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Simon Cowell tried to avoid questions about his impending fatherhood at an ill-timed X Factor press panel on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, I have to keep this private for the moment. It’s just one of those things, but thank you anyway,” said Simon Cowell, 53, at the Fox panel at the Television Critics Association meeting in Beverly Hills.

When a cheeky reporter asked: “The new baby. Were you as surprised by the news as we were?”

Simon Cowell replied: “I haven’t read the newspapers. Am I missing something?”

Dressed in his signature white T-shirt and a stoic expression, the music mogul handled the pressure well as he attempted to divert the attention to the upcoming season of the singing competition.

Simon Cowell went on to tell the press at the Fox portion of the TCA summer tour that he will open up about married lover Lauren Silverman’s pregnancy when the time is right.

“There are a lot of things I will eventually clear up when the time is right,” he explained.

Simon Cowell tried to avoid questions about his impending fatherhood at an ill-timed X Factor press panel

Simon Cowell tried to avoid questions about his impending fatherhood at an ill-timed X Factor press panel

“I really have to be sensitive here because there are a lot of people’s feelings involved.”

When asked if he could reveal how he’s feeling, Simon Cowell candidly replied: “I would love to, but I have to respect a lot of other people’s feelings.”

Unable to get an enlightening response from Simon Cowell, one determined reporter asked his X Factor colleagues Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio and Demi Lovato how they thought he would be as a father.

“No comment,” said Demi Lovato, who is no stranger to public controversy herself, which quickly silenced the questioning.

Later speaking to magazine PEOPLE, Kelly Rowland, who was seen attempting to lighten the mood by playfully plucking out grey hairs from Simon Cowell’s head, said: “I think that Simon has always been a very classy guy, he’s always been a very respected guy, and he’s going to be a great father.”

Paulina Rubio, who just joined the show as a judge said: “He didn’t tell me anything yet, but I will support him if it is true.”

Demi Lovato added: “There’s no reason for me to talk about his person life, and I’m here about talk about the show.”

But she was very complimentary about show boss Simon Cowell. She said: “Simon is very tough but off camera he’s like a teddy bear. He has a big heart.”

“I’ve learned so much from him. I think he puts up a front with the rest of the world to be this bad guy but you get to know him he’s a really, really sweet person.”

Simon Cowell, who is worth an estimated $350 million, insisted he will do everything he can to support and provide for his child after the news broke on Wednesday that 36-year-old Lauren Silverman is expecting.

It has now emerged that Lauren Silverman’s husband, Andrew, has cited Simon Cowell in divorce papers. The move, clearly designed to embarrass him, could potentially force him to reveal details of the alleged affair in court.

Lauren Silverman is accused in the papers of adultery with Simon Cowell and of being “cruel and inhuman” towards her husband.

In a statement Andrew Silverman said: “My top priority is protecting my seven year old son while working to resolve all outstanding issues with my wife.  Hopefully people can respect the interest of our child during this process.”