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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Simon Cowell showed Americans his softer side on Thursday, telling Oprah Winfrey he suffered from depression and that he had made "some absolutely horrific mistakes" in the past.
The normally abrasive "American Idol" judge said during an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that he was prone to dark moods.
"I get very, very down," Cowell said "Pretty much depression. (But) what I always say is, 'You're taking yourself too seriously, so stop it.' At the same time, you should never put a painted smile on. When you're feeling down, you're feeling down."
Cowell, 50, who also has his own record label and created the TV shows "America's Got Talent" and "The X-Factor," said he sometimes felt drained by the demands of his work.
"You just become aware that a lot of people depend on you, rely on you, or you're not giving people the time you should be giving them. It's almost like a guilt thing, and that does drain me," he said.
Often seen as arrogant because of his stinging put-downs to aspiring singers, Cowell admitted that he had a strong ego.
But life hasn't always been kind. He recalled the time 20 years ago when he lost his job, car and home and had to move back to live with his parents in Britain when a business deal went wrong.
"I made some absolutely horrific mistakes. I believed my own ego, believed my own hype, believed my own abilities, and lots of times it came crashing down," he said. "I thought I was absolutely untouchable."
Cowell's interview with Winfrey was broadcast a week before the May 26 finale of "American Idol", which will mark the end of his eight year association with the most-watched TV show in the United States.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant