Simon Cowell Shows Rare Emotion While Talking About The Loss Of His Parents

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Simon Cowell became famous for his brutal honesty and tough exterior, but the former American Idol judge isn’t afraid to show his soft side when talking about his family.

In a new interview on “The Diary Of A CEO” podcast, Simon Cowell fought back tears as he discussed his late parents and how his son, 10-year-old Eric, “without question” saved him during a dark time in his life.

In 1999, Cowell’s career as a producer and talent agent was taking off. The UK-born professional had made a name for himself in the industry thanks to the success of duo Robson & Jerome, an act he credits for making him his first million dollars.


But the unexpected death of Simon’s father, Eric, at the age of 81 started a downward spiral for Simon. He poured his life into his work, admittedly becoming a workaholic to help deal with the grief. Two years after his dad’s death, Cowell became a judge on a new television singing competition in Britain called Pop Idol. A year later he brought a version of the show to the United States. That show, American Idol, made Simon Cowell a household name and launched him to superstardom.

The X-Factor and Got Talent franchises launched a few years later, further giving Cowell a reason to bury himself in work.

“It was almost like because of the loss I’d had, I’ve got to find something else to fill it. And it was ‘I’m just going to be a ridiculous workaholic,’ and I was very successful but I wasn’t happy, I really, really wasn’t happy,” Simon told the podcast host.

When his mom died in 2015, Cowell hit a low point, saying that every success he had worked for suddenly seemed meaningless.

“I think particularly when I lost my mum, I was on a downward spiral at that point,” he said. “I lost everyone, you know, I’ve lost my parents. It’s finality now. What I said about the material things I’ve got, everything just meant nothing at that point.”

He fought back tears as he shared how the birth of his son pulled him out of his downward spiral and gave his life new meaning. Simon recalled how learning that he was going to be a father changed everything for him, saying, “It absolutely changed everything in my life. It made me happy again.”


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“I really, really had reached the point where nothing mattered. Even to the point where I almost can’t even remember everything from that period,” Simon said. “The whole time was dark. I could absolutely relate to when people reach the lowest levels you possibly can, where essentially being alive doesn’t matter anymore.”

After the birth of his son Eric, named after his father, Simon’s priorities shifted and he basked in his new role as a dad. He shared that he found joy while watching his son find joy in things as simple as watching “The Jungle Book.”

“I’m looking over and seeing the joy he had watching that movie. It was like … I remember how I felt when I saw ‘Jungle Book,'” Simon recalled, adding that Eric “without question” saved him.

Simon Cowell/Facebook

Watch Simon Cowell’s emotional discussion about his parents in the clip below.