The 'America's Got Talent: Fantasy League' judge also opens up about parenting his 9-year-old son Eric and the lengths he never thought he'd take to make his little one happy
Simon Cowell is prioritizing his health and family ahead of his new gig.
While speaking to PEOPLE on the red carpet Wednesday ahead of a taping for the new NBC series, America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League, the 64-year-old talent judge opens up about the ways he’s allocated his work to be more present in his home life.
“Don't work on Fridays, because you don't have to,” he says. “Eat dinner at five o'clock. Don't take calls after 5:30. Don't read emails after 5:30. Watch a happy movie and stay outside.”
The television personality adds, “I don't think anyone should be working five days a week. It's just pointless. Do something you enjoy. I've really enjoyed doing this.”
Despite having a demanding schedule, Cowell admits that the year has flown by and he hasn’t felt “tired" due to his new lifestyle habits. “I think mainly because I've stopped smoking as well. That's made a big difference,” he says.
“You can't fake it,” he says of spending time with his child. “You've got to be absolutely focused, because they know when you're faking it, and it's kind of like, ‘Okay, what do you want to do today?’ ‘I want to drive 25 miles to buy a Pokémon card.’ I’m like, ‘Brilliant! We’ll do it!’ And you just kind of just gotta go there. And it really is worth it. it really is.”
This isn’t the first time Cowell has opened up about how Eric has changed his relationship with work for the better.
"If Eric hadn't come along, God knows what would have happened," he told The Sun in October 2022. "Before Eric, my life was 99 percent work. I was obsessed with it."
Cowell shares his son, who was born in 2014, with his fiancée Lauren Silverman. Eric was named after his late father, with whom he was very close before his death.
"After I lost my mum and my dad, you kind of think you're never going to feel that love again — that's it. Then you have kids, and, though I never thought I would feel that way, it's beyond your love for your parents," he said. "It almost hurts how much you love them. Then you start thinking, 'When he grows up, what's his dad going to have done?' I think about that a lot."
Before the birth of his son, the America's Got Talent star admitted he was "really unhappy."
"Now Eric is around, I don't work through the night anymore. If he hadn't come along, God knows what would have happened. The thought of it — I can't deal with that," he said with emotion.
Besides raising Eric, Cowell is staying busy serving as a judge on America's Got Talent: Fantasy League, a spinoff of the NBC hit America's Got Talent.
The new series, set to premiere on Jan. 1, will see 40 of the show's most beloved acts compete against each other on the fantasy teams of Cowell and fellow judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Mel B. For the first time in AGT history, the judges will not only guide their acts through the competition but will also compete beside them as they vye for the title of AGT: Fantasy League champion and a monetary prize of $250,000.
Fans can expect the return of the Golden Buzzer to send talent acts into the finale, but this time, there's a special twist. The judges will have the opportunity to use the Golden Buzzer for their own acts or steal one from another’s team.
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America's Got Talent: Fantasy League premieres Monday, Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and will stream the next day on Peacock.
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