Simon Cowell thought he just had to "deal" with his depression alone.

The 63-year-old music mogul admitted to suffering from mental health issues over the years but initially believed it was all just part of his character until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic came about and he ended up wishing he had sought help decades ago.

Speaking on 'The Mirror's 'Men in Mind' podcast, he said: "COVID was the real catalyst. I’ve suffered from depression over the years... but that was just something I just thought, ‘Well, that’s my character trait. I get down,’ and it’s something you deal with. I wish I had done this 10 or 20 years’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders."

The 'American Idol' judge - who has nine-year-old son Eric with fiancee Lauren Silverman - went on to add that in the very beginning of the pandemic, some of his friends ended up "really ill" with the virus and he ended up "petrified" that he was going to catch it himself as he worried about what would happen to his family.

He said: "In the very, very, very early stages, some friends of mine got really ill [with COVID] and I’m talking about really ill. So, I thought, ‘God, if I catch this, maybe the same thing’s going to happen to me, Eric and Lauren. I didn’t know what was true or not, I just didn’t have a clue other than I was petrified about catching it. Just petrified."

However, the 'X Factor' creator admitted that lockdown had given him "time to reflect" in a way he had never been able to before.

He said: "It gave me a time to reflect on things in a way I never would have done before. And as things started to calm down a bit, and it was almost like now I've got to go from there, back into the real world. How do I feel about that? And that's when this whole notion of — I started to hear a lot more people talking about mental health.

"And that's when I thought, you know what, I've kind of looked after my body, you know, through diet, exercise, whatever, pretty well over the years, but what have I done about my brain and my mind and all that kind of thing? And the answer is nothing. And now's the time to do it. So it was almost like my head going to the gym."