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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).

The 55-year-old takes to Twitter to say that the singer remains a "great friend". Simon Cowell denies falling out with Cheryl The American girl group unveil the dramatic visual for their European debut. Watch Fifth Harmony's new music video Sarah-Jane Crawford coyly complains about Stevi Ritchie rumours. Xtra Factor's Sarah-Jane rebukes Cowell The X Factor star was sent home after a sing-off with Andrea Faustini. Stevi praises "amazing" X Factor experience Stevi Ritchie describes his X Factor experience as "an absolute dream". X Factor: Stevi Ritchie exits competition We've already lost Only The Young - find out who went on Sunday in our live blog. X Factor results show: As it happened Find out how this week's performances went down with the judges. The X Factor: What did the judges say? We want to know who you think performed best this week. The X Factor poll: Who sang best? Our live blog covering the action for Elton vs Whitney Week on The X Factor. X Factor Elton vs Whitney: As it happened Two acts will be facing the music - and the chop - this weekend. X Factor promises another double elimination Everyone loves Big Band Week, right? Right? X Factor brings back Big Band Week: Review The X Factor judge said that James was philosophical about his exit. Simon Cowell on 'gentleman' Jay James The night also saw performances from Olly Murs and Nicole Scherzinger. X Factor: Jay James leaves competition The X Factor tackles the golden age of swing – and we gather reactions! X Factor Week 6: Best Twitter reactions Find out how this week's performances went down with the judges. The X Factor: What did the judges say? From traditional big band songs to current hits, who sang best? X Factor: Big Band Week: Who sang best? Eric Cowell smiles and drums along to One Direction's 'Story of My Life'. Watch Eric Cowell drum to One Direction Paul Akister admits he was crying too much to speak to Mel B after his exit. X Factor Paul: 'Louis did the wrong thing' Simon Cowell points out that The X Factor is about more than just a good voice. X Factor Simon: Stevi is a guilty pleasure Mel B suggests the public are voting for the wrong acts after Paul Akister's exit. X Factor Mel accuses Louis of "wimping out" One act had to go home after performances from Sam Smith and One Direction. X Factor: Paul Akister leaves the show Our live blog as we found out which of the acts was next to head home. X Factor: Week 5 results show as it happened The singer says that the X Factor judge is "amazing and supportive". Ella Henderson: 'Simon Cowell like an uncle' Find out how this week's performances went down with the judges. The X Factor: What did the judges say? The contestants took on two of music's most iconic acts. Who did them proud? X Factor MJ vs Queen poll: Who sang best? Band deal with comic Lee Nelson running on stage during their performance. X Factor: Stereo Kicks get stage invader Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from The X Factor. X Factor: MJ vs Queen - as it happened Paul Akister explains that he is determined to have a "good time" tonight. X Factor Paul: 'I know I look miserable' The X Factor acts tell us what it's like getting ready for the big night. X Factor: What goes on behind the scenes See Louis Walsh's wild boyband party with Paul Akister and girls in London. Stereo Kicks Tom Mann parties with fans "It's not his fault he's dressed like Dick Turpin and getting eaten by a vampire." X Factor Fright Night review Cowell hails success of Overs: "Great artists, great songs." Simon discusses X Factor Overs' success Find out how this week's Fright Night performances went down with the judges. X Factor: What the judges said Simon Cowell dismisses suggestions that he's the most competitive judge. X Factor: Why is Simon mean to Cheryl? Which act sang the best on Fright Night? X Factor Fright Night: Who sang best? Let us know if you agree with Fright Night's shock elimination. The X Factor: Did the right act leave? A shock elimination ends The X Factor's Halloween episode. The X Factor: Jack Walton sent home Join us as we get scared by the acts - and they get scared by an elimination. X Factor: It's Fright Night! - live blog Whatever they are, they've got to be better than Big Band. 17 X Factor theme weeks that need to happen Lauren Platt reveals that she would one day like to lead the cast of the musical. X Factor girls enjoy Wicked night out