In fact, the American Idol judge used to be shy and intimidated by fame. He recently admitted regret for not speaking up when he had the chance early in his career - and thereby putting an end to pop dreams of Eddie Murphy.
The caustic American Idol co-creator was hired to help Murphy hit the high notes in the early 1980s. How now admits he wishes he had the nerve back then to tell the star he was terrible.
"He (Murphy) was interested in making a record, so I flew to his huge house, and I was very intimidated. I thought it would be just the two of us and a hi-fi. But I ended up in a recording studio with about 20 nodders; a nodder is someone who gets paid to agree with the person paying him," Cowell said. "Eddie started to play some songs, which I hated, and I just didn't know what to say. Now I'd find it a lot easier. I would just say, 'I hate it.'"
He's certainly proven as much with his recent criticism of Bob Dylan.