TANNED, slim and riding a jet ski, Simon Cowell looked like a superhero as he holidayed in Barbados last week.
He certainly didn’t look like someone who, just four months ago, broke his back and underwent major surgery.
Sheer determination has got the dad-of-one through his gruelling rehabilitation, and as with every superhero, the support of a loyal sidekick.
While Simon, 61, enjoyed the water on their family holiday, his girlfriend Lauren Silverman, 43, relaxed on a boat, looking radiant in a black bikini.
Such has been her unwavering nurturing, it’s thought Simon may even ask her to marry him.
One source told Mail Online recently: “The fall was of life-changing seriousness. Some in his circle think it might even make him think again about making a commitment of marriage to Lauren. ‘Never say never’.”
His pillar of strength
The last few months have been the toughest the couple have ever faced.
In August, the Britain’s Got Talent creator broke three vertebrae after a freak accident on his electric bike in Malibu, California.
He was one centimetre away from damaging his spinal cord, which could have left him paralysed.
Lauren, along with the couple’s six-year-old son, Eric, has been there every step of the way, from the six-hour operation to insert a metal rod in his back, through to the tough recovery.
During his stay at Providence Saint John’s hospital in Santa Monica, not far from the family’s £18 million Malibu beach property, Lauren would nurture him with home-cooked meals, such as his favourite Italian bean soup.
When friends gave him healing crystals, the New Yorker arranged them by his bedside, just as she has done in their home.
'Because he’s so charismatic, women flock to him'
The accident followed claims last year that Lauren had become jealous at Simon’s friendships with Mel B and Alesha Dixon.
A source told The Sun at the time: “Poor Lauren adores Simon but is naturally suspicious of all the female attention he gets. Because he’s so charismatic, women flock to him and it riles Lauren.
“Simon gets on well with Mel but that’s all there’s ever been to it. There’s been absolutely no hint of romance.”
Then there were rumours Lauren had confronted Alesha Dixon over misplaced fears the Mis-Teeq singer and Simon had grown too close.
And there was a misunderstanding earlier last year in which Amanda Holden’s daughter Hollie interrupted her mum’s Instagram live stream at the mention of Simon, saying: “I thought they broke up.”
Radio presenter and BGT judge Amanda hastily told her eight-year-old, “Don’t be stupid,” and Simon’s spokesperson confirmed he and Lauren were very much still together and living at their Los Angeles home.
Amanda later said the couple were very much "loved up".
'Lauren has been a real soulmate and a confidante for a long time'
Simon once said he attracted fiery women, saying: “I’m attracted to certain personalities who are difficult to control. So there are tantrums, tears and fights, which is all part of the drama.”
There hadn’t been any public drama surrounding him and Lauren since they first got together, when Simon was accused of stealing his friend’s wife.
He was introduced to Lauren in 2006 by his pal, property developer Andrew Silverman and they developed a close friendship.
They would phone each other regularly and Lauren even attended events with Simon.
She would apparently tell him to slow down on work, saying: “Your routine will kill you. You’re burning the candle at both ends.”
When he popped the question to make up artist Mezghan Hussainy in 2010, he called Lauren to tell her the news.
It wasn’t unusual for the Silvermans to holiday with Simon, but one particular trip in 2012, aboard a £250,000-a-week superyacht, sowed the first seeds of attraction between Simon and Lauren.
Not long afterwards, the Silvermans' marriage of 10 years was on the rocks and when Lauren became pregnant with Simon’s baby, Andrew filed for divorce, citing his former friend in the papers.
Journalist Tom Bower, author of biography Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life of Simon Cowell, said at the time: “Lauren has been a real soulmate and a confidante for a long time.”
Three years ago, it was claimed Simon and Andrew have buried the hatchet and they are now “amicable, friendly even".
In September 2013 Simon confirmed in an interview with a US radio station that the pair were expecting a baby boy.
Little Eric came along on Valentine’s Day, 2014.
At his birth, Simon whispered to the newborn: “I’ve waited all my life for you.”
'I’ve been programmed to like Simon'
Famously commitment-phobic, the former ladies’ man had found his happy ending at last.
Even so, Sinitta, one of Simon’s squad of ex-girlfriends who remain close friends, said last May that she still thinks a trip up the aisle is unlikely.
Sinitta, 57, who dated Simon on and off for 20 years, said she “won’t buy a hat".
There are tantrums, tears and fights, which is all part of the drama
Even as recently as 2017, the divorcee admitted there was still an attraction on her part.
She told The Mirror: "There’s still sexual chemistry between Simon and I. I still fancy him – there are lots of things I find very attractive about him, but I’ve been programmed to like Simon.”
The So Macho singer was signed to his record label in 1983 and dated him on and off for 20-odd years.
She fell pregnant with his baby but the couple made the heartbreaking decision to abort because Sinitta was suffering from an undisclosed medical condition and couldn’t carry a baby to full term.
She said: “It’s such a heartbreaking thing to go through. It was devastating for both of us.”
They bought a puppy to help with the healing, but Simon’s winning charm with the ladies made Sinitta jealous and she repeatedly ended their relationship.
Sinitta, who regularly joined Simon at the judges’ houses part of The X Factor, once admitted she thought the pair would eventually settle down together.
She said: “I really believed when he got all the madness of the other women out of his system, we’d end up together.”
Instead, she remains very much part of his close circle.
Simon is Godfather to her adopted children, Magdalena and Zac, and she in turn is a Godmother to Eric.
'Lauren has been amazing'
Another of Simon’s former flames who remains a constant part of his inner circle is former model turned TV presenter Terri Seymour.
A week after the bike accident, Terri, 46, was seen supporting Lauren on a trip to the beach in Malibu with Eric and her daughter Coco, five.
It was Terri who stayed the night with Lauren to comfort her after the accident.
Described as the couple’s “best friend,” she revealed Simon’s progress to America’s ExtraTV days after the accident.
She said of his contact with Lauren from hospital: “He’s calling her all the time asking her for this and that. I need this, I need that. Poor Lauren has been amazing, she’s running backwards and forwards to the hospital all the time.”
And in October, Terri threw Simon a small party to celebrate his 61st birthday.
The pair dated for six years, from 2002 to 2008, and shortly before they split, he bought her a £3 million Hollywood pad.
She handed it back three years later when he was engaged to Mezghan Hussainy…
'When you make a promise to someone you have to support her'
Mezghan and Simon met while working on American Idol and, in an unusual sign of commitment, he popped the question a few months into their relationship, on Valentine’s Day, 2010.
The wedding was cancelled amid reports of blazing rows.
It was thought Mezghan couldn’t handle his busy schedule or his close friendship with his ex-girlfriends, who are part and parcel of Simon’s life.
Whether through generosity or guilt, he bought her a £5 million home as a parting gift.
He said: “When you make a promise to someone you have to support her.
“I put her in the public eye and attracted a lot of attention to her.”
Along the way, there was also the explosive revelation about his secret tryst with fellow X Factor judge Danni Minogue, revealed in Tom Bower’s book.
Simon said he wasn’t ready for another relationship but couldn’t resist the Aussie singer.
He said: “I was like a schoolboy. She was foxy. She was a real man’s girl. Very feminine. It was genuine love.”
There were also rumours of a failed bid to bed the popstar Natalie Imbruglia as well as a fling with American model and actress Carmen Electra.
Speaking about Carmen in December 2012, he told American Idol presenter Ryan Seacrest: “She’s not my girlfriend. We’re people who date. She’s adorable, isn’t she?”
Not long afterwards, he and Lauren got together.
Now, especially after all they have been through recently, they deserve their happy ever after.
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