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Simon Cowell says son Eric helped save his life

Simon Cowell says becoming a father changed his life and helped him overcome an all-encompassing obsession with work that left him ‘depressed, miserable’ and unable to sleep.  

Cowell’s straight-talking appraisals as head judge on The X Factor helped earn him a reputation as TV’s Mr. Nasty, but behind the scenes he admits to working round the clock in a frantic bid to help the show stay one step ahead of the competition. 

And the music mogul, 63, says becoming a father late in life helped steer him away from his dark, desperate and ultimately doomed attempt to salvage the former ITV flagship from a rapid decline in popularity by toying with its once successful format. 

Thankful: Simon Cowell says becoming a father has changed his life and helped him overcome all-encompassing obsession with work that left him ‘depressed, miserable’ and unable to sleep

He told The Sun: ‘Before Eric, my life was 99 percent work — I was obsessed with it. I got to that point where everything was about, “If you’re not rating against this then you’re a failure” and I stopped enjoying what I was doing and I was miserable the whole time.

‘I was obsessed with beating the competition. I took it to a ridiculous level and I would get really down about that stuff, to the point I was depressed.’ 

Cowell welcomed son Eric – named after his late father – in New York City on Valentine’s Day 2014. To date he remains the mogul’s only child with fiancée Lauren Silverman. 

Old times: Cowell's straight-talking appraisals as head judge on The X Factor helped earn him a reputation as TV's Mr. Nasty, but behind the scenes he admits to working round the clock

Old times: Cowell’s straight-talking appraisals as head judge on The X Factor helped earn him a reputation as TV’s Mr. Nasty, but behind the scenes he admits to working round the clock

Proud dad: Cowell with Eric, his only child, and fiancée Lauren Silverman on holiday in Barbados, December 2015

Proud dad: Cowell with Eric, his only child, and fiancée Lauren Silverman on holiday in Barbados, December 2015 

But while his birth resulted in fans seeing a softer side to Cowell’s character, he admits to ‘tearing his hair out’ while trying to devise new concepts for The X Factor and would often stay up all night while doing so.

He said: I’m not a wall puncher but I’d tear my hair out, then be sitting there at 4am saying, “What am I going to do?” — coming up with ridiculous ideas like the six chair challenge. 

‘I was really unhappy. But now Eric is around, I don’t work through the night anymore. If he hadn’t come along, God knows what would have happened.

My boy: Cowell says becoming a father late in life helped steer him away from his dark, desperate and ultimately doomed attempt to salvage The X Factor

My boy: Cowell says becoming a father late in life helped steer him away from his dark, desperate and ultimately doomed attempt to salvage The X Factor 

Difficulties: While his birth resulted in fans seeing a softer side to Cowell's character, he admits to 'tearing his hair out' while trying to devise new concepts for The X Factor

Difficulties: While his birth resulted in fans seeing a softer side to Cowell’s character, he admits to ‘tearing his hair out’ while trying to devise new concepts for The X Factor 

‘It’s sad now to think of me at my age, still working till 4am, obsessed with the TV ratings. The thought of it — I can’t deal with that.’ 

The X Factor was an instant hit following its launch in 2004 and would run for fourteen consecutive years before finally going off air amid faltering ratings in 2018, and Cowell claims he is a now ‘a different man’ to the one he was a decade ago.

He is now focused on social media platform TikTok trend and is taking his search for talent to the popular app with a new feature called StemDrop, which he’s launching with producer and songwriter Max Martin. 

Partners in business: Cowell has hopped on the TikTok trend and is taking his search for talent to the app with a new feature called StemDrop, which he's launching with producer Max Martin

Partners in business: Cowell has hopped on the TikTok trend and is taking his search for talent to the app with a new feature called StemDrop, which he’s launching with producer Max Martin

All change: 'It’s sad now to think of me at my age, still working till 4am, obsessed with the TV ratings. The thought of it — I can’t deal with that,' he said

All change: ‘It’s sad now to think of me at my age, still working till 4am, obsessed with the TV ratings. The thought of it — I can’t deal with that,’ he said 

Max, who is the mind behind huge hits such as Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, will write new songs for the singers to perform. 

Recalling his past attempt to obtain pop track Baby One More Time for British boyband 5ive before it was famously recorded by a then unknown Britney Spears, he said: ‘I think that song would have been a hit for anyone. 

‘I knew it would have been a hit for 5ive, it would have been a hit for TLC, it was a hit for Britney Spears.

‘There have been country versions, alternative versions. It was just a hit song, no question about it, and having that first hit song is the most important part of an artist’s career, and also the most difficult part of breaking anyone’s career.

 ‘So this really is at the heart of the idea of StemDrop — just imagine somebody who is on TikTok, trying to get some traction, who now has the ability to make their own version of a song written by the most successful songwriter of our time. It’s very compelling.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk