It Looks Like Simon Cowell's Latest One Direction Comments Haven't Gone Down Well With The Boys Themselves

Simon Cowell and One Direction
Simon Cowell and One Direction Steve Granitz/Getty/Dave Hogan

Simon Cowell made headlines this week when he shared his “only regret” about his time working with One Direction, and quickly found himself at the centre of a backlash.

The former X Factor judge mentored the boyband during their time on the ITV talent show in 2010, and went on to sign them to his now-defunct record label.

Speaking to Stephen Bartlett on his Diary Of A CEO podcast, Simon said: “The one thing I regret is I should have kept the name.”

He explained: “That’s the problem. I could have made an animation. Whatever. But when you give an artist the name, it’s not yours. And that’s my only regret. So if you’re listening, I’ll buy it back.”

The Britain’s Got Talent star added: “That’s the only thing I do regret. Because if one of the band members, for whatever reason, say they don’t want to tour, it can stop the others touring. So if it was me who own the name, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

One Direction pictured together in 2014
One Direction pictured together in 2014 Fred Duval via Getty Images

Simon – who is currently on the search to put together a new boyband with a nationwide talent search – concluded: “That was me being very, very naive. So next time that will be part of the deal. I have to earn the name. They can still make most of the money, but I need to own the name.”

His comments were heavily criticised online, particularly by One Direction fans, who accused the TV mogul of prioritising money over the wellbeing of his acts, and pointed out that several members of the group have spoken about the hardships they faced at the height of 1D’s success.

And it seems that certain members of One Direction were just as unimpressed, with both Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan having seemingly unfollowed their former mentor on social media in the wake of his comments.

HuffPost UK has contacted Louis and Niall’s representatives for comment.

In recent history, both Zayn Malik and Liam Payne had discussed the impact that being in One Direction had on their mental health and wellbeing.

Liam actually also featured on the Diary Of A CEO podcast in 2021, telling the host: “The day the band ended, I was like, ‘thank the Lord for that’. And I know a lot of people are gonna be mad at me for saying that, but I needed to stop or it would kill me.”

When Zayn left the group in 2015, he went on to cite prioritising his mental health as a pivotal reason for quitting.

Years later, he disclosed that he had been “suffering from an eating disorder” which he said “got quite serious” before he stepped away from the group.