Simon Cowell

Birth name Simon Phillip Cowell

Birthday 7 October 1959

Star sign Libra

Birthplace Lambeth, London

Simon Cowell was born in London to mum Julie Brett and dad Eric Cowell in 1959. He has a younger brother, Nicholas, as well as half-brothers Michael, John and Tony and a half-sister called June.

After leaving school at 16, Simon worked in various jobs before his dad found employment for him in the EMI Music Publishing mailroom. Eric worked at the company as an executive.

Simon worked his way up and eventually became an A&R representative and then a record producer.

He went on to set up his own record labels and music companies and signed successful acts like 5ive and Westlife.

In 2001 Simon Cowell became a household name when he appeared as a judge on talent show Pop Idol. His blunt approach and harsh put-downs earned him the nickname Mr Nasty.

After two series of Pop Idol, Simon co-produced and starred in more talent shows. American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent and, perhaps most notably, The X Factor all followed.

Several acts from the shows have signed to Simon’s record label and had great success. One Direction were mentored by the music mogul on the 2010 X Factor and have since become a global sensation.

Not all of Simon’s projects with his production company Syco have been successful though. 2007 series Grease Is The Word wasn’t as popular as its rivals and 2011 game show Red Or Black? struggled in the ratings.

Simon Cowell has amassed a huge fortune thanks to his many ventures.

The businessman’s personal life regularly hits the headlines. He has dated numerous women over the years, including TV presenter Terri Seymour, singer Sinitta and make-up artist Mezhgan Hussainy.

In August 2013, after speculation on social media, Simon confirmed that he was expecting a baby with American socialite Lauren Silverman.

Their son Eric – named after Simon’s dad, who died following a heart attack in 1999 – was born on Valentine’s day in 2014.