So many of us have known Sharon Osbourne as an America’s Got Talent judge, as the wife of famous rocker Ozzy Osbourne (who famously yells "Sharon" at the top of his lungs), and as a co-host on the ever popular daytime show The Talk. She’s a staple in pop culture as a TV icon, at least until her career and reputation took a hit in March 2021.
That month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world during their expository interview with Oprah Winfrey, and the couple really didn’t leave any stone unturned. The blowback was significant, and many people within the spheres of media weighed in on the interview and what the couple shared. Osbourne and her former Got Talent host Piers Morgan were just some of the high-profile people who shared their thoughts, but due to the nature of their comments and their alleged past behavior, they came under intense fire.
So what, from start to finish, has happened to Osbourne’s career and talk show host status? Will she ever come back to The Talk? What are the people around her saying about her future? Here’s everything you need to know about the drama surrounding Sharon Osbourne.
How all the drama surrounding Sharon Osbourne began
The rift between Meghan Markle and British media personality Piers Morgan is a long story — there’s a story about them meeting up, Markle "ghosting" him, and a whole lot of messy drama (via Vanity Fair) — so we’ll skip over the specifics and get right to it. After Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Morgan went on his morning talk show and blasted her left and right. As noted by Deadline, Morgan said that he didn’t buy anything that Markle said, which only led to an on-air rift between himself and co-host Alex Beresford. Morgan ended up storming off of the set while on camera, and he later resigned over the matter.
Here’s where Sharon Osbourne comes in. Osbourne tweeted about the incident, writing that she supported Morgan and his on-air take. "@piersmorgan I am with you," Osbourne wrote on Twitter. "I stand by you. People forget that you’re paid for your opinion and that you’re just speaking your truth." Twitter users popped off in the comments, writing that Osbourne’s sentiment was "dangerous" and dismissive. Just wait — things get worse.
Despite coming under fire for her tweet, Sharon Osbourne doubled down on her stance
After tweeting out her support for Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne didn’t hesitate to stand her ground — she got extremely defensive during an exchange with Sheryl Underwood, a fellow co-host of The Talk, and things just got bad. "Did I agree with what he said? No, because it’s his opinion," Osbourne said, as noted by Deadline. "But why is it that because I supported a long-time friend and work colleague of mine for years that everybody goes, if you support him, then you must be racist because he’s racist?"
Underwood started to question Osbourne and her defense of Morgan and his behavior and comments, and things went from bad to worse. The situation escalated when Osbourne looked at Underwood and said, "Don’t try and cry because if anyone should be crying, it should be me." Osbourne later reflected on this very moment in a sit-down with Entertainment Tonight. "I should never have dismissed her feelings on national TV, ever," Osbourne said. "But I said it. I have to own it. I can’t say, you know, ‘Oh, I didn’t know why I said it.’ I know why I said it."
A former host of The Talk came forward with their own accusations against Sharon Osbourne
After Sharon Osbourne’s heated exchange with Sheryl Underwood, more accusations started to come out of the woodwork. As noted by Page Six, former co-host of The Talk Holly Robinson Peete came forward and said that Osbourne had called her "too ghetto" to be one of the show’s co-hosts. She doubled down, saying that the comment may have been the reason she lost her co-host gig.
"I’m old enough to remember when Sharon complained that I was too ‘ghetto’ for #theTalk… then I was gone," she tweeted. "I bring this up now bc I was mortified watching the disrespectful condescending tone she took w/her co-host who remained calm & respectful because… she HAD to." Robinson Peete continued, writing on Instagram that she has always been "a highroad girl," but felt obligated to share her story in the wake of Osbourne’s on-air behavior.
As a result of the mounting accusations, Osbourne issued an apology. "To anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said, I am truly sorry," she wrote on Twitter, but things didn’t end there.
The Talk was immediately halted after Sharon Osbourne’s comments
A lot of us saw this one coming. After the exchange between Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood, CBS decided to temporarily halt The Talk. As noted by Deadline, the show was put on a month-long hiatus, starting on March 12 and ending on April 12, 2021. The network released a statement at the same time, saying that Osbourne’s behavior did not "align with our values for a respectful workplace."
"The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home," the statement read, noting, "During this week’s hiatus, we are coordinating workshops, listening sessions and training about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness for the hosts, producers and crew."
The statement also included that the network didn’t find any evidence that the executives of The Talk "orchestrated" the exchange. Osbourne alleged, as noted by Entertainment Tonight, that the producers of the show blindsided her and approved questions from the other hosts about Piers Morgan without her knowledge. "They’re setting me up," Osbourne said about the exchange in an interview with ET. "My anger was like, ‘I cannot believe this, I’m your sacrificial lamb.’"
An internal investigation into Sharon Osbourne’s behavior was launched
If you didn’t think things would get even more drastic and complicated in the wake of Sharon Osbourne’s comments and on-air behavior, you thought wrong. In the aftermath of the heated exchange between Sheryl Underwood and Osbourne, other hosts and employees of The Talk voiced their worries about the show’s production and environment, as well as Osbourne’s behavior.
As noted by Page Six, fellow co-host Elaine Welteroth went to the show’s human resources department and expressed her concerns about Osbourne, given the severity of the racist exchange between her and Underwood. Welteroth was accompanied by her hairstylist, and they voiced their concerns about the "racially insensitive and hostile environment" at The Talk.
An inside source told Page Six that the complaint launched an internal investigation, which added more fuel to the fire that was already taking over The Talk. "There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on behind the scenes," the inside source told Page Six. "The Talk is in full self-destruct mode; everyone is throwing whoever they can under the bus."
In the wake of the drama, Sharon Osbourne turned to some pretty high-powered lawyers
Sharon Osbourne is no stranger to the entertainment industry, so it didn’t come as a huge surprise when she turned to some pretty high-powered attorneys in the wake of her on-air blow-up at Sheryl Underwood. As noted by Page Six, Osbourne recruited a Los Angeles-based lawyer by the name of Jeremiah Reynolds — of the Eisner law firm — to represent her throughout negotiations with CBS. Reynolds is no joke, described as a "powerhouse" by Page Six.
At this point in the drama, Osbourne was facing allegations of racial insensitivity and of creating a hostile work environment, so it certainly seemed like an uphill battle. She was also the subject of an internal investigation at The Talk, so things were only getting worse.
"Sharon wasted no time in getting her lawyers immediately on the case," an inside source told Page Six. "Jeremiah Reynolds has a very strong reputation as a trial and arbitration lawyer and is handling all her negotiations with CBS." You know that when lawyers get involved, things are just going to get messy.
In the fallout, Sharon Osbourne made the decision to leave The Talk
Given the intense aftermath following Sharon Osbourne’s on-air comments and insensitivity towards co-host Sheryl Underwood, it really came as no shock when it was announced that Osbourne would not be returning to The Talk. As noted by Deadline, the statement, including the message that Osbourne would not be coming back to the show, distinctly noted that it was Osbourne’s decision to leave — of course, the pressure was so intense that another decision really didn’t seem possible.
But as bad as things stood between Osbourne and Underwood, the dynamic between Osbourne and her other co-hosts started to dwindle. Accusations of racism and sexism on Osbourne’s part, directed at Julie Chen and Sarah Gilbert (an Asian-American and an openly gay women, respectively) also came to light, taking a situation from bad to worse. Throughout it all, Osbourne stayed on the defense. "Sharon is disappointed but unfazed and hardly surprised by the lies, the recasting of history, and the bitterness coming out at this moment," her publicist said in a statement. This is just a lot of yikes on a lot of levels.
A former host of The View weighed in on the drama circulating Sharon Osbourne
It didn’t take long for celebrities to weigh in on the Sharon Osbourne drama. As noted by Yahoo! News, former co-host of The View Sherri Shepherd voiced her concerns over Osbourne’s behavior, saying in an interview with Yahoo! that Osbourne’s behavior "crossed a line" that was next to impossible to come back from. She continued, saying that, while most of the press attention had focused on Osbourne in the wake of her comments, the experience that Underwood went through as a result of Osbourne’s behavior was largely going unnoticed.
"This has been hard because I think nobody’s been talking about Sheryl Underwood and what she’s had to go through," Shepherd said. She also pointed to the fact that unlike Osbourne — who got so heated that she started cursing — Underwood had to stay calm and collected, a reality that many Black women continue to face both within the media industry and beyond. "To have to measure what she’s saying and not be able to have the same kind of passion that her co-host had, I think that’s very unfair," Shepherd concluded.
Piers Morgan called out CBS’s decision regarding Sharon Osbourne
It was only a matter of time before Piers Morgan weighed in on the situation, and he really didn’t leave anything unsaid. Morgan wrote a column for the Daily Mail and absolutely railed CBS over the decision to remove Sharon Osbourne from The Talk. He started off the column with a headline that was eye-grabbing, to say the least.
"I’m not a racist and neither is Sharon Osbourne but that didn’t stop the woke mob lynching her just for defending me," he wrote. (If you want a history of modern day lynchings and why Morgan’s use of the word is so problematic, here is a link to the NAACP’s resource page.)
Morgan went on to say that Osbourne’s cancellation was the result of a crazed mob out "for blood." "The fact we’ve both lost our jobs is not just an appalling attack on free speech, but it’s also a terrible indictment of woke cancel culture bulls*** and the stinking hypocrisy that lies at the heart of it," Morgan wrote, but it should be noted that both Morgan and Osbourne resigned, technically, on their own accord.
Did Sharon Osbourne get paid to leave The Talk?
There’s been some conflicting reports, so we’re just going to tell you everything we know. When Sharon Osbourne left The Talk, an inside source told Page Six that she would be receiving a hefty payout — that despite the conditions of her departure, she’d still walk away with an eight-figure payday. "Sharon is walking away with a $5 to $10 million minimum payout and was able to spin that it was her decision [to leave the show]," the source told Page Six.
To add even more drama to the table, another source said that, as part of her agreement to leave the show, Osbourne would be allowed to speak on the matter at any given time. "Sharon will talk when she is ready," the source revealed. "She still wants to give her side of the story. She has been on that show for 11 years and knows all the secrets."
But some of the information given to Page Six by the inside sources has been countered. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, a spokesperson for CBS said that the report about Osbourne’s payout was "false, inaccurate or untrue. Take your pick."
In one of her first public appearances since leaving The Talk, Sharon Osbourne threw up a peace sign
If it is in fact true that Sharon Osbourne is allowed to speak about her departure from The Talk at any time, it certainly doesn’t seem like she’s going to break her silence soon. As noted by Page Six, Osbourne was spotted for the first time since the drama unfolded in Los Angeles, and she seemed entirely unbothered. Photographers followed Osbourne as she made her way into the Sunset Marquis hotel, located in Hollywood, for lunch.
When asked by one of the many following her how she was doing, Osbourne simply gave a thumbs up and carried on with her plans. When she finally stopped to give the cameras what they wanted to capture, Osbourne simply held up a peace sign. She was finally asked if "everything was good," to which she appeared to smile under her face mask. So it’s hard to say, from her appearance alone, just how the former talk show host was holding up in that moment.
Behind closed doors, Sharon Osbourne is reportedly disappointed
It’s safe to say that Sharon Osbourne’s departure from The Talk was less than clean, so it comes as no surprise that she was reeling from CBS’s decision. As noted by Us Weekly, Osbourne was reportedly extremely upset over the on-goings with the network, and an inside source spilled everything that we want to know.
"Sharon is bitterly disappointed at how it all played out," the source said. "Her whole career has been based on not holding back, speaking her mind and championing free speech — so to be classified or perceived as a bigot or a racist is a sickening scenario and an utter nightmare for her."
The source continued, saying that Osbourne has maintained that the allegations against her are "all a pack of lies," and that she should be the last person to be painted as a racist. They said that her family rallied around her in the aftermath, but all maintain that she’s being punished for something she didn’t do. "They think it’s a big stitch-up and she’s been hung out to dry for something she hasn’t done or believed in," the source said.
Ozzy Osbourne came out in support of his wife after leaving The Talk
It was only a matter of time before famed rockstar Ozzy Osbourne broke his silence over Sharon Osbourne’s departure from The Talk, and in a very Ozzy fashion, he did not hold back. Ozzy took to Instagram and shared a photo of himself with Sharon with a caption that requires some censoring. "I can’t f***ing hear you!" Ozzy wrote, accompanying a photo of him cupping his ear like he’s straining to hear someone speak (in this case, Sharon’s critics). He then followed up with a simple "#TeamSharon," because we had to be reminded as to what side of the situation he was on.
Sharon’s apology was a bit more nuanced than Ozzy’s post. She wrote on Twitter that she "panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive, and allowed my fear and horror of being accused of being racist take over." The comments really are a mix of support, criticism, and flat-out cancellation, so it’s hard to say exactly how this will pan out for Sharon. One thing’s for sure, she won’t be returning to the daytime talk show that she’s dominated for the past 11 years.