When the gossip first surfaced earlier this summer that Simon Cowell was to become a dad, many were skeptical that the 53 year-old bachelor was fully committed to the task at hand. This week, "The X Factor" judge's previously shocking baby surprise has apparently morphed into the most pleasant one, thanks to a well-executed publicity campaign... a plan that may be a little too clever for its own good.
We first read that the television personality had impregnated his friend's wife, Lauren Silverman, in the pages of US Weekly on July 31.The circumstances were deliciously awkward. They were best friends who had vacationed together for years and the rumor was Lauren's marriage to real estate tycoon Andrew Silverman was already over. To be on the safe side, Simon and Lauren appeared to avoid being photographed as a couple for a few weeks, until Lauren reportedly reached a divorce settlement with Andrew in August. Journalists clamored to get the jilted real estate mogul to talk but to no avail. Since then, Simon and Lauren have been photographed piling on the PDA in ritzy locales like St. Tropez, New York and London.
This week, Simon not only disclosed that Lauren is due to deliver their son sometime in February, he also dropped the L-word! "I love her," Simon proclaimed to People Magazine. Our hearts melted at the thought that impending fatherhood may have changed a man once known for his cold, brash ways. Adding to our gushy feelings, the New York Daily News reported that Simon had recently moved Lauren into a $26,500/month luxury apartment on Park Avenue.
I particularly enjoyed seeing pictures of Simon hanging out with his ex-girlfriends and sometimes, with Lauren present! He gave one ex -- singer Sinitta -- a lift home on a private jet, and he went to lunch with another -- makeup artist Megzhan Hussainy. I loved that Simon was embracing this supposedly new chapter in his life, without abandoning the "old" Simon -- the one who liked the company of beautiful, brunette women, even if it was in front of his current flame and thousands of onlookers and paparazzi.
Then I had to stop myself. Was I giving Simon too much credit? First off, he has yet to say whether or not he will marry Lauren. Secondly, what was the guy supposed to do? Showing responsibility and maturity is just good business. Besides, it is pertinent for a gentleman of Simon's stature to detract us from the possibility that he may have been the main reason behind Lauren's failed marriage? Lastly, why are we being presented with a Simon who is so perfectly flawed? Why do we need to see that Simon is growing in subtle ways, even when he tells reporters that he won't change diapers?
Seemingly, it all comes down to spin and with good reason. The affair hasn't helped "The X Factor." Its third season opened Wednesday night with 6.17 million viewers, a big plunge from the 8.97 million who watched last season's opener. On the upside, I guess it's kind of romantic that Simon still hasn't disclosed whether or not he'll ask Lauren for a DNA test, but unfortunately that's about as warm and fuzzy as this situation will ever get. You can only cover up so much before the public catches on and these days, they will.
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