Simon Cowell confirms he will be a father

media captionSimon Cowell, X Factor judge: "I'm proud to be a dad"

After weeks of speculation, X Factor mogul Simon Cowell has confirmed he is to become a father for the first time.

"I'm proud to be a dad," the 53-year-old told the BBC.

"It's something I hadn't thought of before, but now I know I feel good about it."

Cowell is expecting the child with New York socialite Lauren Silverman, 36. Rumours about their relationship have filled tabloid newspapers over the past couple of weeks.

Most suggested that Silverman was pregnant, but neither party had confirmed the reports.

But speaking to the BBC's Lizo Mzimba, Cowell said: "Things are changing in my life right now, for the better.

"She [Lauren]'s a very special girl."

The X Factor judge made his comments on the red carpet ahead of the London premiere of One Direction's documentary This Is Us.

image captionOne Direction were on the red carpet for the world premiere of their film, One Direction: This Is Us, at the Empire cinema in London's Leicester Square
image captionThe band's Niall Horan took pictures with some of the thousands of excited fans who turned out to see their idols
image captionThe film was co-produced with the band by X Factor supremo Simon Cowell - who finally confirmed he is to be a father
image captionThe documentary, directed by Morgan Spurlock, takes a behind-the-scenes look at One Direction's mammoth This Is Us world tour
image captionThe boy band's loyal army of fans - known as Directioners - were eager to capture the moment; some had camped out overnight

Directed by Supersize Me film-maker Morgan Spurlock, the movie charts the meteoric rise of the boy band - who have become the biggest pop group on the planet since appearing on the UK X Factor in 2010.

Thousands of fans, many of whom had camped out overnight, turned up to watch the band launch the film.

The screams were some of the loudest ever heard at a Leicester Square premiere, our correspondent said.

"This is unreal," said singer Harry Styles, 19.

His bandmate Niall Horan, also 19, added: "This is just unbelievable. The last few years have been amazing. This is what we've been dreaming of.

"We made this for the fans. We just want to say a massive thank you to them."

'Did I miss anything?'

Cowell, who signed the band to his record label and co-produced the film, said: "It has been my dream come true to produce a film. But without their fans, this couldn't have happened.

"I feel like a proud father."

Last week, Cowell learned he would avoid a court appearance over Lauren Silverman's divorce from her husband, real estate developer Andrew.

He had been named in as a co-respondent in legal papers, meaning there was a possibility he would have had to give evidence about his relationship with Ms Silverman, the possible role it played in her marriage break-up and the state of his finances.

The matter was eventually settled out of court.

A statement from Ms Silverman's lawyers said: "The matter has been resolved and the parties have moved on."

At an X Factor press conference in Los Angeles earlier this month, Cowell refused to comment on his alleged impending fatherhood.

"I haven't read the newspapers," he told reporters. "Did I miss anything?"

He added: "Unfortunately I have to keep this, for the moment, private. It's just one of those things. Thank you very much anyway."

"There [are] a lot of things I will eventually clear up when the time is right, but I really have to be sensitive because there's a lot of people's feelings involved here."

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