Simon Cowell has revealed his mental health plummeted during the pandemic over fears he would contract Covid and pass it on to his family.
The music mogul was based in Los Angeles with partner Lauren Silverman and their young son Eric when coronavirus prompted worldwide lockdowns in March 2020.
The 63-year-old said that while he had suffered from depression for years, the pandemic had been a “catalyst” and he had become “petrified” of catching the virus.
He began: “I’ve suffered from depression over the years...but that was just something I just thought, ‘Well, that’s my character trait. I get down,’ and it’s something you deal with.
“And then I suppose Covid was the real catalyst. In the very, very, very early stages, some friends of mine got really ill and I’m talking about really ill.
“So, I thought, ‘God, if I catch this, maybe the same thing’s going to happen to me, Eric and Lauren’,” he told the Mirror’s new Men in Mind podcast.
“I didn’t know what was true or not, I just didn’t have a clue other than I was petrified about catching it. Just petrified.”
Cowell explained that eventually he did catch the virus but experienced no adverse effects.
However, his reaction to the fear of contracting it prompted him seek help from a counsellor and now feels as though “a weight has lifted off my shoulders”.
Recalling his first session, Cowell said: “I made the appointment and I sat down, really embarrassed and I said, ‘Look, I just don’t know where to start.’
“But within about 20 minutes it was as if I’d known him for 10, 20 years. He put me so much at ease. And you realise you’re talking to a professional and they don’t judge you, they listen to you.”
After starting counselling, the music mogul, behind popular competition shows including The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, said he has stopped using his mobile phone and no longer wants to know about his TV ratings.
“It’s quite incredible because it now doesn’t feel like you’re chasing something,” he continued. “You’re just making something you like in the hope that other people like it as well. If they don’t, they don’t.”