Simon Cowell recalls the time he was thrown in jail on This Morning

And his mum wasn't very happy!

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Just when we thought we knew everything there is to know about Simon Cowell, along comes a bombshell that’s left us totally dumbfounded.

The X Factor judge was interviewed by Alison Hammond on today’s This Morning, and we expected it to be a fairly safe chinwag – you know, perhaps he’d talk about his high-waisted trousers and his old buddy Louis Walsh.

But slap-bang in the middle of the conversation, the 58-year-old made a rather remarkable revelation.

He confessed that he’d once been thrown in prison for holding up a bus. And he was only 12 years old at the time!

Explained the pop tycoon: “It was a joke, I thought. I put a gun – I shouldn’t even be saying this – it was a pretend gun, and we said to the bus driver: ‘Take us to Watford!’ He literally did not stop from Radcliffe to Watford.

“I was there with [X Factor hopefuls] Rak-Su the other day, and I told them the story: ‘The last time I went to Watford, I was thrown in jail.'”

Cowell – who recently became a father to a little boy – told the Watford Observer in 2011 that he was questioned by police after being banged up, and had to explain to them that the weapon was, in fact, a pea gun.

But he admitted that his own mother was much harder on him than the cops were.

Read more: Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh slated for mocking Nicole Scherzinger

He told the paper: “My mum and dad came in, and my mum was actually worse than the police… she was furious with me.”

In another hilarious part of today’s interview, Alison reminded her guest that he’d appeared on This Morning, alongside Kate Thornton, to judge a talent contest FIVE YEARS before The X Factor first aired.

And she asked telly’s Mr Nasty if his brief stint on the programme had given him the inspiration to launch The X Factor.

She laughed: “There’s one more thing – many, many years ago, you appeared on This Morning. Did you get the idea for The X Factor from that moment?”

Squirming in his seat, Cowell replied: “If I say yes, do I owe you money?”

Read more: Piers Morgan claims Sharon Osbourne once tried to strangle him and had to be restrained

The judge also spoke about THAT horror fall, when he tripped over at his home while fetching some milk – and he revealed that he originally thought he was done for.

He told Hammond: “It’s kind of embarrassing. I went down to get some milk – which isn’t very rock and roll – because I was feeling a little bit lightheaded.

“I fell down the staircase, and when I woke up, I thought I was dead first of all. I swear to God.”

There’s never a dull moment with Simon around!