Simon Cowell is worth an estimated $570 million, a fortune he built working his way up from a record company intern to becoming a famous talent judge on Pop Idol, American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, The X-Factor, and now America’s Got Talent.
Simon started out at EMI in the mailroom but left because he wasn’t rising fast enough. He went on to start his own record company, Fanfare Records, where he got his first hit with Sinitta’s “So Macho”.
Despite the popular song, Fanfare Records folded in 1989 which left Cowell nearly bankrupt. He moved on to re-start his career at BMG where he signed artists such as Robson and Jerome, and boybands Westlife and 5ive. His music career didn’t truly take off until he appeared on Britain’s Pop Idol in 2001 as a talent judge. He became well known for his brutally honest, harsh criticisms of artists which caught the attention of American Idol producers who made him a judge in their inaugural season.
From there, Cowell went on to create and executive produce Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, and the X Factor USA among other shows and start a successful multimedia entertainment company, Syco Entertainment. His salary in 2017 was $95M and his net worth continues to grow exponentially year after year.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’s a real estate investor
Simon Cowell owns several massive mansions in some of the most expensive zip codes on Earth. His portfolio includes a $10M mansion in London’s Holland Park neighborhood AKA the “Golden Postcode” due to the astronomical cost of the homes there. His neighbors include the Beckhams and Elton John. In addition to his London home, Cowell owns a $24M, 7-bedroom beachfront mansion in Malibu, a $10M 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom mansion in Beverly Hills that he designed himself, and a gargantuan $40M, 10-bedroom, 1.3-acre estate known as the X-Factor “Judge’s House” in Barbados.
Earlier this year he added to his portfolio by purchasing a $15M townhouse in the Wimbledon neighborhood in London as his new family home with Lauren Silverman. He reportedly bought the property so that his 4-year-old son could be closer to his school. Cowell continues to profit by buying and selling luxury homes in London and Los Angeles.
2. His Average Annual Salary is $95M
Simon Cowell took home $95M in 2017 and $43.5M in 2018 which put him as #64 on top 100 celebrity earnings according to Forbes. Most of his earnings are from being a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent and The X-Factor U.K. The “Got Talent” brand is Simon’s creation and it airs in 186 countries worldwide. He produces these TV shows through an entertainment company that he owns, Syco Entertainment.
4. He’s the Founder and Owner of Syco Entertainment
Syco Entertainment is Simon Cowell’s music, TV, and Film company that has produced several successful TV shows and records. Cowell uses his TV shows to find talented musicians and then represents them through the music division of Syco. The label has sold over 200 million albums and achieved 180 number one singles worldwide.
Syco Entertainment has produced shows including The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got More Talent, I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story, Red or Black?, The You Generation, Planet’s Got Talent, La Banda , and The Investigator: A British Crime Story among several others. It represents a roster of musicians, mostly from Cowell’s TV shows, including One Direction, Little Mix, Camila Cabello, Susan Boyle, and Fifth Harmony.
The company has produced one film, 2013’s One Direction: This Is Us, and is working on another film, Betty Boop, which is currently in production with no release date set.
4. He Gives a Lot of Money to Charity
Simon Cowell is a staunch supporter of animal rights and has helped further the cause by donating money to the Manchester Dogs’ Home and appearing in a PETA video that reminded drivers of the dangers of leaving their dogs in hot cars in the summer. He’s also spoken out publicly several times against the dog meat trade in places like Indonesia and South Korea
He produced the single Everybody Hurts and donated the proceeds to victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and arranged a recording of Bridge Over Troubled Water with artists Robbie Williams, Dua Lipa, Roger Daltrey, and Rita Ora to raise money for victims of the Grenfell Tower Fire. Cowell also donated over $120,000 out of his own pocket to support the Israeli Defense Forces.
5. Simon Cowell Created Some of the Most Popular Shows in the World
Much of Simon Cowell’s fortune has come from his astronomically successful, worldwide TV brands such as X-Factor and “Got Talent” that airs in 186 countries. Simon Cowell is the creator and executive producer of these shows which has built a significant portion of his fortune.
Cowell also branched off into other TV shows including American Inventors, That Dog Can Dance, and Food Glorious Food. While these didn’t reach the level of success of longevity that X-Factor and “Got Talent” have, they were still profitable for Cowell and Syco Entertainment.