Simon Cowell on burnout from work: 'I was terrified it would happen to me'

Simon Cowell (NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)
Simon Cowell had to make a change to avoid 'something bad' happening to him. (NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)

Simon Cowell has opened up about being 'terrified' of burnout and why he decided to make his health his number one priority.

The music mogul and TV star, 62, said he was desperate to spend more time with his eight-year-old son Eric and didn't want his "unhealthy addiction to work" get in the way.

"I made the decision that my main job would be being on TV, not running a production company," Cowell told The Sun.

"It was just all becoming too much."

Read more: Are you at risk of burning out?

Judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon arrive for Britain's Got Talent auditions held at The London Palladium, Soho, in London. Picture date: Thursday January 20, 2022. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon arrive for 'Britain's Got Talent', one of Cowell's fewer work priorities now. (PA Images via Getty Images)

It was confirmed last year The X Factor would not be returning, and this year Cowell started to wind down Syco, his entertainment empire and production company. His decision to pare back work ventures has meant focussing his attention on being a TV personality on the shows he feels he is able to do, including Britain's Got Talent, which premiered again earlier this month.

"If I'm being honest, I was very nervous about burnout. I wasn't feeling ill, I was just terrified that would happen to me," he explained.

"I'm a great believer in doing something before something bad happens, rather than waiting for something bad to happen.

"I was thinking a lot about that during the last two years. I've seen it happen to people, close friends of mine, where they get burnt out and you don't want to be in that place.

"There's no coming back from that."

Read more: The Life Edit Podcast: Are you suffering from burnout?

Simon Cowell shows the broken arm he suffered in a bicycle injury last week as he and his partner, Lauren Silverman, leave their home in London's Holland Park. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images)
Simon Cowell with his partner Lauren Silverman after breaking his arm. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Cowell's recent commitment to health also comes after his series of accidents. The TV judge fell off his electric bike near his west London home in February this year, and broke his arm. This followed a more serious electric bike crash in August 2020 when he broke his back and had to endure hours of surgery and have a metal rod inserted, leaving him fearful he wouldn't be able to walk again.

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But it was the effects of the pandemic (with him also testing positive for Covid-19 shortly after his more recent bike tumble) that changed the way he wanted to do things. This included backing out of being a judge on his new ITV talent show Walk The Line last autumn.

"Because of Covid, it had such an impact on everyone and what I took away from it was you have to put your health first," he said.

"You have to make it your number one priority."

With his family also his main driving force for slowing down, he added: "I wanted to spend more time with Eric – you only get this age once.

"Being able to pick him up from school every day, have dinner with him every night, all that kind of stuff, I'm able to do that now.

"He's a really sweet boy and I love him to death." Cowell is also now able to spend more time with his fiancée Lauren Silverman, who he shares Eric with.

Watch: Simon Cowell 'promises to stay away from e-bikes after latest crash'