Simon Cowell is having a baby with the wife of a close friend - but he remains as inscrutable as ever

His achievements are huge, but defy logic. He is a considerable power in the global music industry without, it seems, having much interest in actual music

Share
Related Topics

It is hard for ordinary mortals to fathom what goes on behind the cold eyes and razor-thin smile of Simon Philip Cowell. His achievements are huge, but defy logic. He has contrived to build a transatlantic reputation (and a £225m fortune) on television programmes which, reduced to their basic essence, encourage multitudes of fame-hungry dreamers to stand before him and be judged. He is a considerable power in the global music industry without, it seems, having much interest in actual music. He has a reputation for devastating wisecracks and coruscating wit for which there is, sadly, no available evidence.

His emotional life seems equally inscrutable. Mr Cowell has a reputation for dating glamorous women, breaking up with them because of his chronic aversion to marriage (“It’s a boring routine”) but remaining friends, buying them property and inviting them en masse on yacht or cruise holidays. His biographer Tom Bower described how a “harem” of girlfriends and ex-lovers travels with him, and how Cowell’s “greatest comfort was lying on a couch between [two of them], watching a film and grazing on simple food suitable for kids in a nursery.”

The equilibrium of Cowell’s micro-managed life has now, however, been upset by media reports alleging that his friend Lauren Silverman, estranged wife of a close friend Andrew Silverman, is expecting his child. Reports from the harem suggest a general astonishment that a man who exerts such iron control over his life could “make this kind of mistake”. So – would he be happy to be a father? Has the iron self-discipline mellowed? Or is this alleged major development in his life a grotesque blunder?

A look at Cowell’s family background helps to make sense of it. The family name Cowell is an English version of the Irish patronymic “MacCathmhaoil” meaning “son of the Battle Chief.” Simon Cowell is the chieftain’s son who eclipsed his father (Eric, a music company executive) to become Chief. His life has for years been that of a Roman emperor, whose reign is all-powerful and whose judgemental thumb can mean life or death to ordinary mortals. Did you notice how, lately, in talent shows, he never says “I think you’re a talented singer”, he merely says “Y’know - I like you”? That’s the imperial note, right there - capricious, solipsistic, pitiless. To me the harem strikes a similar note, along with arpeggios of Sultanic self-indulgence

And now, if there’s another Cowell, and (if it’s a boy) another “son of the Battle Chief” on the way, to eclipse the chief in his turn, steal his thunder and acquire his riches, it’s no wonder – with all this fuss – that the potentate of pop must, temporarily, be getting the blues.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: (Senior) IT Business Analyst - London - European projects

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Project Manager

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer - Java

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital publishing solution...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: NON-CONTENTIOUS (0-2 PQE) - A rare opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Greece's new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Rena Dourou, the prefect of Athens, are both Essex Alumni  

The success of Syriza in Greece has been driven by Marxism, populism and yes — Essex University

David Howarth
 

Dippy the Diplodocus's very existence is a malicious lie: the fossil is a cast

Tom Mendelsohn
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness