Amanda Holden reveals how Simon Cowell’s ‘family life is happy’ and admits their close bond doesn’t mean her job on Britain’s Got Talent is safe – despite a potential firing being ‘awkward’

They’ve worked together since 2007, so it’s perhaps no surprise that Amanda Holden ’s friendship with Britain’s Got Talent boss Simon Cowell extends far beyond the judging panel.

As the show returns for its 17th series tonight, she says they now hang out regularly at weekends. And Simon, it seems, only got a rural retreat in the Cotswolds because she told him and fiancee Lauren Silverman they simply had to have one.

“I see him most weekends in the Cotswolds, so it would be very uncomfortable for him to not employ me,” Amanda laughs. “For years I was saying, ‘you need to come to the Cotswolds – this is the place you can switch off and take your eyelashes off!’ And Lauren was very, very keen. When they found somewhere I was delighted. They are super-happy.”

Amanda and her talent manager husband Chris Hughes – who counts Simon, 64, as a client – have long had an association with the area, which is where Amanda’s grandparents lived. She says Simon, who got engaged to American Lauren, 46, in 2021, is happier now than ever.

“I think his family life is happy, he’s super-secure with Lauren and their son Eric is gorgeous,” she says. “Simon doesn’t have a phone, he doesn’t pay attention to anything and I think that puts him in a bubble. That’s how he lives life, and that’s much better for him.”

‘It would be awkward but it doesn’t safeguard the job,’ Amanda Holden admits when discussing being fired from Britain’s Got Talent (
Yet Amanda isn’t counting her chickens when it comes to the job contract, which is renewed annually. “It would be awkward but it doesn’t safeguard the job, because Simon isn’t frightened of change,” she says. “Neither am I. I mean, I never expected to do this for 18 years, so I’d be sad, but I’d wish the next person very well.”

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She and Simon also took part in a prank on Saturday Night Takeaway this month. Their closeness must make her his favourite on the panel, which also comprises Bruno Tonioli and Alesha Dixon? “Oh no, Bruno’s his favourite,” Amanda insists. “Definitely Bruno.”

The Heart Radio host says she has plenty of eggs in other baskets. “I’ve got other shows. I left drama school in 1992 and I still have that work ethic. I’ve had a job since I was 13 and feel fortunate to be working. That’s the bottom line.”

Is is hard being so upbeat and positive the whole time? “Simon always says I’m like a competition winner,” she guffaws. “My husband will 100% say I have grumpy days. It’s not like The Truman Show in my house but I’m happy most days.” The friendship between all the judges extends to their children too. Amanda says her daughter Hollie, 12, Alesha’s daughter Azura, 11, and nine-year-old Eric are like “the Harry Potter trio”.

But when Eric and Hollie were caught on camera lunging for the golden buzzer during filming for this series, she claims she was horrified. Their audacious behaviour will be shown in a later episode. “I just thought this is the end of my seat on the show,” she claims.

Hollie is a chip off the old block, Amanda says. “She’s nuts. She’ll definitely be following in my footsteps.” But elder daughter Lexi, 18, is quite different. “She’s very shy so there’s no way she’d want to be on camera,” she says. “She is an A student and off to uni. She wants to do English. Anything to do with writing. She’s brilliant.”

Amanda, who says her dream job is “a dating show”, took the BGT role in 2007. She recalls: “I got the call from my agent saying ‘Simon Cowell wants to know…’ and I just went, ‘Yes’. I got on the train two days later and I didn’t know anything about the show because Cheryl apparently was supposed to be doing it and lost her nerve or whatever. So thanks, Cheryl!”

Amanda would love to see more women hosting Saturday night TV and says she’s thrilled when others get big breaks, like Hannah Waddingham. “I’m a huge fan,” she says. “To see the light shone on somebody that’s really, really learned her craft is brilliant.”

She was tickled to see Hannah rebuke a photographer who asked her to show some leg. Amanda, always cheeky, laughs: “I love her feistiness, and she’s got great legs. She should probably flash them off a bit.”

*Read Bruno Tonioli’s interview in We Love TV. Britain’s Got Talent is on ITV at 7.30pm tonight.