Inside the outrageously debauched world of Ozzy Osbourne

Inside the outrageously debauched world of Ozzy Osbourne: As notorious frontman announces he’s canceled his tour, looks back at his wild antics – from biting off a bat’s head to Sharon finding him passed out in bed with a nanny (twice)

  • Ozzy Osbourne, 74, canceled his upcoming tour on Wednesday due to ill health, telling followers he ‘never thought it would end like this’
  • Osbourne rose to prominence as the frontman of heavy metal band Black Sabbath but has since become solo musician and cult reality TV star 
  • From addiction and near-death experiences to the attempted murder of his wife, looks back on his most extreme moments 

For years Ozzy Osbourne was stumped by his own longevity.

Once, after reeling off all the drugs and alcohol he had consumed in his lifetime, a doctor asked him: ‘Why are you still alive?’

The Cognac-guzzling, pill-popping Black Sabbath frontman, famed for biting the head off a bat on stage, had no answer. 

‘I’ve often wondered the same thing myself,’ he wrote in the Sunday Times Magazine in 2007. ‘By all accounts I am a medical miracle.’

In good spirits: Frail Ozzy Osbourne was spotted out on Wednesday after announcing his retirement from touring and canceling all remaining shows amid his recovery from spinal surgery

It is perhaps this perceived immortality which made the 74-year-old’s recent and sudden health decline, sparked by a battle with Parkinson’s disease, all the more difficult to bear.   

This week his disappointment was palpable as he announced he was retiring for good from touring, citing health reasons following surgery on his spine.

Osbourne, who hails from a working-class background in Birmingham, England, told his 5.2 million Instagram followers on Wednesday: ‘I never imagined it would end this way.’ 

The statement was reshared by his TV-star wife Sharon, with whom he shares three children and four grandchildren, who posted it with a simple broken-heart emoji.

It marked a quiet and understated finish to a career that has been steeped in debauchery and scandal.

From addiction and near-death experiences to countless affairs, a reality TV show and even a murder attempt on his own wife, looks back on the history of one of world’s most outrageous rock legends.  

Ozzy’s infamous 1982 bat-biting concert 

Osbourne was performing at the Des Moines Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Iowa in January 1982 when a concert-goer hurled a bat onto the stage. 

Without pause, Osbourne ripped into the creature with his teeth, his mouth filling with blood as the audience watched on in horror.

It was a moment he would never live down, with the incident cropping up in almost every interview he has ever done since. A Youtube clip of it has been watched 5.8 million times.

Osbourne has repeatedly insisted he thought the bat was a rubber toy, complaining it left him having to rush to the nearest hospital for a rabies shot. 

He also alleges the bat was alive – though this was disputed by audience member Mark Neal who claims to have thrown the animal and insisted it was dead.

Osbourne’s most famous moment was biting the head off a bat during a concert in 1982. He alleges he thought it was a rubber toy

Osbourne was performing for his second solo tour, Diary of a Madman, where he encouraged audience members to throw disturbing items at him on stage.

A year beforehand he had bitten off the heads of two doves after becoming bored by a publicist during a meeting with the record label CBS. 

‘The dove was a total freak of nature, if you like,’ he recounted during an A&E documentary The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne he said:

‘I was absolutely drunk and I was being introduced to the head of the L.A. branch of CBS. 

‘It was not a publicity stunt, I was just out of my f*cking face on drugs and alcohol. It shocked the sh*t out of everybody.’

Attempted murder of his wife Sharon

As the so-called ‘Prince of Darkness’, Osbourne has been arrested on multiple occasions, perhaps most famously for a murder attempt on Sharon in 1989. 

The couple were returning from the Moscow Music Peace Festival where Osbourne had reportedly downed four bottles of vodka combined with a cocktail of drugs. 

He is reported to have ‘calmly’ lunged at his wife as he attempted to strangle her to death.   

Reflecting on the arrest in an interview with Rolling Stone last September, he said: ‘It wasn’t my idea to go out, have a few drinks and wake up in jail charged with attempted murder.’

At the time all three of the couple’s children were under seven. 

Osbourne has been arrested on multiple occasions, most famously for attempting to murder wife Sharon. Pictured following a public intoxication charge in Memphis in 1984

Osbourne has been arrested on multiple occasions, most famously for attempting to murder wife Sharon. Pictured following a public intoxication charge in Memphis in 1984

They stayed married, but the judge ordered Osbourne to attend rehab for six months.

Sharon later told the Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne documentary: ‘I told him, ‘If you do this again, either I am going to kill you, or you are going to kill me. And do you want that for the kids?’   

Osbourne was also locked up in 1982 by Texan authorities after he urinated near the 60-foot-high Cenotaph monument in Alamo Plaza. He was arrested again for public intoxication in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1984.

A VERY rocky rock’n’roll love-life  

Sharon shocked audience members The Talk in 2016 when she revealed she had found her husband in bed with two of their children’s nannies – albeit on separate occasions.

The flame-haired TV star played down the incident, insisting he was ‘out of his mind’ on to drugs and alcohol, but the tale comes as little surprise to anybody who has followed Osbourne’s love life closely. 

He first met Sharon in the mid-Seventies while married to his first wife Thelma Riley, with whom he shared three children. 

Osbourne had already cheated on Riley multiple times before they divorced in 1982. He married Sharon, the daughter of then-Black Sabbath manager Don Arden, the same year. 

But their marriage was also mired in cheating allegations.

On top of the nanny incidents, Sharon also discovered Osbourne had had an affair with his hairstylist in 2016.

He subsequently sought out therapy for sex addiction, and the couple stuck together.  

TV star Sharon has always stayed with her husband despite his addictions and multiple affairs. Pictured in 2020

Battle with addiction

At one point in his life, Osbourne claims to have been drinking four bottles of Cognac a day.

While filming MTV series The Osbournes he was downing as many as 42 prescription pills a day. Viewers remarked at the time of his ‘zombie-like’ appearance. 

Osbourne has said his reliance on booze, drugs and prescription medication lasted for ‘forty years.’

His long run of alcohol and drug binges saw him sacked by his Black Sabbath band members in 1979.

He claims to have spent three months in Le Parc hotel in Los Angeles where his dealer would deliver to him every day.  

He attempted rehab on several occasions. In 1984 he checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in California, famously asking where the bar was on his first day.

Osbourne has now been sober for nearly a decade – though he claims not to keep count. 

‘The way I approached it was, if I had one leg amputated, I wouldn’t want to sit in a room for the rest of my life talking to other people about how I lost my leg,’ he told the Rolling Stones magazine in 2022. ‘I just have to adapt and get on with it.’

Osbourne has suffered heavily with addiction, claiming he drank up to four bottles of Cognac at one point and later 42 prescription pills every day – though at separate times

Countless brushes with death 

The rock legend has escaped death on so many occasions he was given a health column in the Sunday Times magazine in the noughties to advise others on maintaining longevity. 

Not only did were these incidents sparked by his addictions (or a 40-year-long drugs and booze binge, as he describes it) but he also suffered a number of freak accidents. 

In March 1982 – just two months after the bat-biting incident – he was sleeping at the back of a tour bus in Leesburg, Florida, when an aircraft carrying some of his entourage clipped the side of it before crashing into a house nearby.

The accident killed everybody on the plane including Osbourne’s 25-year-old guitarist Randall Rodes. 

Osbourne also claims to have been medically dead twice. 

He told The Sunday times he was in a chemically-induced coma after breaking his neck in a quad-biking incident in 2003. 

‘I’ve got more metal screws in me now than in an Ikea flatpack,’ he wrote.

Osbourne and his family appeared in their own MTV reality series in the early 2000s. Sharon and Ozzy are pictured with their children Jack, far left, and Kelly, far right, in 2002

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