Simon Cowell turns 50 next week, and in honor of his half-century on Earth, the “American Idol” judge addressed his “cocky” younger self in an introspective letter published by a British newspaper on Sunday.
In the more than 3,500-word letter published in the Daily Mail, Cowell described his career highs and lows — from helming one of the best-selling singles in U.K. history to spending beyond his means and racking up massive amounts of debt — in flowery detail.
When discussing the moment his first record label went belly-up, Cowell wrote, “So the sun went down on your shiny empire and you had to go back to living with Mum and Dad. That was, as I am sure you and I agree, humbling to say the least. Yet what is harder — much harder — is trying to claw your way back up the ladder.”
At times the letter is both self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing. While patting himself on the back for correctly predicting the sales potential in marketing music on television for BMG, he also explained that his record-label cohorts thought of him as “a freak. Or worse.”
Cowell recounted one particularly low moment when he heard his boss trash his career to a low-level employee: “As you turn the corner towards his office, you hear his temporary PA ask him: ‘What does Simon Cowell do in this company?’ The boss answers: ‘Whatever is sh– in this company, that is what Simon Cowell does.'”
According to his letter, Cowell’s tales of woe hearken all the way back to the ’80s when he ran Fanfare Records. After a few hit records with then-girlfriend Sinitta, Cowell lived a lavish lifestyle he could not maintain. “You are about as bad an example of ’80s excess as you could possibly be,” Cowell wrote. “You are overconfident, far too cocky and dressed from head to toe in expensive designer gear. Armani and Versace. Oh, nothing but the best for you, Simon! It hasn’t dawned on you yet, you idiot, that you can’t afford any of this stuff.”
The letter also served as a thank-you to Cowell’s mentors, one of whom is BMG chairman Richard Griffiths, who apparently told Simon, “Don’t ever blame anyone else if things go wrong. You’re in charge, so it’s your fault.” Cowell cited that piece of advice as a big turning point in his career: “Never again will you let yourself feel intimidated by others; indulging yourself by thinking that it’s poor little you against the world.”
The “Idol” judge even discussed his personal life. “You have had lots of relationships with women and have remained close to all of your exes. Their friendship is important to you, it sustains you through your tremendous workload and commitments.” He also feels no regret for remaining a bachelor. According to Cowell, that’s just the way he’s wired. “Sometimes, when friends are over, you want to ask them to leave,” he wrote. “You get hit by black moods and you want to be alone. Stuff like that is difficult when you have a wife and kids.”
Cowell closed the letter by hinting that his TV career might be winding down. “You need to feel you are welcome into people’s homes, not somehow forcing your way in. If you feel that is happening, you will be off, gone.”
Despite Simon’s cryptic conclusion, “Idol” fans can rest easy. Earlier this year, Cowell re-upped his contract through 2011 .
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