Simon Cowell has opened up about his devastation following his father's death in 1999 - insisting his career seemed "meaningless" after the tragedy. The music mogul was in America when his music industry executive dad, Eric, passed away, and he only learned the news when he phoned home to tell his parents that his recently signed band, Westlife, had topped the British charts.
In a new interview with his "Britain's Got Talent" co-star Piers Morgan, Cowell choked back tears as he described his heartbreak over the loss. He says, "I believed in the band and I wanted to share the news with my mum and dad, and then (came) the news of what had happened and I had to get back to England. I rang both of them to tell them the news and my mum was acting in kind of a strange way and then she called me back and told me."
"Oh Piers it wasn't, wasn't good. But you've just got to deal with it, you know, and I went back and realized that your first responsibility is that you've got to look after your mum. It was a horrible, horrible, horrible time, like I said. You believe everyone is going to live for ever and they don't. And all the stuff you think you care about, the hit records and stuff like that, it's just meaningless."
Cowell also admits the tragedy made him face up to his own emotions, which he tries to keep hidden from his loved ones. He adds, "I can't admit things, that's why I can't go to funerals and stuff like that. I find it very, very difficult to deal with that kind of reality. I shut myself off totally because it affects me so badly."
"And then, because I had to deal with that (my father's death), it was the hardest thing I ever had, because I've never lost anyone in my life, you know, it was the first thing like that that ever happened and I just couldn't accept it."