American Idol host Simon Cowell was horrified when a Los Angeles couple mistook him for a homeless person outside the city's exclusive Ivy restaurant.

The British music mogul, dubbed Mr Nasty, donned a hooded trenchcoat to shield himself from the rain as he enjoyed a cigarette outside the non-smoking eatery.

A pair walking past then mistook Cowell for a vagrant and threw him $2 (GBP1.05), to which the shocked 45-year-old mumbled a thank you.

Cowell says, "Maybe it's time I bought a new coat."

24/01/2005 13:56