Simon Cowell says he started drinking and smoking at just eight years old
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Simon Cowell has revealed he was smoking and drinking when he was just eight years old.
The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent judge was reminiscing about his younger years and what he had been like when he was the same age as his son Eric, eight, - who appears to be an altogether better behaved kid than he was.
Revealing his wild ways, Cowell told the Sun: “I was so bad when I was Eric's age. I was a nightmare. I was drinking and smoking at eight, and I once nearly burned the house down.
Explaining how that came about, he continued: “I was trying to prove to my brother that Father Christmas wasn't real, so I found the costume and set fire to the beard.”
However, things quickly went wrong after a young Cowell dropped the beard onto the couch, which caught fire and then spread to the rest of the room.
Fortunately, Cowell’s older brother smelled the smoke and was able to raise the alarm before anyone was injured.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and aged ten, Cowell nicked his dad’s car and crashed it.
And his bad behaviour didn’t stop there, when he was 12 he says he was cautioned by police after he pointed a pea-shooting gun at a bus driver in a bizarre attempt to hijack the vehicle.
Thinking back, he said he remembers his mum ‘being furious’ when he returned home - well, I can’t say I blame her, mate.
Now a dad himself, Cowell said his overprotective ways towards little Eric are ‘borderline ridiculous’, saying that he’s an ‘11 out of ten’ for protectiveness, and that he wants his son to ‘live with him forever’.
The 63-year-old credits Eric with saving him from his ‘obsession’ with work and helping to shift his focus.
“Before Eric, my life was 99 percent work — I was obsessed with it,” he said.
“I got to that point where everything was about, ‘If you’re not rating against this then you’re a failure’ and I stopped enjoying what I was doing and I was miserable the whole time.
“I was obsessed with beating the competition. I took it to a ridiculous level and I would get really down about that stuff, to the point I was depressed.”
He went on to say that he was ‘really unhappy’ until Eric was born and now he no longer feels the need to work through the night.