The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Sharon Osbourne

There are many spouses of rock stars who are only known because of their famous partner. The same cannot be said of Sharon Osbourne. She may be the wife of heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath, but over time she has become just about as famous as him due to her frequent appearances on all kinds of TV shows, from "The Osbournes" to "The X Factor." And before that, she more than proved herself as Ozzy's manager.

What is even more impressive about Sharon's many career successes is that she achieved them all while suffering through exceptional hardship. From living with an abusive father to enduring heart-wrenching loss, she has not only lived through it all, but has also been brave enough to talk about it at length. Here are the unfortunate moments in the life of the Queen of Darkness that, in the end, have made her a stronger person overall.

Don Arden was very abusive to his daughter

Sharon Osbourne was forced to overcome adversity early in life due to the horrid treatment she received from her father, Don Arden. Most shocking was that it was normal for the man to threaten to kill those who he felt wronged him, including his daughter (per The Guardian). It was a terrible thing to say to someone he loved even if he did not follow through with it, but the unacceptable behavior did not end there.

Osbourne revealed more of her father's cruel behavior when interviewed by psychologist Pamela Connolly on an episode of "Shrink Rap." The TV personality admitted, "A couple of times he would whack me, and he used to yank my hair. I wouldn't say I was abused and beaten; in those days it was a normal thing." Yet after she attempted to downplay the mistreatment, Osbourne continued with something far worse when she added, "As punishment, my dad used to lock me in the unlit coal cupboard in the basement. I still panic in confined spaces to this day. I won't go on the underground. I hate packed trains" (via Digital Spy).

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Sharon Osbourne lived in poverty as a child

Sharon Osbourne's dad, Don Arden, would eventually find success managing major music acts such as Little Richard, the Electric Light Orchestra, and even Queen for a brief period. However, when Osbourne was very young, Arden struggled to provide for the family, which meant they were forced to live in a rundown house in a neighborhood of South London called Brixton (per The Guardian). In her book, "Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography," the music manager described the area and said, "It was a poor part of London, like Compton in Los Angeles, which meant it was cheap."

Due to both financial struggles and neglect, Osbourne's parents rarely provided school lunches for her in these difficult times. She explained, "We were on our own, rain or shine, sometimes with a packed lunch, usually not." Osbourne went on to add that her struggles continued throughout her youth and said, "Even when I was older and could make my own sandwiches, half the time there was no bread in the bin."

She had an abortion as a teen

Since Sharon Osbourne was a child, she has been no stranger to severe hardship. One exceptionally painful instance occurred right on the cusp of adulthood, when she had to make the most difficult decision of her life. When talking with the Daily Mail, she explained, "I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did. It was the first time I'd had sex, and that was rotten. I'd always thought it was going to be all violins, and it was just awful."

Given the circumstances, the pregnancy was completely unplanned, so her mother practically gave her no other option than to undergo the procedure. However, her mother's involvement abruptly ended at that point, and Osbourne had to go to the clinic alone. She went on to describe the harrowing experience and said, "I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible."

She was devastated by the deaths of Rachel Youngblood and Randy Rhoads

The year 1982 was a tumultuous one for Sharon Osbourne. It began in the worst way, with a heartbreaking tragedy that resulted in the devastating loss of a loved one. Over the years, the manager formed one of her closest bonds with an older woman named Rachel Youngblood who became more to her than just a best friend. In "Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography," Osbourne described how close the two were and said, "I think I became the daughter she never had. She insisted on calling me Miss Sharon. She was a very special woman. She would cook for me and take care of me, and I absolutely adored her."

Then came a night on the road in Florida that Sharon will never forget. She and Youngblood were traveling with Ozzy and the band on the tour bus. In order to fix the air conditioning in that hot climate, the vehicle stopped at a transportation hub that also had a small airstrip. The bus driver also happened to be a pilot, so he offered to take small groups up into the sky for some fun as the repairs were made.

Both Youngblood and guitarist Randy Rhoads chose to go for the ride. It quickly turned out to be the most unfortunate decision they ever made, as the plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing everyone onboard. When Sharon recalled the extremely painful event, she said, "The horror of that day and what happened to two of the people I loved most in the world will never go away."

Her father and brother tried to turn Ozzy Osbourne against her

The relationship between Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne has certainly had its difficult moments, but overall, the marriage has been one of the brightest spots in her life. Therefore, it is especially terrible that her own family members attempted to sabotage it shortly after the couple wed in 1982.

Sharon's father, Don Arden, and her brother, David, were not pleased with the fact that she had taken over as manager for the talented musician and took shocking steps to get him back on their side. In "Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography," she revealed the terrible details and said, "So they take Ozzy to lunch, and proceed to tell him that I'm insane, that I am the reason ELO [rock band Electric Light Orchestra] left my father, but that Ozzy doesn't have to worry because they can get the marriage annulled on the grounds of my insanity, and in the meantime, they can put him into hiding."

Thankfully, Ozzy did not fall for the ploy and told his wife something along the lines of, "Bloody hell Sharon, your dad's mental" (per The Guardian). Arden had failed to separate Sharon from Ozzy but succeeded in doing significant damage to his relationship with this daughter.

Sharon Osbourne's mother changed after a terrible head injury

While Sharon Osbourne's mother, Hope Arden, was never the kindest woman to begin with, an unfortunate accident dramatically altered her personality, adding further strain to an already tense relationship between the two. When traveling in their car, the vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. Everyone survived unscathed except for Hope, who suffered a severe head wound.

After Arden recovered in the hospital for a month, her daughter was finally able to visit her and later recalled the difficult moment in her book, "Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography." She said, "It was quite frightening. Her head was covered in bandages, and she was very quiet, hardly said a word to any of us." Osbourne then added, "My mother was never the same after that."

Over the decades, the already-weak bond between mother and daughter deteriorated so badly that when Arden died in 1999, Osbourne was hardly fazed. She even admitted, "If I ever thought about her, it was just as a sad bitter old woman with a cigarette in her mouth and a diamond on her finger worth over a million pounds."

She endured three heartbreaking miscarriages

Another truly heartbreaking detail about Sharon Osbourne's adult life is that she struggled greatly with a few of her pregnancies for more than one tragic reason. When talking with the Daily Mail, she explained, "When I tried to have children, I lost three — I think it was because something had happened to my cervix during the abortion. After three miscarriages, they had to put a stitch in it."

On top of the difficulties that arose from the procedure, Osbourne told The Guardian about another traumatic experience that led to the loss of one of the infants while she was pregnant. When she attempted to visit her mother at home, Hope Arden's dogs inexplicably attacked Osbourne, which absolutely terrified her. As she recalled in her book, "Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography," by the time her mom called off the animals, the damage had already been done. Osbourne learned that she'd had a miscarriage the following day.

Her father tricked her into paying a multimillion-dollar tax bill

Because of the horrid way he treated her for so long, Sharon Osbourne cut ties with her father for decades. However, in the chaotic period when Sharon and Ozzy were trying to separate their careers from Don Arden, he successfully manipulated her into doing something that would cause massive problems for her later.

Just as Sharon was quickly trying to pack up her belongings to move out of Los Angeles, her father's bookkeeper arrived and convinced her to help her father one more time. In her book, "Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography," she explained her thinking in that moment and said, "So just to get rid of him I said, 'F*** it, all right.' One last and final f****** time. I signed my name at the bottom of a tax return."

It was not until 2003 that Sharon realized how terrible of a mistake she had made nearly 20 years earlier when she was given a massive tax bill for $2.5 million. When describing her predicament, she said, "If it had been my father's name on the bottom, they would just have to sing for it because he was penniless, an old man in a retirement home paid for by his daughter. But the signature at the bottom was not his; it was mine." At that point, Sharon simply did not have that kind of money, but fortunately Ozzy did. If he had not been able to help, she would have found herself in some serious trouble.

She was on the verge of alcohol addiction

With a career in the music industry and a husband who heavily used drugs and alcohol, Sharon Osbourne also drank heavily — until she realized the behavior had to end. The manager described the rough circumstances leading to the healthy decision in her book, "Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography," as she said, "My wake-up call was when I looked in the mirror that morning and hadn't recognized the person who looked back. One eye was completely closed, and that side of my face was navy blue tinged with green. But worst of all, I had no memory whatsoever of it happening. This was insane behavior. I didn't enjoy drinking, and now here I was blacking out with it."

Fortunately, Sharon did not have a serious addiction at that point and was able to stop before her drinking got too out of hand. She then impressively maintained that discipline for over two decades without having more than a single drink on any occasion.

Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne were violent toward each other

The love and support Sharon Osbourne has received from Ozzy has been one of the best parts of her life, but there have been some very dark moments in the marriage as well, especially early on. Two of the worst times occurred when he knocked her teeth out on one occasion and attempted to strangle her on another.

Given the shocking treatment, it is no surprise that Sharon did consider divorcing Ozzy, but ultimately realized that she loved him too much. She also acknowledged that her behavior could be volatile too, such as when she once hurled a full bottle of scotch straight toward his head during an argument. So, with all the turmoil at home, Sharon made it her top priority to set a good example for their first child together, Aimee, born in 1983. She admitted to The Guardian, "Being born into this family. I was very very worried for her. But I knew that if I protected her enough and showed her the right way, she'd stay on my path." Ozzy also kept his promise and never harmed Sharon again.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Jack Osbourne struggled with drug addiction

On top of Sharon Osbourne's own struggles with drinking, as well as witnessing the extremely negative effects on her husband, Ozzy, she then had to see her son, Jack, have similar serious issues with addiction. To Jack, the problem was almost unavoidable as he explained in his book, "21 Years Gone: The Autobiography," when he said, "I was well used to seeing alcohol and drugs. Not only had I grown up with it as a result of my dad's addictions, they were part and parcel of life on the road. You just couldn't escape them because most of the time half the bands were drunk or high and they would be doing this stuff, quite blatantly, right there in front of me."

Jack's fight to get himself clean was much more difficult than his mother's had been, but with the support of Sharon and the rest of the family, he was convinced to enter rehab in 2003. After resisting the process in the treatment center at first, he soon became dedicated to his recovery and managed to kick his terrible habits like his mother before him. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The Osbourne children were told their grandfather was dead

Sharon Osbourne's father was such a wretched person to her for most of her life that she eventually decided to cut him completely out of it. Not only did she entirely break off contact, but she even told her kids that he was dead long before he actually passed away in 2007 (per The Guardian). In fact, the mother was so dedicated to keeping her children away from the man that when they all unexpectedly encountered him in Los Angeles, Osbourne lied to them and said he was Tony Curtis. 

Near the end of his life, Osbourne finally forgave Don Arden because she felt a great amount of sympathy for him in his old age. She then also allowed his grandchildren to visit him after all those years. When talking with The Guardian, Osbourne described her kids' positive reaction to the revelation and said, "They were interested, especially Jack, because he had read all the books on my dad and was terribly interested in all the artists my dad used to manage. And Kelly just likes all the gossip; to be able to give her version of what he was like, if ever she was asked."

Sharon Osbourne survived stage three colon cancer

For some time, Sharon Osbourne had a major health concern that went almost completely undetected until it became life-threatening, because the symptoms had been so minor. On "TalkTV," she described the shocking way the ailment crept up on her and said, "I was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, and it was in my lymph nodes as well. It had spread. And the only thing I had was I was very tired. But it's not like I woke up one day and it got to stage three."

It was difficult to catch since fatigue was her only symptom, but the moment more serious signs emerged, Ozzy was quick to convince Sharon she needed to seek medical attention. She went on to add the scary detail, "I was also very very anemic because you bleed when you have colon cancer and I was just covered in bruises. And he just said you've got to go get this sorted." Fortunately, treatment began in time, but her condition could have easily become so much worse.

Body image struggles have been a major issue

Sharon Osbourne has had to endure significant struggles with several loved ones throughout her life, but nearly on par with those conflicts is the personal battles she has faced within. Her harmfully low level of self esteem regarding her body image has led to all sorts of issues, the least of which is emotional pain felt all too often. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Osbourne explained, "I'd be fretting, going through the wardrobe ten times trying to find something to wear, not wanting to go out because I was hideous. I'd never want to make love with the light on. I would roll myself not only in the sheet, but the duvet and the bloody pillows."

But that insecurity did not compare to the damage caused by the eating disorder she developed. Far too often she would eat to relieve stress, and she has spoken bluntly about her experiences with bulimia. Osbourne described how the tragic process basically became normal as she said, "The food is piled up to my throat. Then I have to go and be sick. I don't even have to make myself sick. It's automatic."

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).