London – He gets colonic irrigations, Botox injections and vitamin drips, and insists on black toilet paper in his home. A revealing new biography offers intimate – some might say too intimate – details about Simon Cowell, along with a portrait of the entertainment mogul’s savvy business side.
Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life of Simon Cowell is written by British journalist and biographer Tom Bower, whose previous subjects include former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, jailed media mogul Conrad Black and ex-Harrods owner Mohammad al-Fayed.
His latest portrait of power centers on the tanned and brush-cut Cowell, 52, who has gained fame in both Britain and North America as producer and an acerbic judge on TV talent shows including The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. Bower says he became fascinated by the story of a middle-aged music producer who struck gold by turning the old-fashioned talent contest into a slick 21st-century phenomenon – and in the process earned a fortune estimated at $320m by the Sunday Times Rich List.
The book paints a picture of a man who struggled for years in the music business, spurred on to success out of a desire to prove his detractors wrong.
“He had 20 years – more than 20 years – of humiliation,” Bower said. “At school he was a total failure and as a music producer he was a total failure. But what he did have was charm and an ability to understand the music business because of all this failure.”
Sweet Revenge, published in the US by Ballantine Books on Tuesday, is billed as the first book about Cowell written with the mogul’s participation — though not his authorization. Bower spent many hours with Cowell aboard his private jet, at his Los Angeles home and on his yacht in the south of France and the Caribbean.