He loves being a dad! Simon Cowell is all about fatherhood and has been ever since his son Eric arrived, and now he simply can’t imagine not having his little boy around.

While at the America’s Got Talent season 14 red carpet kickoff in Pasadena, California, on Monday, March 11, the TV personality, 59, talked about what it was like being a dad, and revealed that his 5-year-old son has no idea just how famous his father is. “He’s very funny. I was with him yesterday and he said, ‘Daddy, how come everybody smiles at you?’” the American Idol alum, who shares Eric with his girlfriend Lauren Silverman, recalled to Us Weekly.

“And I went, ‘No, it’s you! They all know your name,’” he continued. “I said, ‘From the minute you were born, for some reason, everybody knew your first name.’ He went, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Yeah! They knew your name.’ So I said, ‘It’s you!’” The talent show judge also acknowledged just how quickly kids grow up.

Simon Cowell Eric Cowell
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“[Time flies] like you wouldn’t believe,” Simon said. “I said to someone the other day, ‘It’s much easier than I thought.’ And then you can’t imagine ever not having him … It’s the most amazing feeling.” It seems like these days the TV judge isn’t known for being brutally straightforward like he once was when he was first introduced to American audiences back in 2002, and that may be because of little Eric.

“He’s madly in love with his son,” an insider once exclusively told Closer Weekly. They added, “And he’ll openly tell his friends his intense feeling he has for Eric. He’s turned into a big softie with him.” We’re glad to see that Simon has turned into a kinder version of himself, and it is all thanks to fatherhood. But we also know that once he decides to retire from his job duties, it seems like his son will be ready to take over.

Eric Cowell
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“He’s in training,” Simon once told Lizzie Cundy on the UK morning Show This Morning of his son taking over his music empire one day. “I’m getting him ready to do my job.” Well they are quite the father/son duo!