Are Unauthorized Celebrity Biographies Trustworthy? Simon Cowell May Say 'No!'

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There's probably one book not on Simon Cowell's Kindle or iPad. "Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life of Simon Cowell" is an unauthorized biography of the former "American Idol" judge who went on to create "The X-Factor" after leaving the highly successful reality competition show. In the book, some secrets of Cowell's personal life are allegedly revealed, such as his penchant for black toilet paper in his home and that he's had Botox injections to keep up his appearance.

Of course, without Simon's sign-off, it's unclear just how much of the book can be trusted as fact, as is the case with unauthorized biographies. The book's author, journalist Tom Bower, says that it's not at all a horrible conclusion that he draws about Cowell in his book. Rather, he thinks it's a mostly positive tale of a man who faced long-odds and consistent failures and wound-up being a major power-player in the music industry. While Bower did reportedly meet several times with Simon during the writing process, he says that " there are parts he didn't want told and it was up to me to find out about them." Cowell also made it a point to tell his Twitter followers that he was not affiliated with the book in any way.

So can unauthorized celebrity biographies ever be fully trusted if the stars they're about don't corroborate the details?

Yes, They Can Be Trusted - An argument for trusting these unauthorized missives can be made. For starters, working independently from the star means that authors aren't beholden to run everything by the celebrity's team of publicists, handlers and lawyers. This would naturally lend itself to being able to tell a much more complete story, from all angles, rather than the plot line the celebrity would want his or her fans to read and buy into. The whole idea behind a biography is an honest accounting of an interesting person's life, and can an author ever be completely honest if they're being told to remove and edit stories by the subject and their team? Also, since liable suits aren't uncommon in Hollywood, it's important for those that write these books to get the facts as straight as they can, to keep themselves out of any legal hot water.

No, They Can't Be Trusted - The reality is that without the consent of the subject of the book, it's hard to ever know for certain what is true and what isn't. All it takes is for the celebrity to come out and deny the contents of the book and it immediately becomes an issue of "your word against mine," and in this scenarios it's not easy to discern whose version of the truth is the most accurate. Therefore, everything and anything within an unauthorized biography must be taken with a grain of salt.

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