Nine years ago, Susan Boyle’s life changed forever when she became a surprise global star after appearing on the hugely popular Britain’s Got Talent in the United Kingdom.
While her angelic voice has sold millions of albums around the world and made her a household name, TV talent judge Simon Cowell has now revealed his remorse for how he treated the 57-year-old during her original audition.
When the then 47-year-old singer took to the stage, Cowell, along with former Britain’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan, didn’t appear to take the Scottish singer seriously.
Cowell could be seen rolling his eyes and muttering “wow” during the audition, as Boyle explained she had never married and that she shared her flat with her cat. Nearly a decade on, he’s now explained that he hates himself for how he acted towards Boyle during her ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ audition and for judging her on her appearance.
Speaking to Variety, the father-of-one said he hated himself for his initial reaction towards the star.
“When that clip arrived on my laptop and I saw me, I said, ‘I actually hate my guts right now’. Because we were really sneery,” he said. “That was the tipping point.”
During the interview, Cowell, who is known for his often brutal and harsh criticism of contestants on shows like America’s Got Talent and The X Factor, said he wasn’t like his TV persona in real life.
“A lot of people thought that whenever I met them in public, I was going to insult them,” he revealed. “I literally had people coming up to me saying, ‘Can you insult me?’ I’m not like that in real life.”
While Boyle didn’t win the show, she did go on to become one of the biggest stars in the world. Her debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, became the UK’s best-selling album of all time. She earned £5 million (AU$8.8 million, US$6.4 million) in the year following her stint on the show.
However, the fame has taken a toll on Boyle. In 2017, reports claimed the singer was harassed and intimidated by a group of boys in her hometown of West Lothian in Scotland. According to the Mirror, around 15 teenagers poked fun at her appearance and threw objects at her.
A year earlier, the star took an 18-month break from the limelight to focus on her health. The star had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and was told to focus on losing weight. Boyle was also diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which can impact her mental health.