SIMON COWELL suffered a devastating collapse this summer as the strains of his professional and personal life became too much.
He had to withdraw from filming auditions for the US X Factor when his lifestyle saw him change into a “weird vampire”.
Author Tom Bower reveals the breakdown in an update to his best-selling book on the star.
Stricken Simon had to be put on a strict detox regime to give him the strength to battle his “demons”.
His doctor in Los Angeles told him to remove all supplements and health aids from his life and quit smoking.
Cowell, 52, was bedridden for a week, cutting himself off from friends, colleagues and even the demands of top TV executives.
He is said to have confided in X Factor pal Louis Walsh: “I don’t want any more tablets and pills. I’m cutting out the lot, including cigarettes.
“I desperately need peace. I’m craving normality. I’ve got to work out my demons and come out of it.
“I have to get back to where I was years ago. I had to stop reading texts at three in the morning and making calls later and later. I wanted peace.”
Cowell’s enforced three-week break to recover from nervous exhaustion is revealed by author Tom Bower in an updated chapter to his best-selling book on the media mogul.
He says it came following an operation in LA needed to fix earlier facial surgery in London.
The doc also insisted Cowell take things easy — despite critical filming with new US X Factor judge Britney Spears being in full swing.
Cowell later confided to friends that the long-term pressure of running his entertainment empire on both sides of the Atlantic had turned him into a “weird vampire”, answering messages and texts throughout the night.
He said: “My life was like a night shift. I’d forgotten the sensation of the morning.”
Fellow judge Walsh was urgently drafted in to replace him on the US judging panel at a cost of £160,000 at two days notice.
In the updated chapter in the book Sweet Revenge, showbusiness mastermind Cowell is quoted as saying he had become “paralysed by tiredness” and that his immune system had “collapsed”.
His company Syco Productions officially stated that he had been suffering from bronchitis.
But Louis secretly admits that Cowell suffered “a mid-life crisis” and had “lost his mojo”.
Simon also fears a professional crisis with audiences for his X Factor show falling by two million since last year in the UK.
Meanwhile in the US, a rival network is to pit The Voice directly against the show. It threatens to overwhelm this week’s high profile launch in a move Cowell calls “cynical sabotage”.
The new chapter tells how even Cowell’s closest friends, familiar with his occasional “dark moods”, were shocked as he “shut down and cut himself off from the world in self-imposed isolation”, says Bower.
After ten days recuperating from the breakdown in June, he cancelled plans to join the judging panel at the X Factor auditions in Kansas and instead called on Walsh to step in.
He is also said to have banned a weekly vitamin drip, tablets and cigarettes, text and emails and abandoned his mobile phone as he sought to recover.
Respected author Bower, 65 — who has written books on Bernie Ecclestone, Richard Branson and Mohamed Fayed — spent months in Cowell’s company and a year researching his life. He says Simon had experienced a “crisis” — caused by “nervous exhaustion”.
At the time Britney was being introduced as a new US judge, controversial revelations in Bower’s book were first serialised in The Sun and ITV bosses were trying to “raid” Cowell’s production company Syco in the hope of luring away two key employees, the author says.
“Suddenly his immune system collapsed and he was paralysed by tiredness”, Bower writes in his update.
“After waking in the afternoon, he lay in his bed sensing an emergency. ‘It hit me like a wave. My body was saying that I was turning into a weird vampire’, Cowell told friends.”
Good friend Lauren Silverman is quoted as telling Cowell: “Your routine will kill you. You’re burning the candle at both ends.”
The music and telly guru ordered senior assistant Jennie Paine not to bring any emails, or even have newspapers delivered.
Famous for his late-night lifestyle, Cowell — more used to having breakfast in the early afternoon — also tried to shift his routine to a “normal” one.
For the first time in years he ate his first meal of the day at 9.30am and went to bed at 10.30pm.
During the three weeks of recuperation he spent the days watching films, reading books and walking in his garden barefoot for up to two hours at a time.
Notoriously fickle, Cowell also resolved to chop down nine towering palm trees. They had been planted for him at a cost of £150,000 and designed as one of the signature features of his Palm Drive house in LA.
They were to be replaced by olive trees to give a Tuscan atmosphere, Bower reveals.
Bizarrely at the time, Cowell was also photographed riding his three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder motorbike in bare feet in Beverly Hills.
As part of his recovery he vowed to “no longer engage in endless text messaging until daybreak and cut aggressive people out of his life”, Bower says. Car fan Cowell emerged from the imposed isolation to be spotted driving a classic Ford Model B around Beverly Hills on June 18.
He later vowed: “I’ve got to become uncluttered, totally focused on the creative, delegate more work and have more one-on-one time with my people.”
But friends say that despite the withdrawal and resolutions, Cowell has since resumed his habits of smoking and late-night texting. The new chapter also reveals how super-rich Cowell put a £25,000 bet on the Wimbledon tennis final — because he wanted Andy Murray to LOSE.
It is thought Simon made £12,500 by staking the wad on the eventual winner, Swiss legend Roger Federer.
Cowell acted out of spite at Murray’s manager Simon Fuller — a former business partner and one-time boss of the Spice Girls, says Bower.
The feud between the pair is so personal that Cowell has admitted it has fuelled his drive to reach the top. They initially worked together to create Pop Idol in the 1990s. But after an acrimonious split Cowell vowed to create a rival show, which became X Factor.
He later told Fuller: “All I’ve done is revenge for what you did to me. And there’s much more to come.” Asked about his bet, placed through William Hill, he is quoted as saying simply: “Just a bit more revenge.”