Los Angeles: Singer Simon Cowell, who lost all his money in the late 1980s and ended up living at home with his mother, admits that his ego has been his biggest downfall.

"I've had many failures. The biggest were at times when I believed my own hype. I'd had smaller failures, signing bands that didn't work, but my record company going bust, that was the first big on," the 52-year-old said.

"I was a typical Eighties cliche. I had the cars, the house, the image and everything was beyond my means. I spent too much time at parties and then everything imploded," he said.

"Losing everything is probably the greatest lesson you learn. I went back to my parents' house and started again. From then on everything I did was different. It was all about the work. I sold the Porsche, got a classic red TR6 for seven grand. I loved that car more than the Porsche."

"Sometimes you throw a pebble in the water - occasionally a rock - just to wind everybody up. When things get a little too comfortable I get bored. And yes, it amuses me," Cowell said.