Simon Cowell Saves People from Sinking Ship -- Literally!

Nope, it's not a metaphor! The X Factor judge helped rescue nine passengers when their boat was going down

Simon Cowell may be known for his nasty persona behind the X Factor judges' table -- but it turns out he also has a nice side. The British producer saved the lives of nine people during a vacation off the south of France.

Cowell, 52, was taking part in a scenic boat ride with his ex-girlfriend Sinatta when he noticed another craft sinking nearby. Sinatta, whom Cowell was vacationing with, tweeted the details of the rescue mission.

"OMG!! Just had a May Day message," she tweeted. "35ft boat sinking.. SC has sent us to help and rescue 9 people on board! Slipstream look alike boat."

An hour later, she confirmed everyone was safe and sound. "Everyone ok, noone hurt.captain won't let boat sink, petrol in sea etc would cause major problems and fines. No tide, so hole plugged," she tweeted.

According to the Daily Mail, the former American Idol judge "told his captain and crew to redirect his impressive boat to assist the struggling vessel called Slipstream. When they came nearer to the boat he sent out a smaller boat to rescue the passengers on board and bring them back to his vessel."

A friend of Cowell's confirmed to E! News that "a boat nearby to where Simon was in the Mediterranean put out a mayday call late yesterday afternoon, so Simon and the other boats in the area sent their tenders (smaller boats) over to help them. It was all ok."

Turns out Cowell is only gruff on the outside! But he isn't the first real-life celebrity superhero. Last August, Ryan Gosling broke up a N.Y.C. street fight while he was coming home from the gym. Maybe Cowell will end up being as humbled by the experience as "that guy from The Notebook" was.

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