“The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell is denying rumors that he has broken up with fiancée Mezhgan Hussainy. He also admits that 2011 was the year that his ego “was put in check” because his TV shows did not perform up to ratings expectations.
Cowell and makeup artist Hussainy got engaged in 2010. Rumors that Cowell and Hussainy split up began to spread in September 2011, when Cowell said in an interview with Howard Stern that he “wasn’t sure” if he and Hussainy were still engaged. She was sometimes seen in public without her engagement ring, and tabloids reported that Cowell and Hussainy were no longer living together.
Cowell also spent his recent Christmas and New Year’s holidays in the Caribbean without Hussainy. However, he was seen in the company of several other women while in the Caribbean, including ex-girlfriend Sinitta and socialite Zeta Graff.
After the Howard Stern interview, Cowell refused for months to say anything to the media about his love life, but now he has broken his silence about the status of his relationship with Hussainy. In an interview with The Sun, Cowell commented on the female companions who were with him during his recent Caribbean vacation:
“None of those women were girlfriends. They’re just friends, 100 per cent. I talk to Mezhgan all the time. Everything is fine. But I didn’t say there would be wedding bells soon.”
As for his TV programs, Cowell (who is also executive producer of “Got Talent” shows around the world) admits that he was “arrogant” as he headed into 2011, but his ego got bruised later that year when his TV shows did not do as well in the ratings as expected:
- Ratings decreased for “The X Factor” U.K. and “Britain’s Got Talent.”
- “The X Factor U.S.” premiered to a lot of hype but did not get blockbuster ratings as expected.
- U.K. game show “Red or Black?” (also executive produced by Cowell) premiered but also had disappointing ratings.
Looking back on 2011, Cowell commented:
“We all got a bit smug last year, I certainly got a bit too cocky. I ended 2010 on a real high, it was the [‘X Factor’ U.K. winner] Matt Cardle year — my favorite year — and the figures for ‘X Factor’ were huge. I did get too arrogant, everyone does. When you have a very good year like I did in 2010, you get a bit cocky. You think you are great, then you get a bit of a smack.
“We went into 2011 thinking, ‘It’s all going to be easy’ and of course it wasn’t. It was a massive wake-up call. From ‘BGT,’ to ‘Red or Black’ — me making these massive predictions in America.”
In 2011, ratings for some episodes of “The X Factor” U.K. were surpassed by “Strictly Come Dancing.” Cowell told The Sun that this rivalry is one of the main reasons why he hired Alesha Dixon away from the “Strictly Come Dancing” judging panel to become a judge on “Britain’s Got Talent.”
Cowell explained why he hired Dixon:
“I like her a lot. When I was in America I’d read about the ratings battles going on here and I did think ‘Strictly’ were getting a bit smug. They did great. But the Alesha thing was kind of fun. My decision to poach her was 70-30 on the fact she was on ‘Strictly’ and the fact I liked her.”
As for “Red or Black?,” Cowell said that the show will probably return as a weekly program instead of a nightly show.
Cowell quit “The X Factor” U.K. judging panel so he could be a judge on “The X Factor” U.S., but he says he would not rule out a possibility of returning to “The X Factor” U.K. for some kind of on-camera appearance:
“I’ve signed up to do the American show, but anything could happen regarding the British one. We’ll see what changes we make to the US ‘X Factor,’ then we’ll see what we do to the UK ‘X Factor.'”