Simon Cowell Credits Fatherhood for Turning His Life Around


Fathers. Who  needs them?

So say many feminists and other enemies of the traditional family.

After all, Dad is portrayed in media as a buffoon who is ignorant compared to his longsuffering wife and is continually shown up by his kids.

Even his humor gets put down as a collection of “dad jokes,” a description of their corniness.

I’ll admit to that last failing, but contrary to popular culture, there are many people who need their fathers.

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Ask the children of divorce limited by courts in their times with their dads. Ask people who don’t know who their fathers are. Ask those who lost their fathers to death.

Simon Cowell is deeply affected by the 1999 death of his father, and he became emotional when speaking on “The Diary of a CEO,” Steven Bartlett’s podcast aimed at exploring the vulnerabilities of business people.

Despite celebrity as a judge on “X Factor,” “Britain’s Got Talent,” “Pop Idol,” “American Idol,” and other TV shows, plus being a big player in the music industry as a producer and talent scout, Cowell said his father’s death was devastating.

But he said his life changed when he became a father.

Is there a more significant honor in this world than being a father?

“Bittersweet,” is how Cowell described the time when the band he promoted, Westlife, had a top hit. He called home to tell about it and learned his father had died.

“I genuinely believed at that point in my life — I just believed, my parents were going to live forever,” Cowell said. “…’Cause the hardest thing when you lose your parents is — you can’t even think of them afterwards because it’s too difficult.

“But then after awhile, when I have a question in my mind, I do talk to them in my mind — ‘What would you do?’ And I know what they would say. So I really do still believe they’re with me.

“But that was a very bittersweet moment. And, you know, I would have swapped everything I had succeeded to have kept him around,” Cowell said of his father. “And all the things that he taught me over the years.”

“The longest trip home” is how Cowell described his return from a music event in Germany where he learned of his father’s death.

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He said losing his parents was the hardest thing that ever happened to him: “They were my best friends.”

Then came the birth of his own son, Eric.

Love for and from his parents and for and from Eric, Cowell described as “pure love,” adding in that kind of loving family “everything comes full circle, thank God.”

After the 2015 loss of his mother, Cowell said he was on a “downward spiral,” was “desperately unhappy” and was unfulfilled in his career. He would lose himself in his work, laboring until 7 or 8 in the morning and becoming “a ridiculous workaholic,” essentially addicted to his lifestyle.

But then, Cowell learned he was going to be a father, and that was something that would “change everything,” he said.

“It made me happy again. To me, it was perfect,” he said, and he told of watching a movie with his son and seeing the same joy Cowell had experienced when he was a boy.

Queried Bartlett: “He saved you, in many respects, didn’t he?”

“Without question,” Cowell replied. “I really, really had reached the point where nothing mattered.

“Even to the point that I almost can’t remember anything from that period. It hit me so hard,” he continued, noting how difficult it was to be on television in his emotional state.

“The whole time was dark.”

Insightful people note that men need a purpose bigger than themselves — worlds to conquer; businesses to build; accolades to receive in awards, commissions, and bonuses; and accomplishments to be made through insights of science, theology, wisdom, and more.

Simon Cowell did a lot of it, although best would be the mission of discipleship in Jesus Christ.

But there are profound changes that come upon a man when he becomes a father.

The worlds, businesses, commissions and such are still there. But suddenly, that tiny, previously unknown baby becomes prominent in the constellation of a man’s concerns.

I’ve long described the arrival of little boy or girl as opening a new chamber in a man’s heart; it becomes a Daddy Heart. And it grows into other dimensions like protector, teacher, and guide.

It changes a man. Profoundly, as Cowell and many of us will attest.


Oh, and there’s a Grandpa Heart, too, and it also is profound, but that’s for another day.

In the meantime, the family, the nation, and the world need men engaged in the mission of being fathers.

It’s important, Dad.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.