Hollywood Flashback: When Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne Were Newlyweds
The couple's tumultuous 34-year marriage battled ups and downs involving drug overdoses, behavioral disorders and a wild MTV reality show before leading to their recent split.
The news that Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne have separated perhaps signals an end to one of rock 'n' roll's most epic marriages. Though not quite in the longevity league with The Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts (together with Seraphina since 1964), considering Ozzy's drug intake, behavioral disorders and their three years doing an MTV reality show, it's kind of amazing the couple lasted nearly 34 years. They met in the early '70s, when Ozzy was Black Sabbath's frontman and Sharon's father, Don Arden (widely considered the most brutal thug in British music history), was the band's manager. She was the 18-year-old office receptionist. Ozzy, then 22, was smitten but married.
After his 1979 exit from Sabbath, Ozzy came to America, and Sharon was dispatched to keep an eye on one of her father's prime assets. This eventually led to Ozzy's divorce and their marriage in 1982. It's a relationship that's included drug overdoses (his); depression (hers); being on a tour bus (together) that was playfully buzzed by a light plane carrying fellow band members, resulting in three deaths; lap-band surgery (he lost 100 pounds); three children (Aimee, Kelly and Jack); and a 1989 incident in which Ozzy was arrested for attempted murder after he returned from a Moscow peace festival and tried to strangle Sharon (they blamed it on the drugs and moved on).
Despite the colorful experiences, Ozzy has said he expects his tombstone to read: "Here lies Ozzy Osbourne, the ex-Black Sabbath singer who bit the head off a bat" — a reference to an infamous stunt staged just before he and Sharon tied the knot. There are unconfirmed rumors that their split was caused by his infidelity, and when Sharon returned to work May 10 on CBS' The Talk, she noted that the couple (worth $220 million) had broken up and didn't know whether there was a chance for reconciliation. "I love Ozzy dearly," she said. "At this point, I can't answer that because I don't know what I want."
This story first appeared in the May 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.