IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Simon Cowell turns 55! Check out his change from TV grump to mellow fellow

It's been 12 years since Simon Cowell first brought his gruff and grumpy reality TV persona to the U.S. with "American Idol," but these days it seems the British talent show judge has swapped some of his trademark snark for sweet sincerity.Cowell turns 55 on Tuesday, and while the years are bound to mellow any fellow, that might not be the only factor behind this switcheroo. After all, 2014 has br
Image: Simon Cowell
FILE - This Aug. 1, 2013 file photo shows Simon Cowell, a judge on the \"The X Factor,\" smiles from the stage during a panel discussion on the show at the FOX 2013 Summer TCA press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. The British edition of \"The X Factor\" is coming to U.S. television. Music entertainment cable channel AXS TV said Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, it will begin airing the singing contest's 11th season on Labor Day weekend. \"X Factor\" creator Simon Cowell is on the judging panel, which includes ex-Spice Girl Mel B and pop singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, formerly known as Cheryl Cole. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)Chris Pizzello / AP file

It's been 12 years since Simon Cowell first brought his gruff and grumpy reality TV persona to the U.S. with "American Idol," but these days it seems the British talent show judge has swapped some of his trademark snark for sweet sincerity.

Simon Cowell.Chris Pizzello / Today

Cowell turns 55 on Tuesday, and while the years are bound to mellow any fellow, that might not be the only factor behind this switcheroo. After all, 2014 has brought about more than a landmark birthday; it's also the year that's seen the tough talker turn into a father.

Here are just a few examples of the kinder Cowell:

Proud papa
Sure, over the years on "Idol" and "X Factor," his barbs sent plenty of wannabe singers crying to their folks back home, but when Cowell's son, Eric, was born in February, the new dad showed off his tender side.

I+never+knew+how+much+love+and+pride+I+would+feel.+pic.twitter.com/bjwhJvrFBd

—+Simon+Cowell+(@SimonCowell)+February+16,+2014++

Animal lover
He once slammed "Idol" season four contender Constantine Maroulis for acting more like "a poodle in a leather jacket" than a tough guard dog. But as anyone who follows Cowell on Twitter knows, he just can't get enough of his own sweet little dogs.

Squiddly+and+diddly+on+holiday+pic.twitter.com/SVbbXkR5hg

—+Simon+Cowell+(@SimonCowell)+June+22,+2014++

Giggling guy
Lots of celebs showed off their charitable side by taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but the man dubbed "Mr. Nasty" by his fans in the U.K. not only took the plunge, he giggled the whole way through it.

Bye-bye Mr. Nasty
And speaking of that Nasty moniker, even before little Eric came along, Cowell decided he was ready to drop the nickname and show a softer side to talent show contestants. 

In 2012, he said, "Mr. Nasty was just a label when we first started doing these shows. You have to remember when people are auditioning they are taking it very seriously and for them it is a life-changing moment."

The more the merrier
But if it is Eric who's behind most of the Cowell's nice-guy makeover, than expect an even more laid back version of the talent show titan in the future. After the arrival of his son, Cowell told "Extra" he wants more little ones around.

"Well, I got (my dogs) Squiddly and Diddly, and I couldn't imagine Squiddly or just Diddly," he explained. "I had a brother when I was younger, so I kind of think it's cool to have two or three ... two."

Follow Ree Hines on Google+.