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HE MAY have been a somewhat reluctant first-time daddy, but it seems that Simon Cowell is more than making up for his hesitancy now.
After those black and white portraits — which, interestingly, were taken by a professional photographer in the hospital — he has been unable to resist sharing more images of his delightful newborn baby son.
This time, though, little Eric is slightly out of focus and surrounded by cuddly toys, in images that will look familiar to all new parents, not just those worth £250 million.
‘The last three days have been incredible,’ Cowell tweeted on Tuesday.
It seems that life for Cowell, at 54, has changed more than he could have imagined. But his apparent contentedness may be partly because he’s struck it lucky with Eric, who appears to be a very quiet child.
One of Cowell’s friends says: ‘Eric is a lovely baby. He’s calm, sweet and very handsome. Simon’s loving every minute and won’t put little Eric down. He’s taken to it like a natural and can’t stop smiling.’
Max Clifford, Simon’s spokesman, tells me: ‘I do think that this will be the making of him. The entertainment world is very empty, selfish and destructive — the human qualities get lost. But the baby changes all that.’
However, Eric has, of course, been born into an unimaginably luxurious lifestyle.
While Cowell said before the birth that he doesn’t want to spoil the boy and will expect him to work for a living when he is older, his early years will be cosseted indeed.
Any travel Baby Cowell undertakes will be by private jet — his father’s emergency dash to see the delivery was only the second time in ten years that he has flown commercial. He will have his bottles washed by a personal housekeeper and his food pureed by another member of Cowell’s domestic staff. Cowell has a small team in place ready for Baby Eric’s arrival in each of his four homes.
Cowell has reportedly selected an English nanny for his son already, as he is keen for Eric to grow up with an English accent. The baby’s car seat, incidentally, is the Cybex Aton, costing £185 — top of the range and designed to be comfortable for small newborns.
Simon and Lauren are renting a luxury apartment on the Upper East Side in New York. For now, this will be their home.
Come April, when Britain’s Got Talent filming resumes, Simon will return to his home in London’s Holland Park with Lauren and Eric.
However, after just a few weeks Lauren will return to New York with Eric to spend time with her older boy Adam, eight, and there will follow the first of many separations.
For the arrival of the Cowell baby brings with it seemingly unconquerable practical challenges.
What stands in the way of family life, aside from Cowell’s formidable work schedule, is a divorce and custody agreement over Lauren’s older son which has been privately described to me as ‘impossible’.
Indeed, I can reveal that Cowell’s lawyers are quietly negotiating to attempt to overturn the agreement now, because they fear that it will prevent him and Lauren from building a family life.
Lauren was married for ten years to property mogul Andrew Silverman, who was once Cowell’s close friend. Their son, Adam, is eight and being educated in New York. Under the terms of the divorce, thrashed out while she was heavily pregnant with baby Eric, they share joint custody of Adam.
Broadly, they each have him for a week in turn and split the school holidays equally.
This would make life complex enough, but it seems that Andrew Silverman, badly betrayed by Cowell, insisted in negotiations that the TV mogul plays no part in his son’s life.
Cowell is not allowed to see Adam until January 2015 on pain of a $50,000 penalty. If the rule is broken three times, Lauren may temporarily lose custody of Adam.
Further conditions reveal the depth of Andrew Silverman’s anger. The boy is not allowed to call anyone other than his biological parents mother or father, and there is a formal clause banning Lauren from saying anything derogatory about Andrew in front of their son.
The rules create logistical complexity. Over Christmas, for instance, Lauren spent the big day in New York with Adam before flying to Barbados with her family and Adam.
She stayed in a hotel a few miles away from Cowell and they saw each other by appointment, without Adam present.
After a week, Adam went home to New York accompanied by Lauren’s sister. Only then did Lauren join Cowell on his yacht.
Their Caribbean holiday ended on January 15 — but thanks to Britain’s Got Talent auditions and Adam’s return to school, Cowell and Lauren didn’t see each other again until February 14 for baby Eric’s birth.
In the coming weeks, when Adam is at home with his mum and new brother, Cowell must keep away. One possible plan is that he will stay at the Plaza Hotel in New York overnight, then visit Eric when Adam is at school.
What this adds up to is that Cowell will only be able to see his newborn son freely every other week for the rest of this year. And that’s when he’s not working, which is rare.
Indeed, with work keeping him in the UK from April until June, there is a further issue — it seems Lauren has quailed at the idea of commuting across the Atlantic with a newborn twice a month, private jet or not.
So the couple have decided that Cowell will do the travelling. Meanwhile, they will attempt to get the ban on him seeing Adam lifted.
But the couple don’t seem to have squared the circle of how they will care for Adam while fulfilling Cowell’s wish of raising his son in London. He will probably have to be raised partly in New York as well.
Max Clifford says: ‘I don’t think they know how they are going to work it out.
‘[Simon] can travel to her in term time and in the holidays she can come to him. They want to be as close as possible, and as close to Eric and Adam as they can.
‘Simon will bear the burden of the travelling. He already spends more time in the air than anyone I know apart from a pilot.
‘Simon does come from a very, very happy family. He was very close to his father and he would like to have the same kind of relationship with Eric.’
As for the custody arrangements, Clifford says: ‘Everything is being done to make the family as close as possible. As to what will happen, only time will tell.’
There is little doubt that with the arrival of Eric there will be a shift for Simon away from Los Angeles to the East Coast.
For the past few months he has been hunting for a grand permanent home in New York and he has feelers out for a holiday home in the chi-chi Hamptons as well. Lauren’s family have a holiday home there and she wants to introduce him to the Hamptons social scene.
He has two huge houses in Los Angeles which will, it seems, become glorified holiday homes. But as Fox announced last week that it has cancelled X Factor US, he doesn’t need to be in the city any more (although his company has offices there).
An obvious question is whether he and Lauren, 37, will get married. It seems she has been expecting an engagement ring for some time.
Ever since their liaison became explosively public last year, friends have been talking about how in love they are, and saying marriage is on the cards. There was an expectation that Simon would propose over their New Year holiday. He did not.
A spokesman said after Eric’s birth that it was ‘too soon’ to talk of marriage. That’s not to say that Simon is averse to an engagement — he was engaged to both Mezhgan Hussainy and Terri Seymour — but he seems to be in no hurry this time, even though everyone tells you he is ‘incredibly happy’ and ‘deeply in love.’
There are suggestions that the two of them have yet to hammer out a mutually agreeable pre-nuptial agreement, hence the delay.
Many wonder if Cowell is really in a hurry to wed at all, as he has previously been vocal about not wanting to settle down. He has said that a renewable contract like a dog licence would be more sensible than a marriage, and he would never be sure he could be faithful.
Marriage aside, that’s not the only change Cowell is mooting. He has apparently been telling friends he is seriously thinking about retiring fairly soon, when he is 60.
One observes: ‘He says he will take a back seat. He has achieved everything he can.’
But even with Eric on the scene, is it really likely Cowell will be able to turn his back on the career that has so consumed him? Nappies, it seems, are not top of his agenda just yet. - Daily Mail