Ozzy Osbourne's Tragic Real-Life Story

Ozzy Osbourne has seen it all, and a lot of it has been ... surprisingly awful, actually. The Black Sabbath vocalist, reality show dad, and solo superstar has been wealthy and famous beyond his wildest dreams since the 1970s, and during that time he has sampled almost every vice in the book. Unfortunately for the singer, his preferred lifestyle hasn't been without its share of tragedies.

Apart from being one of the most notoriously self-destructive men in the entertainment industry, the singer has had periods of extremely bad luck when it comes to almost all walks of life. From traumatic childhood events and personal tragedies to professional issues and problems with law, there are precious few unfortunate aspects of the human existence that Ozzy Osbourne hasn't experienced. This is his tragic life story. Fair warning: Things are going to get seriously weird.

He was sexually abused as a child

For all his excesses, Ozzy Osbourne has often been brutally honest about his past issues. In 2002, he demonstrated this in a dramatic way when he revealed in an interview with London's Daily Mirror that he was sexually abused when he was a child. His experiences date back to when he was a 11-year-old schoolboy in Birmingham. For a period of time, two bullies from his school used to wait for young Osbourne on his way home from school and subject him to all sorts of abuse. Although they didn't outright have sex with him, they routinely forced him to drop his pants and abused him in other touchy-feely ways, which Osbourne refrains from describing in too much detail but sums up as "terrible."

As awful as the abuse was, the compound effect it had on young Osbourne's family life was even worse. The first time the bullies hit him happened in front of his sister, and he was too afraid to tell his parents about the repeated abuse. The stressful situation didn't do any favors for his mental health, and in hindsight, Osbourne fully admits that the experience "completely f**ked [him] up." Because of this, he has made a point of telling his own children to always open up so they won't let any "dirty little secrets" fester and turn into big problems further down the line.

​He attempted suicide as a teenager

Ozzy Osbourne's childhood was not the easiest one, and at one point, he was so desperate that he even considered a permanent end to his unhappiness. According to the Ozzy Unauthorized biography, the teenage Osbourne once attempted to hang himself. Tired of the bleak, violent life that the book says had the future superstar fighting fellow kids with trash can lids and meat cleavers, the 14-year-old Osbourne (incorrectly) thought it was his only choice. Luckily, this wasn't the end of his story, as Osbourne's father caught him in the act and interfered. Less fortunately, in what is completely the wrong way to handle a parenting issue, the elder Osbourne then proceeded to beat his son up for trying to end his life. Not exactly the kind of support system most kids are looking forward to.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

​​Getting fired from Black Sabbath

No one likes getting fired from their dream job, and Ozzy Osbourne is no exception. As Loudwire describes, Black Sabbath was a chaotic, crumbling entity in the summer of 1978. They were fueled by alcohol and cocaine, and the bad reviews of 1976's Technical Ecstasy and 1978's Never Say Die! were getting to them. It didn't help that the young, energetic band they were touring with — Van Halen — was outperforming them on a nightly basis. Something needed to change, and that something turned out to be the singer.

With his collection of childhood traumas and abuse, Osbourne's self-worth was intertwined with the success and praise the band had received up to that point. A couple years of poor reviews and rejection were enough to destroy his confidence, and he found it difficult to work with the band. Instead, he escaped the cruel world by diving in a pit of drugs and booze, and kept making excuses to his band members. The others kept trying to get their lead singer back on track, but ultimately they had no choice but to fire him in 1979. Although they have since reunited, Osbourne continues to view this as an act of betrayal. He admits that he was wasted out of his mind at the time, he feels it was hypocritical to fire him because of that. After all, most of the others were almost as out of it as he was.

​The death of Randy Rhoads

After Ozzy Osbourne's Black Sabbath tenure ended in 1979, few people expected him to bounce back as quickly as he did. As Rolling Stone reports, by 1982 he was an established performer with two successful solo albums under his belt, and a huge part of this rebirth was his new musical partner, guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads. The guitarist's flashy style helped Osbourne express his own ideas, and the two became fast friends ... that is, until their partnership was cut tragically short on March 19, 1982, when the 25-year-old Rhoads died in a plane accident in Leesburg, Florida.

Ultimate Classic Rock says Rhoads, who was afraid of flying, agreed for some reason to go on a joyride in a small Beechcraft Bonanza. The plane was piloted by the band's bus driver, Andrew Aycock, who commandeered a friend's plane without permission and flew with an expired pilot's license. The plane buzzed repeatedly over the rest of the band, who were sleeping in a tour bus. On the third pass, the plane actually clipped the bus and spun out of control, and all three passengers died in a fiery crash. The explosion rattled Osbourne awake, and he clambered out to see the flaming wreck. The singer has called the event the tragedy of his life, and says that in a way, he feels that he's still standing on that field, staring at the burning crash site.

​He tried to kill his wife

Domestic violence is a terrible thing, and unfortunately, Ozzy Osbourne is not exactly blameless on this particular front. In 1989, the singer not only attacked his wife, Sharon, but actually tried to kill her. Ultimate Classic Rock describes how the singer walked up to Sharon in a drunken stupor, regretfully informed her that she had to die, and did his level best to strangle her. Fortunately, they weren't alone — the attempt was stopped, the cops were called, and the murder went undone. In a 2007 interview with the Evening Standard, Osbourne recounted his hazy version of the events that finally realized his longtime fear of blacking out and sobering up to discover that he has done something terrifying. He described the horror of waking up in a small cell with walls smeared with human feces, having no recollection of the previous night, and promptly facing his worst nightmare when an officer informed him he had attempted to murder his beloved wife.

A court-mandated separation and a rehab stint seems to have solved the situation. The couple ended up staying together, but it looks like neither has forgotten just how terrifyingly wrong things could have gone. In fact, Blabbermouth says when Sharon Osbourne was discussing relationship violence in 2004, she fully admitted that the situation was so serious that if she'd had a gun with her that night, she absolutely would have shot her husband in self-defense.

​The truly insane scale of Ozzy's addiction and substance abuse

Ozzy Osbourne's capacity for various narcotic substances is nothing short of legendary. According to ABC News and the Canyon, the singer has at various points in his life abused cocaine, heroin, marijuana, Quaaludes, glue, cough syrup, Rohypnol, Klonopin, Vicodin, LSD, sleeping pills, and a whole bunch of other substances — often at the same time, and all in unhappy union with massive amounts of alcohol. So how has he survived all that? One possible reason may be his peculiar genetic makeup, which features a few minor mutations in the way he processes various mind-altering substances, and also some Neanderthal DNA to mix things up a little. Ironically, his genetic makeup also shows that the one substance that affects him particularly strongly is caffeine, of all things.

Of course, not even genetic freaks with a dash of caveman can keep up Ozzy Osbourne levels of intake forever. The singer has been a recovering addict since 2006, and as told by Ultimate Classic Rock, he deeply regrets his worst blackout years.

A quad accident almost killed him

On December 8, 2003, Ozzy Osbourne suffered a terrifying injury when he was riding a quad bike at his home estate when, as CNN reports, he unintentionally flipped the bike and it landed on him.

As Ultimate Classic Rock describes, the ATV accident was quite brutal, and the heavy dosage of prescription drugs he was on at the time played a part in the incident. Osbourne broke his collarbone, damaged a vertebrae in his neck, and fractured eight ribs, some of which were left pinching major blood vessels. According to People, Osbourne says the accident was so serious that he "died" twice, and the only reason he survived was because his bodyguard, Sam Ruston, immediately rushed to help him after the accident and managed to repeatedly revive him.

An emergency surgical team repaired him, but Osbourne still spent eight days in a coma and was left with a piece of metal keeping his left shoulder together. He says he's extremely lucky not to be paralyzed and even luckier to be alive.

​He is a repeat cheater

Ozzy Osbourne has been known to have issues with marital fidelity. According to People, Sharon Osbourne says she knows about six women he has cheated with, from teenage fans to masseuses and even their own household staff. Channel 24 describes one of the more recent incidents, where Osbourne accidentally sent his wife a message that he meant for someone Sharon describes as "one of his women." Things got so bad that Sharon actually drugged her husband with extra sleeping pills in order to make him tell her the truth about his current fidelity status because she knew that fear and shame would otherwise have prevented him from telling the truth.

This wasn't their last discussion about the subject, either. Six months after Osbourne swore that things were over with that particular lover, Sharon discovered both that this was a lie and that there were other women as well. This reveal forced the musician to finally admit he had a problem, and he has since sought treatment. Although the two seem to have reconciled, Sharon Osbourne revealed in a 2018 interview with The Talk that sex continues to be a "bone of contention" with the couple because her then-69-year-old husband was still very much the rabbit. Meanwhile, Sharon — 65 years old at the time — said she would prefer less frequent displays of marital affection at this point in her life.

​He brutally neglected his first wife

To say Ozzy Osbourne was a bad husband to Thelma Riley is to throw away a perfect opportunity to use the word "abysmal." According to the Birmingham Mail, the man himself is fully aware of this — and very ashamed of the way he treated his first wife. As Osbourne himself puts it: "I put that woman through hell. I should have never married her. She didn't deserve it. She wasn't a bad person, and she wasn't a bad wife. But I was a f**king nightmare."

That may seem like an older man ruthlessly flagellating himself over the mistakes of his younger self, but the Prince of Darkness was just as bad as he describes, if not worse. He married Riley in 1971, and spent the vast majority of their time together living like a "married bachelor". He was often absent and routinely got wasted, cheated and neglected Riley. Osbourne recalls a particular incident in California when he got off the phone with her, and then proceeded to sleep with three consecutive groupies. He also notes that the fact that he discovered cocaine during their marriage didn't exactly help matters. All in all, he feels that the way he treated Riley is one of his few true regrets — and probably a justified one.

​The many troubles of the Osbournes

Even without his own substance-abusing misadventures, Ozzy Osbourne has had more than his share of troubles and tragedy. After all, he is just one of the many famous Osbournes out there, and almost all of them have struggled with various issues that have caused the singer tons of grief. As the New Zealand Herald describes, Sharon has struggled with low self-esteem and weight issues that have led to bulimia. What's more, she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002, and although her public and exhausting battle with the disease was ultimately victorious, the Prince of Darkness has admitted to Classic Rock that the process was terrifying and he was absolutely certain his wife was going to die.

The younger family members who featured in The Osbournes have also had their share of difficulties, possibly related to their following in their father's footsteps when it comes to substance abuse. According to People, Kelly Osbourne first encountered drugs at the tender age of 13, and her intake was so excessive that her mother once committed her to a mental institution for three days in an attempt to scare her sober. As UK Rehab notes, her brother Jack Osbourne was also an addict, to the point where he was treated for painkiller addiction when he was only 17. Fortunately, both of them managed to clean up their acts.

​The struggles of his less famous children

Thanks to the runaway success of The Osbournes, it's easy to forget that Ozzy Osbourne has children who did not routinely feature in the show. Still, they totally exist, and some of them have had their own share of difficulties. Osbourne's eldest son, Louis Osbourne, made the occasional appearance on the reality show, though he's not as well-known as the main foursome of Jack, Kelly, Sharon, and the Prince of Darkness himself. Louis is actually from the singer's first marriage with Thelma Riley, and according to Birmingham Mail, something of a musician himself. However, the son is somewhat less successful than his global superstar father — in fact, the struggling Louis was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2013 when a property crash hit him and his wife hard.

Aimee Osbourne is a more elusive figure. In an interview with the Independent, the eldest daughter of Sharon and Ozzy says she refused to take part in the reality show but ended up outvoted four to one in the ensuing shouting matches. People describes how Aimee (19 when the show first went to air) moved out of the family's house to avoid being filmed, which broke her mother's heart. The introverted Aimee spent the following years as the rarely seen, "reclusive" Osbourne, battling depression and later dabbling in acting and music. These days, she gets on with her parents quite well, but her relationship with her TV-famous siblings is reportedly still rather strained.

​The Suicide Solution fan death

In 1984, a 19-year-old Ozzy Osbourne fan named John Daniel McCollum killed himself. His parents promptly sued Osbourne, saying his song "Suicide Solution" was one reason for their son's death. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the parents described McCollum as a perfectly well-adjusted kid who showed no signs of depression, and who went from perfectly happy to dead in just six hours. Unfortunately, he spent some of those hours listening to Osbourne's 1980 solo debut, Blizzard of Ozz, which includes "Suicide Solution," and was discovered still wearing his headphones. The solemn Osbourne said in an interview that he felt extremely sad for the boy and his parents, but pointed out that although he understood the grief, the kid must have had struggles that extended beyond Ozzy's music. Osbourne also said blaming the artist was the wrong thing to do here — especially because "Suicide Solution" isn't about killing yourself. The song's "solution" is actually a liquid, and the lyrics are an educational (if not particularly self-aware) musing on the dangers of alcoholism.

The case was ultimately dismissed in 1988 on the grounds that McCollum's death was not a foreseeable result of the song. However, this wasn't the last time "Suicide Solution" would haunt Osbourne. Later that year, another family unsuccessfully sued him for their son's suicide, claiming that the song's subliminal messages had caused the tragedy.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Ozzy Osbourne's Parkinson's disease reveal

Frail as he seems in old age, Ozzy Osbourne survived so many misadventures that it's easy to think of him as a Keith Richards-like figure who will roam the earth long after the rest of us are gone. Or rather, that used to be the case. As CNN tells us, in January 2020 the Prince of Darkness told the world that he has the PRKN 2 form of Parkinson's disease, so he may eventually succumb to the inevitability of time after all. 

The reveal, which Osbourne described as "a weight being lifted," followed a long period of concert date cancellations and many rumors that the artist was basically on his deathbed. While this doesn't appear to be quite true, Osbourne did say that 2019 was pretty much the worst year of his life, thanks to a serious fall he took and a number of other health troubles, such as a bad infection.  

Regardless of this shocking reveal, the 71-year-old rocker feels that people shouldn't count him out yet. As his wife, Sharon Osbourne, put it: "It's not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. It's like you have a good day, a good day and then a really bad day." Here's hoping for more good days.

A spinal injury forced him to retire from touring

Ozzy Osbourne's career as a touring artist ended on February 1, 2023, and his official statement on the subject made it clear that the singer took this pretty hard (via Osbourne's official Twitter account). "This is probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to share with my loyal fans," he started the lengthy message that announced the cancellation of his planned tour dates — and his retirement from touring in general.

Osbourne had a bad fall in 2019 during a bout of pneumonia, after which lingering health issues from his awful 2003 quad bike accident resurfaced (per the BBC). As the artist's announcement explains, he's since gone through an extensive arsenal of medical treatments to fix his spinal injuries, but it's become apparent that he's simply unable to tour in his frail condition.

Even in this time of crisis and disappointment, however, the ailing Prince of Darkness isn't willing to fully stop being a live artist even though he can't withstand the rigors of traveling like he used to. "My team is currently coming up with ideas for where I will be able to perform without having to travel from city to city and country to country," the statement ended with the tiniest sliver of hope.