The 59-year-old music mogul, known for his unashamedly middle-aged physique and commitment to high-waisted jeans, cut a different figure when he appeared at the first day of auditions for Britain’s Got Talent last week
As the brains behind hit shows The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell has long since conquered the small screen.
And now, as he approaches his 60th birthday, he is determined to shake up his career – and improve the longevity of his ‘brand’ – by aiming for success in Hollywood.
Sources say he is ‘focusing on films’ following the recent successes of music-based biopics such as Rocketman, and hopes to bag himself an Academy Award.
‘Simon has talked openly about wanting to win an Oscar,’ a source said.
‘He’s looking at music-related film projects because they are all the rage now after the success of Bohemian Rhapsody and the Elton John biopic.’
And the man who knows a thing or two about the powers of transformation – having turned dowdy Scottish singer Susan Boyle into a global sensation and masterminded the creation of boyband One Direction from five gangly teenagers – is working his magic a bit closer to home these days.
The 59-year-old music mogul, known for his unashamedly middle-aged physique and commitment to high-waisted jeans, cut a different figure when he appeared at the first day of auditions for Britain’s Got Talent last week.
Simon Cowell and Lauren Silverman are pictured at the beach in December 2018. He told ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour – who works for US TV show Extra – that he went to see a ‘very well-known’ specialist doctor who radically altered his diet after a series of blood tests
The astonishing 20lb weight loss is the result of a new commitment to healthy living and a practically vegan diet which involves cutting out meat, dairy, sugar and gluten.
Even the beer in his hand was low-alcohol and low-carb, and just 89 calories a bottle.
‘Simon is a new man,’ said a friend who saw him recently in Los Angeles. ‘The weight loss is staggering, his teeth look whiter than ever and he’s bouncing around with more energy than normal.
‘It’s remarkable how much he’s changed in such a relatively short time. His 60th birthday is coming up in October and he’s determined to be in the best shape of his life.
‘Having Eric has changed his outlook. He wants to be around to see his son grow up.’
Cowell has said he feels ‘re-energised’ by his dramatic weight loss.
He told ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour – who works for US TV show Extra – that he went to see a ‘very well-known’ specialist doctor who radically altered his diet after a series of blood tests.
‘And I did it and I stuck to it and it’s easy,’ Cowell said.
The star was inspired to change his lifestyle after he was taken to hospital in October 2017 following a fall down the stairs at his London home. He said he fainted because of low blood pressure, and it had been a ‘wake-up call’ for his health.
But it was only last year that he began to think seriously about his diet. Pop singer Sinitta, who dated Cowell in the 1980s and is still a close friend, said she had ‘gently and lovingly’ told him he needed to lose some weight.
She recalled: ‘He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘I get it.’
‘Now look at him. He looks fantastic. And the great thing is that he’s addicted to feeling great, so he’s being very disciplined.
‘If you offer him something sweet then he says he doesn’t want to ruin all his hard work. I recommended two nutritionists and one of them did a plan that he has followed religiously.’
Another friend told The Mail on Sunday that it was ‘no secret’ that Cowell enjoyed a drink and he would go out ‘all the time’.
But they said he now entertains at home so his private chef can make sure he sticks to his diet.
Simon Cowell is pictured in June 2018 on Britain’s Got Talent, left, and at a party in London earlier this month, right. Cowell has said he feels ‘re-energised’ by his dramatic weight loss
‘When you look in Simon’s fridge there is no dairy,’ the friend added.
‘It’s all soy and almond milk and lots of veggies.
‘He’s loving all the compliments. Now he’s determined to bring the same discipline to finding new work projects as he has to his own physical makeover.’
The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent have helped net Cowell an estimated fortune of £460 million after being turned into global franchises. There are plans for a spin-off Celebrity X Factor special, and an X Factor ‘All Stars’ show which will see former winners compete for the title of all-time champion.
Cowell is also currently filming Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions with previous winners and favourites. But criticism over the shows’ ‘tired’ formats means Cowell is anxious to find ‘the next big thing’ to keep his SyCo Entertainment empire dominant.
His latest offering, BBC’s The Greatest Dancer, failed to capture the imagination of fans or critics.
‘Shows like Love Island have come along and are generating far more buzz than some of Simon’s newer shows,’ a source said.
‘It’s not about money for Simon now. It’s about staying ahead of the game and staying relevant.’
Cowell helped to produce the critically acclaimed 2013 One Direction film This Is Us and another about opera-singing Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts.
But the source added: ‘There has been a project about the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein which has been in the planning stages for years and now Simon is talking about trying to revive that film.
‘He sent team members to China recently because that’s where the investment money is and Simon feels it’s a massive market waiting to be tapped.’