Ant & Dec crack up playing charades Bollywood star will host live spinoff of Simon Cowell's Got Talent franchise. SRK proud to host Cowell's live Got Talent show