‘You get to an age when you just want to come home,’ says Sharon Osbourne as she prepares to live in Britain again after decades in the States.
‘I’ve really been homesick. I miss the British sense of humour. I watch everything Ricky Gervais does over and over again. I miss Marks & Spencer and I miss my home.’
There’s far more to it than that, of course. This is a story involving outrage, scandal and love, so together we’re going to explore the real reasons why this extraordinary, tough and outspoken woman – who is globally famous as a motormouth judge on The X Factor and also manages her rock-star husband Ozzy – is heading back to the land of her birth after all this time.
‘I’ve lost my patience with it all,’ says Sharon, 69, who believes American television producers don’t want to know her any more. ‘They wouldn’t touch me. It’s as if I have leprosy.’
Sharon Osbourne, 69, (pictured) has revealed that she is moving back to Britain after spending years in LA
She was sacked from the US chat show The Talk a year ago after losing her temper with her black co-host live on air, while defending her old friend Piers Morgan against accusations of racism.
He had just walked off the set of Good Morning Britain in this country after being challenged for remarks about Meghan Duchess of Sussex. Now Sharon and Piers are to work together on the brand new British television channel TalkTV.
And she’s the first high-profile signing for a nightly current affairs show called – audaciously, like the one she was sacked from – The Talk.
‘We have a panel of five people talking for an hour about whatever the news of the day is, but in a way that isn’t combative,’ she says. ‘It’s not nasty. We all have different opinions on everything, but everyone will get heard.’
And so will Sharon Osbourne herself be heard, as we talk in the living room of her Spanish colonial-style mansion in the quiet Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, even as the decorators prepare it for sale.
Yes, there will be fiery opinions on everyone from Will Smith to Prince Andrew, but she is also, unexpectedly, in the mood to reflect on her struggles with life, Ozzy’s affairs and why she’s spent at least half a million dollars over the years on plastic surgery.
Ozzy, Kelly, Jack and Sharon in their TV show The Osbournes. The whole family lives in California. Ozzy, 73, has not been back to Britain since he played Hyde Park eight years ago
‘Probably more,’ he says with a shrug. Was it worth it? ‘For me? Yeah.’
She’s been wearing a mirrored ballgown to pose for photographs by the pool, but now Sharon is in a pink sweatshirt and matching pants, bare feet tucked up under her on a vast sofa, pushing back a lick of her deep red hair. ‘We never really go out in the sun,’ she says, sensible given it’s a ferocious 36°C out there right now.
I’ve lost my patience with America. It’s as if I have leprosy there. They won’t touch me anymore…
But it also tallies nicely with Ozzy’s rock reputation as the Prince of Darkness, founder member of Black Sabbath and a huge star in his own right thanks to his wife’s astute management.
‘I’ve lived here longer than I lived in Britain,’ says Sharon, who made a previous family home here famous – along with herself and two of her kids, Jack and Kelly – in The Osbournes. This groundbreaking reality show was the biggest thing on MTV in the early Noughties, setting the template for all those fly-on-the-wall celebrity series that followed, including Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
The whole family lives in California, so why leave? ‘We feel that for Ozzy it’s very beneficial.
‘Where we live in England is in the countryside, we’ve got a lot of land.’ They are behind high gates and hedges here, protected by round-the-clock security, but acres surround their mansion in Jordans, Buckinghamshire.
‘Ozzy loves to be outside, he loves a bit of fishing. He can live a life there that he can’t here.’
Sharon pictured with Ozzy. She will be returning to Britain alone, without him. Ozzy won’t return until their son Jack has had a baby in July
What’s stopping him in LA? ‘You get followed around: even at the doctor’s there are paparazzi outside.
‘Then the photo appears with some snarky comment about how he looks. Just leave him alone!’
Ozzy, 73, has not been back to Britain since he played Hyde Park eight years ago. ‘He needs to wander and be free,’ she says. ‘I know he’ll get peace there.’
She speaks about him so tenderly that I’m surprised to hear Sharon will be coming to England alone at first. ‘He won’t come until after my son Jack has had a baby in July and then got married.
‘I reckon Ozzy will be in Britain before Christmas. I’ll be on my own until then.’ Is she all right with that?
She speaks about her husband’s affairs and how many people are surprised that she has stayed with him. Sharon has forgiven him and talks about his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease
‘No, it’s hard. Especially after being together every single minute of the day during Covid.’
Many people were surprised she stayed with him after it emerged that Ozzy had been having affairs a few years back. ‘Are you going to give up a life together because he goes with three old groupies and one of them sells a story?
‘No. I’m not going to do that. Yeah, he made a fool of me. Yeah, he made a fool of himself too.
‘But no, I love him too much,’ she says with determination. ‘Do I leave him and be unhappy or do I stay and give him a f****** hard time and then get over it?’
She laughs, having chosen the latter. Is he forgiven then? ‘Yeah,’ she says, but she seems to want to take part of the blame for the affair.
‘I wasn’t around as much as I always had been in the past. I was doing three different television shows and flying back and forth.
MY HORSE TRANQUILLISER INJECTIONS
Sharon had a new kind of drug therapy to help her recover from the trauma of her public fall from grace in America. ‘They give you ketamine intravenously,’ she says.
‘You’re monitored by a doctor and a nurse. It’s really good for people who don’t want to open up.’
Then you start talking? ‘Yeah. I went for eight months.
‘My friend Sara Gilbert, who created The Talk, said to me, ‘You’ve got to go and do this. You need help.’
Because I couldn’t stop crying.’
What was it that was bringing those tears? ‘Frustration,’ she says.
‘Every day there would be another death threat. Then they started on my family, they started on Ozzy, it made me so angry.’
So what exactly did the ketamine – a horse tranquilliser that’s often used as a recreational drug – loosen up?
‘You let everything go. I’d kept up a shield.
‘I wasn’t going to say to anybody that I was destroyed.’
That’s a strong word. Having acknowledged it during treatment, does she still feel that way? ‘No.’
‘He did two world tours back-to-back and I wasn’t there by his side like I had been. He’s no good on his own.
‘He needs somebody with him all the time. So we both played a part in it.’
What happens to Ozzy when he’s on his own? ‘He can’t stand it. He’s got to talk to someone. A lot of his friends are women. He loves women.
‘And he gets lonely. He needs to be spoiled. Taken care of.’ Is she not worried about another affair then, given they’re about to spend months apart?
‘He’s a totally different person now. He knows what he did. He still apologises to me,’ she says quietly.
‘And Ozzy’s been terribly sick. Having Parkinson’s then having a fall where he damaged his spine, those are two major things together.’
She seems to flick away a tear. ‘Parkinson’s is not curable. He’s had two operations on his spine. He has to have one more. That changes a person.
‘Thank God he still has his voice and he still loves writing and recording.’ She’ll be flying back and forth to see him.
‘He’s the only man I have loved other than my father, and that’s a different love. I’m in love with Ozzy. More so than ever.
‘I wouldn’t want a life without my husband. Forty years we’ve been married this year.’
What works between them? ‘His wicked sense of humour. He’s incredibly generous. He’s incredibly soft.
‘And he’s just a lovely bloke. He’s had so much to deal with in his life, and he’s come through it all.’
Ozzy has survived sexual abuse as a child, prison, mental and physical illness and addiction over the years yet he’s still standing as the Godfather of Heavy Metal. He was a support to Sharon after The Talk debacle last year, she says.
But Sharon Osbourne is as tough as they come. She grew up surrounded by rock’n’roll and violence as the daughter of the music promoter Don Arden, who was never afraid to make threats to get what he wanted.
When Black Sabbath fired Ozzy in 1979, Sharon became his girlfriend and manager. She turned him into a global star before taking control of other bands such as Motorhead and The Smashing Pumpkins.
‘There weren’t a lot of women in the industry. I had to work really hard to get some respect.
‘You become tough. You fight. You’re either going to win or you’re going to be a pushover.
‘It’s the only thing I know,’ she says. ‘I don’t go in looking for a fight. But if somebody starts or tries to be clever, I’ll f*** you.’
Sharon, pictured here with her family, speaks about how she had a facelift that went wrong. She reveals that a facelift she had seven months ago left her looking like a ‘cyclops’
She may have recovered from what happened last year, personally, but I wonder if she feels cancelled in America now?
‘Yeah. My name has a stigma now and people are scared stiff here, petrified. They play the woke game, they do the woke shuffle. I know that when they go home they hate the pressure they’re under.’
She means that people pretend to be outraged when they’re not really, for fear of being caught out.
‘Look at the Oscars the other night. Will Smith bashes somebody, swears with rage.
‘Everybody was outraged by what he did, yet as soon as he went to get the Oscar they were applauding.’ She shakes her head and talks as if addressing the audience. ‘Oh, shut up! You’re all b******t.’
Everybody knew he was Randy Andy. He was divorced and obviously liked girls, but just tell the truth
As a woman who’s talked about having experienced violence, does she think he was right to do what he did? ‘No. His rage frightened me.
‘I felt bad for him as a human being because he’s obviously stuffing something down inside, but what he did was disgraceful.’ Then she gives her own take.
‘I felt sad because it’s like, ‘No, don’t do that. It’s going out to the world.’ And I thought that was just not the right thing to do.
‘If he wanted to do it, punch him after the show.’ Sorry? ‘Punch his lights out, if that’s what he wanted to do.’
She’s being deliberately provocative, of course, and doesn’t stop as we discuss another issue of the day, as they will do on The Talk. Sharon is the one who brings up Prince Andrew, his association with disgraced Jeffrey Epstein and the civil claim brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, which was settled out of court despite his protestations of innocence.
‘If I’d been Prince Andrew, I would have owned it. I would’ve totally told the truth.
‘I’m sure he didn’t ask how old she was, but she looked young. He was obviously attracted to that fact, that she was young.
The plan is that Sharon and Ozzy will be living together in Buckinghamshire by the New Year, enjoying the countryside and her new career on TalkTV
‘But to make all these terrible excuses that are so lame? You go, ‘Look, mate, you’re b*******ting.’
‘You could just see it all over him. And he has a certain arrogance when he speaks, where you’re not really on his side because he’s so arrogant. Just tell the truth.’
She’s in full flow now. ‘Everybody knew he was Randy Andy. He was divorced at the time. And so what if he wanted a party?
‘It’s his business. We’ve all seen the shots of him, at his pervert mate’s house in New York, going to the door and saying goodbye to some young lady.
‘Yeah, he was a party-er and obviously liked girls. But own it.’ She’s enjoying this. ‘Conversations here are totally different. It’s all kiss-ass fake.’
Since she’s being so open, I feel I can ask about her cosmetic surgery. What I really want to know is whether she’s had so much done because of the pressure on women to look a certain way in Hollywood, or for herself.
‘For me,’ she says quickly. ‘Just look at pictures of me from 25 years ago. I was totally out of condition, 230lb in weight and a not very good-looking woman.
‘Somebody you’d pass in the street. I was at a gig and there were these girls at the side of the stage and one of them said to me, ‘Oh, are you Ozzy’s mother?’
Her eyes flash. ‘I do it for me. Not anyone else.’
Then she shakes off the mood with a laugh. ‘I’ll tell you something though: after this last facelift seven months ago I looked like Cyclops.
‘There was one eye up here, one eye down there,’ she says, pointing to her forehead and her chin. ‘When I came home, Ozzy said, ‘Hell’s bells! I don’t care how much money it costs, I’ll get you looking right.
‘We’ll search for the right doctor.’ It took a good five months to get sorted.’
Did she need to have it done again? ‘No, it was just that when you have a facelift at my age, it takes a long time to settle, but I’m happy with it now.’
She’s a force of nature, there’s no doubt about that. The story of Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne is so extraordinary, it’s no surprise to hear she’s producing a biopic with Sony.
Will there be a happy ending in real life though? ‘I hope so. I think so.’
The plan is they will be living together in Buckinghamshire by the New Year, enjoying the countryside and her new career on TalkTV while letting their kids get on with life in the sun.
‘I’m really excited about it. You know when you’ve worked hard, you’ve raised your family, and then you go, ‘This is our time.’
‘That’s it. For the first time in our lives, we’re doing something just for us.’
- The Talk starts on Monday, 9pm, on TalkTV (Freeview channel 237).