Ozzy Osbourne has enjoyed an incredible, yet controversial time in the spotlight. In celebration of the 17th anniversary of “The Osbournes” series finale on March 21, 2005, Vintage Heavy Metal is taking a photographic look back at the life of Ozzy Osbourne.
John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne was born in Birmingham, England, on Dec. 3, 1948, to working-class parents. He began performing in school plays as a child and knew he wanted to be singer when he heard The Beatles’ “She Loves You” in 1968. The future superstar dropped out of school at 15 and worked a series of odd jobs including trainee plumber, apprentice toolmaker and car factory horn-tuner before he was arrested for burglary. After spending six weeks in prison, Ozzy formed his first band in 1967. He’s seen here a few years later circa 1973.
In 1969, Ozzy Osbourne teamed up with Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward to form Black Sabbath. The band was a success as they released their chart-topping first album, “Black Sabbath,” and their second album, “Paranoid,” in the same year. Just five months after “Paranoid,” Black Sabbath released a third album, “Master of Reality,” which immediately went gold.
In 1973, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath released their biggest album yet, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.” It was critically acclaimed and went on to be certified platinum.
Ozzy Osbourne is seen here in 1975, the same year Black Sabbath released their sixth album, “Sabotage.” After the wild success of their first five, this one was their first that — despite making the Top 20 — failed to go platinum in the States. The same year, Ozzy was injured in a motorcycle accident, which led his band to cut short a tour featuring KISS as their opening act. That December, Black Sabbath’s record label inexplicably released a greatest hits album without the band’s input.
In addition to his career success, Ozzy Osbourne also became a family man during the early ’70s. He wed Thelma Riley in 1971 and they soon welcomed two children, Jessica and Louis. Ozzy later referred to his first marriage as “a terrible mistake” and admitted that, due to his drug and alcohol addiction, he couldn’t even remember when his first two children were born. Ozzy, Jessica and Louis are pictured here in 1978.
By 1976, the relationship between Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne was strained. The band had begun heavily abusing drugs and alcohol, with Ozzy partying the hardest. “I get high, I get f—ed up,” he admitted to Sounds in 1978. “What the hell’s wrong with getting f—ed up? There must be something wrong with the system if so many people have to get f—ed up … I never take dope or anything before I go on stage. I’ll smoke a joint or whatever afterwards.” Ozzy, seen here with the band in 1978, was fired from Black Sabbath in April 1979 for his unreliability and substance abuse problems.
After spending “three months doing coke and booze,” Ozzy Osbourne told Classic Rock magazine, he bounced back from his firing with a solo career. The rocker began performing with a new band, Blizzard of Ozz in 1979. His debut solo album, “Blizzard of Ozz” was released in 1980 to universal praise. It went on to achieve multi-platinum status and became one of the best selling albums of the 1980s.
Ozzy Osbourne also found love in the early 1980s. He became reacquainted with Sharon Osbourne, then known as Sharon Arden, whom he’d met in the ’70s when her father, Don Arden, managed Black Sabbath. After Don and the band fired Ozzy, the future “The Talk” host started managing him as a solo act and the two soon fell head-over-heels in love. Sharon and Ozzy married in Hawaii on July 4, 1982. They’re seen here a few months before their wedding.
In 1982, Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat he thought was rubber while performing in Iowa. He later shared in 2002 that the bat bit him back, leading to him being treated for rabies. In January 2019, Ozzy (seen here shooting the cover of “Diary of a Madman” in 1981) commemorated the 37th anniversary of the bat-biting incident with the release of an Ozzy plush bat toy “with detachable head.”
Ozzy Osbourne (seen here in 1981) continued to perform with Blizzard of Ozz, releasing four more albums in the 1980s: “Diary of a Madman,” “Bark at the Moon,” “The Ultimate Sin” and “No Rest for the Wicked.”
When Ozzy Osbourne wasn’t rocking out or causing controversy, he was spending time with his growing family. He and Sharon Osbourne welcomed their first child together, daughter Aimee Osbourne, in September 1983. The family of three are pictured here in 1984.
A few weeks before this studio portrait was taken in Detroit on March 6, 1984, Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for public intoxication after he was busted urinating on the famed Cenotaph statue across the street from the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. He got out on a $40 bond in time to perform at the city’s convention center the same night. But it wouldn’t be his first arrest that spring.
Ozzy Osbourne was arrested again, this time on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication after police found him staggering around the entertainment district in Memphis, Tennessee. He’s seen here in a mug shot taken by Shelby County police on May 15, 1984.
The life of Ozzy Osbourne and wife Sharon became a little brighter as they welcomed their second daughter in October 1984. Kelly and Ozzy are pictured here shortly after her birth.
Ozzy Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne’s family was complete with the birth of their son, Jack Osbourne, in November 1985. The entire family is seen here at their home in 1987.
In the late ’80s, Ozzy Osbourne was often intoxicated to the point that he and Sharon Osbourne began physically fighting. Sharon would later describe herself as “a beaten woman” during her marriage to the rocker. The violence, drugs and alcohol abuse hit a boiling point when Ozzy was arrested in 1989 for attempted murder after he tried to strangle Sharon in a drunken and high haze. The rock star (seen here on his way to court in Buckinghamshire, England) spent six months in rehab following the incident and the couple remained married.
In 1996, Ozzy Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne started one of their biggest projects to date: Ozzfest. The heavy metal music tour was a major hit with fans and a major moneymaker for Ozzy (seen here the same year Ozzfest began). More than five million people have attended Ozzfest since it began, and the show has grossed more than $100 million. The festival tour also contributed to Ozzy becoming the first heavy metal star to make $50 million in merchandise sales.
Ozzy Osbourne is shown here enjoying the fruits of his labor, including numerous gold and platinum plaques. He’s pictured at his home in 1996.
In 1997, Ozzy Osbourne reunited with the original members of Black Sabbath for the first time since his firing nearly 20 years earlier. The band came together to perform at Ozzfest in 1997 to the delight of music lovers everywhere.
Ozzy Osbourne also continued to spend quality time with his family during the ’90s. He’s pictured with wife Sharon Osbourne and their kids, Kelly, Jack and Aimee, at the Kerrang Awards in London in 1997.
Ozzy Osbourne released his first album in six years in 2001. “Down to Earth” went gold upon release and was certified platinum two years later. It’s lead single, “Dreamer,” peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
Also in 2005: Ozzy Osbourne decided to expand his resume in a whole new way. The heavy metal rocker began starring on the MTV reality TV show “The Osbournes” alongside his wife, Sharon Osbourne, and two of his five children, Kelly Osbourne and Jack Osbourne. The series became one of the most viewed MTV shows ever and produced several memorable pop culture moments. “The Osbournes” lasted for four seasons before ending in 2005. Ozzy later told the BBC that he was “stoned during the entire filming of ‘The Osbournes.'”
Ozzy posed with wife Sharon and four of his five kids — Aimee, Kelly, Jack and Louis Osbourne (his son from his first marriage; Louis’s big sister, Jessica, has reportedly been estranged from Ozzy over the years) — when he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 12, 2002.
Four months after Ozzy and wife Sharon renewed their wedding vows with a star-studded ceremony on New Year’s Eve 2002, the couple celebrated more happy news: On May 2, 2003, Ozzy and Sharon cheered during an appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” as they announced that Sharon, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, was cancer-free. But just a few months later in December 2003, the couple faced more health woes when Ozzy was seriously injured in a quad bike accident on the grounds of his Buckinghamshire estate in England. He broke his collarbone, six ribs and a neck vertebra and suffered bleeding in his lungs. Thankfully, he soon recovered.
In late 2003, Ozzy Osbourne achieved his first ever U.K. No. 1 single, thanks to some help from his daughter, Kelly Osbourne: The two recorded a duet of the Black Sabbath ballad “Changes.
The Life of Ozzy Osbourne never slowed down for a moment, he continued to tour, perform and record new music throughout the 2000s. He released his ninth studio album, “Under Cover,” in 2005 and followed it up with 2007’s “Black Rain” and 2010’s “Scream.” In 2009, he published his autobiography, “I Am Ozzy.” It was during this time that Ozzy also spoke out about his continued sobriety after years of drugging and drinking. “I thought I’d never write again without any stimulation,” he told Billboard. “But you know what? Instead of picking up the bottle I just got honest and said, ‘I don’t want life to go [to pieces].'” He’s pictured here at VH1’s “Rock Honors” in 2007.
In 2011, Ozzy Osbourne reunited with Black Sabbath for their first studio album since the 1970s. The album, “13,” was released two years later. The band embarked on a world concert trek, “The End” tour, in 2016. It grossed more than $85 million.
Ozzy became a grandfather for the fifth time in 2012 when his youngest son, Jack Osbourne, welcomed a daughter with then-girlfriend Lisa Stelly. Pearl Clementine was the first grandchild for Ozzy and Sharon together.
Sadly, Ozzy relapsed in 2013 (he’s pictured here that June) after years of sobriety. “For the last year and a half I have been drinking and taking drugs,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “I was in a very dark place and was an a–hole to the people I love most, my family.” Six months after returning to rehab and sobering up, Ozzy reflected on his relapse, telling the Sunshine Coast Daily: “I thought I was gonna lose my family at one point. [Sharon] just said, ‘Look, I’ve got my own thing going on and I can’t deal with you anymore. Get the f— out, sort yourself out, then we’ll talk.’ I don’t blame her in the slightest.”
Ozzy returned to reality TV in 2016. He partnered with son Jack Osbourne for “Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour” on the History Channel.