Dermot O’Leary: Everything you need to know about the X Factor presenter

Dermot O'Leary

by Owen Tonks and Louella Berryman |
Updated on

From The X Factor to his Big Brother past, here's everything you need to know about Dermot O'Leary

The new series of X Factor, which this year features in vocally-talented celebs, will be gracing our screens this October.

Dermot will be reinstated as chief presenter and master of dramatic pauses, but have you ever wondered how tall his is? How what he was like before he was famous?

Find out...

How old is he?

Born on 23 May 1973, Dermot is the ripe old age of 46.

What was he like before he was famous?

Dermot O’Leary is a true Essex lad. He was born in the Essex town of Colchester to Irish parents Sean and Maria, who had moved to the UK.

The television presenter has previously said he’s “extremely proud” of his Irish background and he even holds a dual British and Irish citizenship.

He went to school near his home but he wasn’t the hardest working of students – he failed all but two of his GCSEs.

However, he later re-sat his exams and went on to do his A Levels at Colchester Sixth Form College before going on to do a degree in Media Studies with Politics at Middlesex University.

What is his height?

There has been much controversy over the stature of this X factor judge. He stands at a perfectly respectable 5ft9 in socks, which is actually the average height for a man in the UK.

What is his net worth?

According to reports, the X Factor presenter's net worth is around £12 million. He reportedly signed a four-year contract for The X Factor for £8 million just one year after Simon Cowell axed him from the show.

All we know is that he's one minted Essex boy.

What was his job before The X Factor?

The star started out as a DJ for Essex Radio (we said he was a true Essex boy) before working as a runner on television show Light Lunch with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

He later became a TV presenter on T4 for Channel 4 before fronting Big Brother’s Little Brother from 2001.

When did he present The X Factor?

After leaving Big Brother’s Little Brother, Dermot replaced Kate Thornton as the host of The X Factor in 2007 but he announced he was leaving the television talent show in March 2015 after eight years to work on other projects.

At the time, he wrote on Twitter: “Good afternoon. After eight wonderful years on The X Factor it’s time for me to move on. I’d like to thank ITV, Simon, The X Factor family and particularly the viewers, all of whom have been a big part of my life for so long. I’d like to wish the team all the best for the future, especially whoever takes over from me.”

CHECK OUT: Celebrity X Factor 2019 rumoured lineup


HEAT Celebrity X Factor rumoured line up STACKED

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It's X Factor - Sinitta HAS to be involved somehow! But she wouldn't be taking part as a contestant... Sinitta has spoken out about the possibility of being on the judging panel, telling Closer magazine, "There have been discussions, but I haven't signed a contract yet. I'd love to do it, though – Simon's switching up the formula this year so I'd love to be involved."

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Gemma Collins

Reality queen GC is reportedly set to appear on the show, having been on pretty much every single other reality show there is! A source told the Daily Star, "We want big and exciting stars and The GC is popular and we reckon she makes entertaining viewing. Simon has handled many divas over the years with the likes of Sharon Osbourne and Mel B, so we reckon he will be able to deal with this Essex one." Plus there's the fact that Gemma wowed the audience of All Together Now recently when she sang 'Big Spender'!

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David Walliams

Simon's pal and fellow Britain's Got Talent David Walliams has thrown his own hat into the ring, telling Radio Times that he's already "mentioned it" to Simon. "I cannot sing a note, so I'd fit in very well," he joked. "It would be fun. I don't know if it's going to happen but I would love to be on it. I've always loved The X Factor. I got to be on it last year with Robbie Williams at Judges' Houses so I would love to be on that stage, doing a duet with Wagner."

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Jenny 'The Vixen' Ryan

The Chase's Jenny Ryan is incredibly popular with viewers of the show, and actually has a wonderful singing voice - something she showed off for Let's Sing and Dance for Comic Relief last year with her fellow quizmasters. A source has said she could be the "dark horse" of this competition.

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John Barrowman

Of course, John Barrowman needs no introduction, and he never misses an opportunity to flaunt his incredible vocals. The West End star told Metro that he'd "love to do it", adding, "It's one of those things where if I'm asked I'd do it, like anything, I'd do it at the drop of a hat as long as I know I'm gonna have fun doing it."

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Olivia Olson

You'd be forgiven for not recognising her name - but surely you remember the little girl with the incredible voice singing 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' in Love Actually? An insider revealed that show bosses wanted to keep the line-up "varied" and that Olivia would be a "great shout".

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Brendan Cole

Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Brendan Cole is reportedly being eyed up by ITV bosses after his dramatic exit from the BBC show. An insider said, "Brendan is a big character and the bosses are sure that he will be a big draw for their audience. His Strictly fans aside, they are expecting people to tune in to see how his singing compares to his dancing." Brendan has showed off his vocal abilities before, singing with Beverley Knight on Just The Two Of Us in 2007.

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Megan McKenna

TOWIE star Megan McKenna is already a singer in her own right, having released single 'High Heeled Shoes' last year. However, it looks as though Megan could be attempting to win over Simon once again, having previously auditioned on Britain's Got Talent in 2009 as part of girl band Harmony and on The X Factor in 2014 and 2015 as a solo artist. When asked on Loose Women, Megan was decidedly evasive, and said, "I'd seen the rumours as well. I mean, I love that show. But I don't know anything about that. But I do love that show, it's amazing."

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Love Island group

Love Island 2018 alumni Zara McDermott, Wes Nelson, Samira Mighty and Eyal Booker are apparently joining forces to be a group on the show. Of course, Samira is a West End star and Eyal was previously in a pop band, and apparently the four of them have been "discussing songs" and are all "confident that they can hold a tune."

What other TV shows does he present?

Each year since 2010 he has presented the National Television Awards which aired live from London’s O2 Arena on ITV.

Dermot has also been the host of Soccer Aid, a celebrity football match in aid of the charity Unicef, which aired on ITV in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Other television appearances include Saturday night show, The Marriage Ref in 2011, 2013’s BRITs Icon: Elton John, a week on This Morning alongside Holly Willoughby in place of Phillip Schofield for a week in 2014, he’s been a presenter of Comic Relief and Sport Relief, Live From Space, The National Lottery’s 1 vs. 100, Rock Profile, Dermot Meets..., The Getaway Car, Children In Need, The One Show and he had a radio show on XFM before moving to BBC Radio 2 in 2004.

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When did he return to present The X Factor?

In February 2016 speculation mounted Dermot was set for a return to The X Factor following Caroline Flack and Olly Murs’ announcement they would be leaving the show after hosting it for just one year.

A source told The Sun: “Dermot will come back to The X Factor. Talks are under way on his deal but everything is positive. Everyone, including Dermot and Simon [Cowell], has the will to make it work.”

The insider added: “Producers have realised you can’t take any risks with the presenter of the shows. You need someone really good who can cope with live TV.”

Dermot did indeed return to present series 14 and 15 of the show, and he's scheduled to present the new series of Celebrity X Factor starting in October.


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What was his cookery show?

Just days after rumours circulated about Dermot’s X Factor return, it was reported the star had landed a primetime weekend cookery show for ITV.

He hosted only one episode of Live at The Trattoria with chef Gino D’Acampo before it was cancelled before ITV bosses.

What was the Hollyoaks controversy?

In March 2007 Dermot signed a year-long contract to appear on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks but this was shortened due to apparent disputes on set.

Jim Rowe, a writer at the time, said of Dermot: “He couldn’t follow even the simplest commands. It goes to show how vastly different presenting is to acting.”

Who is his wife?

Dermot got engaged to his wife Dee Koppang in 2011 and they married at St Mary’s Church in Chiddingstone, Kent on 14 September 2012.

The couple have been together for ten years but don't have any kids yet. Dermot has said in the past that his wife is a very busy lady and they don't have time for toddling children right now.

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