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Chapter I: Lost in the O Zone
Things aren't as complicated as the show is edited to seem. I think everyone in our family can be portrayed as kind of hectic and crazy and not very rational. We're all really kind of basic, pretty much like anyone else's family with the same kind of problems....
-- Aimee Osbourne
Ozzy: I'm not ever going to say anything bad about my family, but here's the main thing about the Osbournes: They are all out of their fucking minds. My wife is insane and my kids are insane. I am the one who actually thinks things through.
While they are out doing crazy things, I am home trying to figure out the mysteries of my life. Here's an example. For years, I was always telling Sharon to put something away for a rainy day. She's a spendaholic. I walked around the house saying, "We've got to stop spending all this. The money goes out of this fucking house like water from a pipe. We've got to save for when we get older." I'm not kidding, I was truly worried. I said, "We can make do with what we have. Let's put the next big check away." But my wife would have none of it. Sharon was always cool and calm as she rolled off to Tiffany's, Neiman Marcus, or some other store.
I don't know how she's done it. She must be a genius, or she's been touched by the Man himself, or she's incredibly lucky and taking the rest of us on a ride with her. Sharon and I haven't always had the perfect marriage. We had our ups and downs. There was fighting, infidelity, and drugs. But we weren't one of those couples you whisper about when you're in the kitchen or about to go to bed. "Did you hear? So-and-so's getting divorced." We held on to the horse's reins.
Then the universe tilted a bit. The other day I was driving in Sharon's car, talking to my assistant, Tony. All of our cars have tinted windows except for Sharon's Mercedes. I wasn't aware of it until I said to Tony, "Hey, man, is every single person in Beverly Hills a lousy driver? Or are they all looking at me?" Because we nearly got into a wreck every other block. It was like one of those PlayStation games. People were waving like fucking maniacs, and their cars were just missing ours. I called Sharon and said, "Why are you doing this to me?"
"Come home, Ozzy," she said.
I made it, and a few days later it was something else. We were having a huge party for Sharon's cancer charity. My house was turned into this place I hardly recognized. There were boards over the garden. A dance floor was put up. People were running all over with hors d'oeuvres. Tony Bennett sang in the backyard. I turned around and there was Sylvester Stallone. Elton John. My wife was hanging out with Elizabeth Taylor.
That scene hit me like a fucking brick. I had a problem dealing with it. I made Tony walk into a quiet room, where I said, "Do you see what the fuck is going on out there?" He nodded. "Tony, man, I'm from a working-class background," I said. "I woke up this morning and I thought, I have a house in Beverly Hills, a house in Malibu, I've got three houses in London, plus a farm. I fly around in private jets. And now I have Sir Elton John and Dame Elizabeth Taylor in my house."
"Pretty wild, eh?" Tony smiles.
"Well, then tell me this: How the fuck did this happen?"
"I don't know, Ozzy."
"I don't fucking know, either."
I gave that up one afternoon about four years ago when Kelly barged into my bedroom while I was involved in a rather personal bit of business.
"Get the fuck out," I said.
Not that our family hides much of anything. Our personal lives have all been on TV. It's in the press. It's been in the tabloids. It's part of the mainstream pop culture. A stranger can walk into our house and basically know my father gets fucked up, my mom has battled cancer, my sister Kelly has an album out, my other sister Aimee has an attitude, and I'm this totally happening stud, or some facsimile, who made it into rehab by the time I was seventeen. It's cool. We made a deal with the devil to give up our privacy.
Despite the TV series and the press, though, I can attest the Osbourne family still has secrets and thoughts, people, that have not been broadcast publically. Some shit has occurred away from the cameras. Take the very first time I felt the full-on rush of fame and said, "Whoa, what the hell is happening to us?"
It was the summer of 2002, and my mom had been diagnosed with cancer. The shit had hit the fan. My dad was out of it and unable to deal. My sisters were doing their things. Just that we were going through a lot, which is a statement, considering as a family we have dealt with alcoholism and drug addiction, infidelity, abuse, depression, wealth, fame, learning disabilities, weight problems, and dudes who drive up in the front of our house every day and yell, "Ozzy, come out. You rule!"
So my mom decides we're going to the Emmy Awards, the biggest night of the year for television. We had won a special creative Emmy the previous day in a ceremony that wasn't televised. The Emmy Awards were on prime time. They were a big fucking deal black-tie affair. We -- meaning Kelly and myself -- were informed that while Mom would be wearing half of Harry Winston's inventory of diamonds, we were to make sure we wore clean underwear.
"I'll be the only one showing off the family jewels," my mom joked.
As everyone got ready for the big evening out, I noticed the weirdness start building up. We had gone out to fancy events before, but I never felt the nervousness or tension about looking not just great but phenomenal. I'm sure my mother's cancer had something to do with it. She was thin and fragile. She'd lost weight. You could see the toll the disease had already taken on her, and she hadn't really begun the treatment, which would make her even worse. My dad was drinking in the kitchen, watching television, but a mess from worry and concern.
Then in come the army of stylists, hair and makeup people. They brought dresses and brushes and blow-dryers and bags of lipstick and crap. Our publicist was there. Melinda, our nanny, is running around. There are like a thousand people doing things to help us get ready, and from my vantage the only thing they're helping is to create chaos and confusion. My dad vanishes when things get like that, and my mom's usually in the middle of it. My thing is staying in control, keeping your cool. And no one was cool. As far as I was concerned, they had lost their minds. Everyone's nerves are jacked and I'm getting dressed while people offer various opinions about hair, clothes, and shoes.
Finally I had had enough. I looked around and thought, I have to help everyone get a grip. That's what we need. We need a grip on things. So I called everyone together, asked for a time-out, and said, "A year ago we were blackballed from this town. Now everyone's out of their head. Who the hell do you think we are? We're just going out to a party."
The room fell silent as if I had made time stop. They all looked at me. Then Kelly stomped out of the room and said, "Mind your own business." My mom turned back to what she was doing, and my dad walked back into the kitchen; he wasn't going to the Emmys. Aimee didn't say a word. And suddenly things were the way they always are.
The limo arrived and like any kid going to a major black-tie event I had a last question for my mom. "Should I take a condom?"
Sharon: There comes a time when you wonder whether the fast lane is too fast, whether the limos are going to take you where you want to go, and whether you have chartered the wrong private jet. For me, that occurred a few days after I cheered as Nicole Kidman and Adrien Brody won Academy Awards when Kelly was headed back on tour.
She had flown into L.A. for a round of parties: the different post-Oscar soirees, as well as Elton John's birthday and my own first charity fund-raiser. It was a hectic but fun time. I loved having her home. But then she had to pick her tour back up in Philadelphia. I kissed her good-bye and watched her drive to the airport.
One minute I was the picture of a proud mother, then the next I was as petrified as any parent has ever been. Kelly and her tour manager, her best friend Sarah, had been flying for about twenty minutes when the oxygen masks dropped, things onboard the plane began popping, and one of the pilots -- Cher's former "bagel boy" boyfriend Rob Camilletti -- announced they were turning back in order to make an emergency landing back in Van Nuys.
She had called me from the plane right before it happened, so when stuff started to go wrong I heard her screaming, "Mommy! Mommy!" Then we got disconnected. That began the worst twenty-five minutes of my entire life. Forget Ozzy. Never mind the cancer. This was pure terror.
It was 1:00 A.M., and I scrambled to find the phone number for the charter company. Nobody picked up. I was going insane.
Finally, the phone rang and it was Kelly, telling me the plane had landed safely at the Van Nuys Airport. I had never been so glad to hear from her or felt such relief.
"Oh Mommy, I'm so scared," she said. "I love you."
"How are you?" I asked.
"We threw up all over the plane."
Kelly and her friend came back to the house. They were still crying and shaking when they walked through the door. Kelly had a hard time imagining herself getting back on a plane. She was like a little girl, traumatized. Late that night, we had a family meeting where all of us, Ozzy included, discussed the next move. The question wasn't just whether Kelly could get up the nerve to go. It was also whether we could go through with it.
We ended up canceling the show in Philadelphia, which she couldn't get to in time, but we decided she would try again because she was scheduled to appear on Late Night with David Letterman in New York. I said, "I'll fly with you. I'll be with you the whole flight. I'll stay through the weekend, and we'll have fun in New York."
Late the next night, following Elton's birthday party, we got on another chartered jet and took off. An hour into the flight, one of the hydraulic systems went out and we made an emergency landing in Denver. I couldn't believe it. None of us could. Kelly was screaming on the plane, "Why did I get on a plane again?" The parent onboard, I was shitting and peeing in my pants, as well. All of us on the plane were white-faced.
As we neared the runway, we saw an ambulance and fire trucks. They followed the plane down the entire runway. Then we stopped and all of us burst out in laughter. Nothing else made sense. All we could do was laugh. It was so frighteningly absurd a second disaster could happen to us again. We called Ozzy and told him we had just made another emergency landing, and he started screaming at us.
We just laughed. Manic laughter. While he swore.
"What are you laughing about?" he asked.
"Because this could only happen to the Osbournes," I said. "This is really the Osbournes, the real Osbournes, and there's not a fucking camera in sight!"
Copyright © 2003 by Joks Productions, LLC