After a rather dismal audition on American Idol, the rejected singer told the judges that she had quit her job to pursue her dream as a singer. When she realized the rashness of her decision, Simon called her former boss and asked him to rehire her. He agreed.
His first encounter with the entertainment business was in 1976 when he had gotten a job as a runner on the set of "Return of the Saint" when he was 17 years old.
Simon's father, Eric Cowell, was a quality surveyor who had always told his son to earn his own way.
Simon had his first kiss when he was nine.
In 2007, Simon was offered £1 million to become the face of Viagra. Feeling insulted by the offer, he turned it down.
Simon had to transfer schools several times as a result of misbehaviour and bad conduct. Simon had been to a total of 16 schools before leaving at the age of sixteen to find work.
Says that the first time he gave a criticism was at age four when he looked at his mother's white fuzzy pillbox hat and remarked, "Mum, you look like a poodle."
During auditions for The X Factor, he made a bet with auditionee Paul Holt that he would pay him £50,000 if he got a #1 single. Holt was quickly signed by a record label - and backed by X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne - to release '50 Grand for Christmas' in December 2004, which only charted at #35 in the UK.
Simon is a vegetarian.
Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest all have their own stars on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame". Simon and Kara DioGuardi are the only American Idol regulars to not have a star.
His western astrological sign is Libra and he was born in the Chinese Year of the Pig.
Simon is 25 percent Scottish on his mother's side. He first said this on The X Factor, and the following week claimed he was 50 percent. His mother then confirmed in the Sunday newspapers that he was only 25 percent Scottish.
Simon was once the fastest Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, on BBC's motoring show Top Gear, driving a Suzuki Liana around the show's test track in a time of 1:47.1. When Top Gear retired the Liana along with the Liana's driver rankings after the eighth series, Simon was the eighth fastest overall and the third fastest non-professional driver.
Simon worked his way up to record producer at EMI Music Publishing, but left during the early 1980s to form E&S Music, an independent music company.
Simon was raised by nannies throughout his early childhood before he was sent to boarding school.
Simon's parents are Eric (real estate agent and music industry executive) and Julie Cowell (socialite). Simon has three half-brothers (John, Michael and Tony) and a half-sister (June), as well as sister Lindsay Elizabeth and younger brother Nicholas who is now a millionaire property magnate.
Simon was brought up in Elstree, Hertfordshire.
Simon is an artist and repertoire ("A&R") executive for BMG in the UK.
In the DVD release of Shrek 2, Simon was featured as an animated character judging the movie characters in a show similar to American Idol.
Simon pays more than £21.7m per year in income tax, suggesting that his taxable income is over £54.25m per year with income tax at the time approx 40%.
In 2006, Simon and his show, American Idol, were satirized in the film American Dreamz in which Hugh Grant played an essentially useless host and obnoxious judge of an American Idol-type show. In the same year, they were parodied in the Nickelodeon television episode 'Fairy Idol' from The Fairly Odd Parents produced by Butch Hartman.
Simon maintains a lavish lifestyle with several houses in San Francisco, California and one in London, England, a Ferrari and a Rolls Royce Phantom.
Simon occasionally comments on already-established pop icons, for example, saying in Esquire magazine that Beyoncé Knowles was overrated, or on the more positive side, saying that Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful' was one of the best pop records ever made.
He is 5'9" (1.75 m).
In 2006, Simon was ranked #29 on Forbes "Top 100 Celebrities." He was ranked #21 in 2007.
He is well known for his high waisted trousers and his white, grey or black t-shirts.
Alicia Douvall, a notorious kiss and tell "glamour" model, has stated that Simon was the best of her many lovers.
Has 2 nieces and a nephew: Tanyette Chantel (b. October 18, 1981) Melissa Lee (b. July 10, 1984) and Joshua Aaron (b. April 15, 1986) from his sister.
His sister's husband is a cousin of singer Robbie Williams.
His salary for American Idol in 2002-2003 season: $2,000,000.
Simon: To me, Botox is no more unusual than toothpaste. It works, you do it once a year - who cares?
Simon: If I were gay, why wouldn't I admit it? Plenty of people in the record industry are gay, and my mother wouldn't freak out.
Simon: Last year, my agent rang me and said, 'You've been offered an incredibly big deal. It's to be the face of Viagra.' And I just said, 'Sorry, but that has to be a fucking insult.'
Simon: (on Britney Spears' apparent break-down) From where I sit, you could see it coming a long time ago. I said six months ago that she should go home. I'd have said, 'Stay with your mother, don't go out with your stupid friends, just live normally.' You'd be amazed - you live normally and suddenly everything becomes normal.
Simon: For me, Il Divo was the best thing I had ever heard.
Simon: (claiming he deserves to be paid more than Bruce Springsteen) I sell more records than Bruce Springsteen... If he got 100, I should have got 500. In the last five years, I've probably sold over 100 million records.By doing Idol I signed the biggest artist on the planet and it's called Idol because every single Idol winner is now signed through Sony BMG.
Simon: If I tape an 11 hour day, guess which parts end up on air. Not the bits when I'm pleasant but the parts when I'm obnoxious.
Simon: Normally, they want me to be rude to them. People come up to me and sing, and I say 'That was great. Thank you.' And they're like 'Well, aren't you going to be rude to me?' No! When I miss auditions, contestants get upset that I'm not there, because they expect me to be cruel to them--it's some sort of badge of honor. That's how crazy everything is.
Simon: (on Michael Jackson) The guy is off his rocker.
Simon: If you would have asked me what I thought of America before I came over here I would have used the word 'corny'. And then you come over here and you find that it's not corny at all. British people are very cynical, they cannot bear someone else's success. Americans embrace other people's success. Everything in America is larger than life.
Simon: I don't want babies the same way I wouldn't want a puppy. It's too much responsibility.
Simon: I don't take myself seriously and I don't consider myself a star.
Simon: (when asked if he felt guilty about what he says to the American Idol contestants) No, what I am doing is kind by telling people who are useless 'Do something that you're good at'. So I would only feel guilt if I misled somebody who was terrible.
Simon: (on being knighted) I'd accept an honour but I don't think I'm likely to get one. The Queen once described me as a dreadful man.
Simon: We've done three seasons of American Idol and by now it is safe to assume that most people know that you have to be able to sing. But people turn up who can't sing a note and yet they believe they are the 'Second Coming'.
Simon: Being romantic is being insincere, or you're guilty.
Simon: (about N'Sync) It would be true to say that two of them are really ugly.
Simon: They all hate each other deep down, but they're not gonna say it on camera. Ask Kelly (Clarkson) how many congratulation e-mails she got from the other contestants. Probably zero. But that's the music business. In a positive way, I like that. I like the fact that people enter the show because they might win.
Simon: That process works very well, in that you've got a very clear A to Z path. But you've also got a sense of responsibility from the judges, who actually try to help the contestants.
Simon: Not everybody is perfect, and I don't think we should be looking for perfect people.
Simon: It is a personal thrill for me to play a role in giving the best young singers in America a shot at realizing their dreams. I'm also happy to be working with my good friend Simon Fuller for the foreseeable future and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Fox network and the phenomenal success that is American Idol.
Simon: I think you have to judge everything based on your personal taste. And if that means being critical, so be it. I hate political correctness. I absolutely loathe it.
Simon: I think we've got better talent than last year. There are two or three contestants, even without the competition, we would take seriously as a record label. If I don't find an international artist this year, then I will have failed. That is the one thing that interests me.
Simon: I like the fact that they're cocky now from the age of four.
Simon: I haven't done anything particularly harsh. Harshness to me is giving somebody false hopes and not following through. That's harsh. Telling some guy or some girl who've got zero talent that they have zero talent actually is a kindness.
Simon: Big Brother is not reality anymore. You don't get 10 normal people to do it. You get 10 crap actors in the house.
Simon: If you've got a big mouth and you're controversial, you're going to get attention.
Simon: I can't bear political correctness. I don't like a rule driven life and I hate the fact that you can't criticise a fat person.
Simon: The end of the animal trade would leave more time to trap or beat to death pop star wannabes.
Simon: We [the English] have hated the French for years. Now you have just joined the club. It makes you much more likable.
Simon: We told the judges that we would rather you were human about the approach rather than completely scientific, otherwise it turns into a gadget show. The show has a lot of similarities to Idol in that you can relate to the person coming into the room and form an opinion early on.
Simon: Women say hello and then put their hands down my trousers. I thought it was my hand they were supposed to shake.
Simon: (on American Idol) Sit in these auditions for three weeks and hear 'I Believe I Can Fly' out of tune for the millionth time, you try and be nice.
Simon: I met someone the other night who's 28 years old, and he hasn't worked a day since he left college because he's pursuing a dream he'll never, ever realize: He thinks he's a great singer. Actually, he's crap. But nobody has said to him, 'Why have you been wasting your time for eight years?'
Simon: The object of this competition is not to be mean to the losers but to find a winner. The process makes you mean because you get frustrated. Kids turn up unrehearsed, wearing the wrong clothes, singing out of tune and you can either say, 'Good job,' and patronize them or tell them the truth, and sometimes the truth is perceived as mean.
Simon: If I said to most of the people who auditioned, 'Good job, awesome, well done,' it would have made me actually look and feel ridiculous. It's quite obvious most of the people who turned up for this audition were hopeless.