The Truth About Ozzy Osbourne's Small-Time Criminal Past

Ozzy Osbourne is one of the godfathers of heavy metal. He first met his fame as the frontman of Black Sabbath before branching off into his own solo music career. It's commonly believed that Black Sabbath influenced all the heavy metal bands that followed them in one way or another — hence the whole "godfather" thing. Sabbath was a major force in the industry, but Ozzy's solo career didn't do so badly, either.

Ozzy Osbourne's fame took a few interesting turns that didn't have much to do with music. It bled out of one industry and into another with MTV's reality show The Osbournes, which in turn spun a few new threads of stardom all on its own. Ozzy's wife, Sharon Osbourne, would retain a career on television, while their kids would taste the worlds of both acting and music throughout their careers. The whole family is famous at this point. But it all started with Ozzy.

The metal singer saw fame through two different camera lenses: The one that got him paid, and the one that took his mugshots. You might not know it, but Ozzy Osbourne has a bit of a criminal past.

A petty criminal

In the world of heavy metal, you expect musicians to be rebellious — it's kind of the whole point of the genre — but Osbourne's rebellious nature began long before he brought the doomy sounds of Black Sabbath to the radio. Osbourne told The Big Issue about a time when he was young and couch surfing after leaving home. He wasn't great at most of the jobs he undertook, and his tendency to flip through employment like a dealer shuffling cards didn't help any.

Osborne's "career search" led him down some interesting, even slightly nefarious, paths. "I tried a bit of burglary but I was no good at that. F****** useless. I didn't do any major burglary jobs. It was less than three weeks before I got caught," the metal singer told the publication in 2014.

The burglary stint was less a career choice and more a step towards the shady lifestyle that Osbourne was hoping to achieve. In an interview with Metal Hammer, posted at Louder Sound, the musician admits he only committed the crimes as a way to get into a local gang, but it didn't exactly turn out as planned. Osbourne was slapped with a fine that he didn't bother to pay, which turned the fine into a few weeks of sitting in jail. "That was a short, sharp lesson," he tells The Big Issue. "It certainly curbed my career in burglary."

An attempted murder

Like many other metal musicians from the '60s, '70s, and '80s, Osbourne had his fair share of drug and alcohol issues. Usually, when we hear about substance abuse in bands, it's pertaining to a member going to rehab or getting booted from a group, but Osbourne's drug problems once took a darker, more dangerous turn that led to his arrest for attempted murder.

In the A&E documentary Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne, wife Sharon talks about the time that her husband almost killed her. The story goes like this: Ozzy comes into the room after Sharon has put the kids to bed. There's something off about the man, which Sharon rightfully attributes to him being on drugs, a common occurrence. "I had no idea who was sat across from me on the sofa but it wasn't my husband," Sharon says.

Osbourne, in his drug-induced stupor, says to Sharon, "We've come to a decision that you've got to die," like he has split personalities or something. The next thing you know, the frontman was on top of his wife choking her. Osbourne claims not to remember the altercation. "All I remember is waking up in Amersham jail," he says. The upside (if there is an upside) is that the incident put Ozzy in much-needed rehab for six months. And it almost led to the couple's divorce.

Some other charges and arrests

The musician had a few other arrests throughout his life, though nothing as heavy as the two previously mentioned ones. And at least one of the others is kind of funny. We're talking about the time going number one got Ozzy in handcuffs.

February 19, 1982. San Antonio, Texas. Osbourne had gotten "rockstar drunk" and was stumbling his inebriated self down the street in a dress he'd taken from his future wife, according to Loudwire. Well, the amount of booze that it takes to get the Black Sabbath frontman into a dress has other consequences, like a full bladder. Needing to relieve himself, one spot was as good as any, and Osbourne chose the Alamo plaza to be his urinal. The cops didn't like that much, since it was the site of the Alamo battle of 1836 and all, and Osbourne ended up in jail for the afternoon.

Osbourne was arrested two years later on another public intoxication charge while stumbling around Memphis, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. "See, I can't have a casual line of coke, that doesn't equate in my head. I never went to the bar for a drink, I never smoked a joint. I used to go into a bar to get absolutely s***faced. It didn't really occur to me that other people were going there for a drink," Osbourne told Choose Help in 2010. The metal musician has since sobered up. Here's hoping.