Ozzy Osbourne is a legendary British singer who rose to fame as part of the iconic metal band Black Sabbath. However, before his days as a rock “n” roll legend, the icon had to sail through hell and high waters in his journey to success.
“The Osbournes” star Ozzy Osbourne has more to him than meets the eyes. While the world knows him as the mysterious singer who was a part of the Black Sabbath heavy metal band, the star has a lesser-known side to him, which he spilled in his biography, “The Nine Lives Of Ozzy Osbourne.”
The documentary also detailed his disturbing childhood, which saw him struggle on the streets of Birmingham to make ends meet and attain acceptance among the more influential kids of his time. Somewhere along the way, he quit high school and landed himself in jail, which became a turning point in his life.
So how did this once lost kid from Birmingham grow up to become a global rock star, reality star, and some sort of showbiz demi-god married to another leading figure Sharon Osbourne? Let’s take a walk through his challenging journey.
Growing Up On The Streets Of Birmingham
Born John Michael Osbourne in December 1948, Ozzy Osbourne grew up as the fourth of six children. He acquired his professional moniker as a nickname in elementary school. His parents barely struggled to fend for their kids and put a roof over their heads. Hence, the rocker spent his childhood hustling around the factory town.
Osbourne’s living conditions weren’t so impressive either, with a crowded apartment, a cramped up bedroom, no inside toilets, and no access to necessities like soap and toilet paper.
But that never deterred the born-star from striving for greatness, so much that his dad always knew Osbourne would make an impact either by achieving something special or going to prison. Seems John Thomas was right about both.
Living With A Learning Disability
The only thing standing between Osbourne and the outstanding future he craved was his learning disability, Dyslexia. Having struggled to be as academically smart as other kids for years, he eventually received his heartbreaking diagnosis.
Although it was a relief to know what he had, the reality overwhelmed him with shame. The educational system in his time did little to help, as teachers kept singling out those with learning disabilities and relegating them to a corner of the class reserved for the class dunce. And then they’d put a cone in the kid’s head to further drive home their point.
Such treatment caused the other kids to laugh at Osbourne every day at school. Luckily, he had hard-working parents, who were dedicated toolmakers. Growing up with them, Osbourne learned the value of dedication and commitment to work, invaluable principles that guided him through his adulthood no matter what the world threw at him.
With that ability, he managed to work around his challenging school years, overcoming the constant disgrace by becoming the class clown and befriending the “biggest guy in class” to get him on his side. Turning to humor made his journey through school easier to bear, but did not make him any happier or fulfilled.
Ozzy Became The Working Class Kid
Ozzy Osbourne spent most of his childhood scavenging through abandoned World War II factories, helping his parents in their tool factory, or doing other menial jobs to make some cash. By the time he turned sixteen, he quit school altogether, saying goodbye to the hostile environment he’d strived years to fit into.
But his knack for befriending the bigger kids remained. The singer’s struggles began for real soon after dropping out as he strived to make a living. He did everything, from plumbing to working as a builder. Osbourne even worked at a slaughterhouse once, where he spent all day gagging.
Soon, it dawned on the then-teenager that he could never keep a 9 to five job. Around that time, he began hanging out with the bad boys of the neighborhood, mostly his perceived “bigger kids.” That led him to a life of crime.
Fighting, drinking, partying, petty crimes, and other illicit activities became his thing. At the height of his wild days, the star broke into a store behind their home and was caught, earning him six weeks in jail.
His dad failed to bail him out, as a way of teaching him a lesson. Osbourne would later admit he was never a career burglar, but simply broke into the store in hopes of getting caught, so he’d become accepted by the bad guys.
He soon discovered that was a wrong move on his part when prison proved more challenging than he thought. At the end of his stint, the icon knew he never wanted to return to prison or work in a factory. He realized he never wanted the life he was leading up until then.
The Road To stardom
Admittedly, Osbourne discovered his passion for music at the age of fourteen. He developed that flare after listening to a performance by The Beatles, a moment he revealed changed his life and gave him the desire to want to do it himself.
He nurtured that desire well into his adult years. Thankfully, Osbourne had a supportive dad, who was willing to nurture his son’s only passion into something great. Jack gave his son a cheque of 250 British pounds to purchase a Vox speaker, a Shure microphone, and a microphone stand.
That equipment gave the star the boost he needed to feed his passion and kickstart his music career. He began pursuing music, eventually teaming up with Terrence Butler, Tony Iommi, and Bill ward to form the band Polka Tulk Blues, later renamed Earth.
The group earned popularity in the late sixties, eventually adopting the band name, Black Sabbath once they wholly embraced the heavy metal genre. The band released several hits in the years that followed, including “The wizard,” “Evil Woman,” and “Paranoid.”
They also went on tours around the globe, further boosting their fame. Throughout his rise to stardom, Ozzy struggled with substance abuse, enduring several stints in rehab.
His drug and alcohol use contributed to cutting short their days of glory. Eventually, the band kicked him out, leaving Osbourne to pursue a solo career. Luckily, he attained commercial success as a solo artist, building on his reputation as the beloved Black Sabbath frontman.
Personal Life And Health Struggles
Ozzy Osbourne owes his solo success to his manager and wife Sharon Osbourne, nee Arden. The two tied the knot in July 1982, years after she became his manager. They went on to have three children together, Aimee, Kelly, and Jack Osbourne.
The family gained global stardom when they landed their own reality show, “The Osbournes,” which focused on the lives of the couple and their two younger kids. Before marrying Sharon, the icon was married to first wife Thelma Riley, with whom he shared two kids Jessica and Louis, and an adopted step-son Eliot.
Notably, his marriage to Sharon has been plagued with cheating scandals, domestic violence, several breakups, and multiple stints in rehab. Yet, the television personality stuck by her husband, eventually discovering the silver lining in their relationship.
His Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in February 2019 did not deter the talk show host from standing by her husband. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer went public with his struggle with Parkinson’s in early 2020, canceling a scheduled North American tour to seek treatment in Switzerland.
At over 73, Ozzy Osbourne remains committed to his music releasing hits like the “Ordinary Man” album which topped the Charts and attained commercial success throughout 2020 and 2021.