Nearly a decade ago, Sharon Osbourne and her family changed reality television. The four stars of MTV’s The Osbournes—Sharon, now 58, rocker husband Ozzy, now 62, Kelly, now 26, and Jack, now 25—captivated America with both their foul mouths and their deep family bonds. Audiences particularly fell for Sharon, the unconventional matriarch, who has since appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice and Britain’s The X Factor, hosted VH1’s Rock of Love: Charm School and joined the cast of The Talk. Now as a judge on America’s Got Talent, she graces nearly 15 million televisions each week. More spoke with Osbourne about how she juggles her roles as star judge, mother and mighty businesswoman.
More: America’s Got Talent is about halfway through its sixth season. What has this season been like for you?
Sharon Osbourne: It’s been fantastic because I think that the production side has really stepped up, and so has the quality of our contestants. It just keeps getting better and better. It’s not one of those shows that stays the same.
More: What’s the atmosphere like off-screen between you and Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan?
SO: I get on great with Howie. With Piers, it always has to be about him. Everything you see is about him. As long as you understand that it’s the world according to Piers, you’re fine.
More: You’re very outspoken. What happens when you get really attached to a contestant that the other judges don’t like?
SO: You fight your ground; you fight for what you believe in. I think the reason it works so well is because we’ve all got different tastes. My tastes are more over-the-top; I don’t like subtle. I don’t always look for someone with the perfect voice. I look for personality as well as talent and likability.
More: So you’re a Lady Gaga fan?
SO: Love it, love it, love it! She’s so over the top. She’s got a personality that matches her talent. It’s no good having somebody that is so talented but when you talk to them, it’s like watching paint dry. She’s got it all.
More: How do you juggle all the things you do—judging America’s Got Talent, appearing on The Talk, running your charity [the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Foundation, a patient resource program at Cedars-Sinai], being a mother of three?
SO: You can’t do everything well. People say they can, but they don’t. You can’t do everything well, and it’s a lot to handle—a lot of taking care of my husband’s business, a lot of taking care of my kids’ business. You give up a lot on your social life, doing what we do.
More: It wasn’t until your MTV show, The Osbournes, debuted in 2002 that you really became a force in American show business. What was it like approaching 50 and becoming a whole new kind of star?
SO: I was very happy that it happened at the age that I was, because I would have blown it if it had happened to me when I was younger. I was obnoxious and I wouldn’t have really appreciated it.
More: With all of the projects you’ve done in the past few years—America’s Got Talent, The X Factor, The Celebrity Apprentice—what has been the most challenging?
SO: The worst thing I ever did was Celebrity Apprentice. I thought it was all charity based, and how stupid am I? It’s a TV program. They just want to make good TV; it’s not about raising money. That’s just the hook to get you in. I was very naïve and I got hooked into the bullshit.
More: You’ve done a lot for the sake of show business—you’ve opened up your home, publicly shared your battle with cancer and your history of abuse—but what is something you would never share with the public?
SO: I wouldn’t do cosmetic surgery [on TV]. People don’t learn anything by? that. You’re not sharing something that can help somebody out. It’s like watching somebody on the toilet. That’s just for your own benefit of trying to get ratings.
More: As one of the original reality stars, what do you think of today’s reality TV, like The Real Housewives franchise?
SO: It fascinates me— the fact that people can be invested in people who aren’t famous, who have no notoriety. I’m not knocking it at all; I just think it’s just an insight into how we all are.
More: Do you ever regret opening certain parts of your life—or Ozzy’s or Kelly’s or Jack’s—to the public?
SO: Yes, sometimes, but then overall, on a business and emotional side, we got more from it. I can’t sit and say that I wish I’d never done that because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. The only consolation I have to opening everything up so much was that a lot of it was done out of naivety. I didn’t know the repercussions because it hadn’t been done before. I honestly didn’t think it was going to go as well as it did.
More: How is your relationship today with Ozzy and the kids different than it was 10 years ago?
SO: It’s very different because my children are now adults and my husband and I are now 11 years longer together. Nothing in life stays the same; everything in life changes. I now have adult relationships with my kids and my husband and I are 11 years closer than we were before.
More: How do you deal with media scrutiny of you and your family? You used to send boxes of excrement to reporters when they wrote something negative about you’re family, but it seems like those days are over.
SO: I’m a businesswoman and I’ve been raised in this industry and I know how important the press is. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But it’s like showing a painting to 100 different people—you will have 100 different opinions of that painting. I don’t mind being critiqued, but I don’t like having lies written about me or my family. I will take the truth, but when people embellish and make stories up, they’ll get a bag of shit [Laughs]. Not anymore, I shouldn’t say that. I’m over it. Look at what’s happening in the English press [with the News of the World hacking scandal]. There’s always going to be the minority of people who like to write bullshit, who like to embellish the truth. You just have to accept it. As you get older, it’s easier to accept. It’s the world we live in and you can’t fight everything.
More: You were once a big supporter of plastic surgery but then you swore it off. Why?
SO: You have to know when it’s enough. I still think it’s amazing, but I had to know when to stop.
More: Not all women know when to stop…
SO: They don’t, and they do end up looking like the Joker [laughs].
More: How did you find your stopping point?
SO: You have to understand that you’re going to get your face done and it’s going to get lined again. You’re going to have your breasts done and they’re going to fall again. You have to accept that. Every time you get a wrinkle or a frown line or something, you have to accept it’s a part of who you are. You can’t be lineless for your entire life. It looks grotesque after a while.
More: Why did you decide to have your breast implants removed?
SO: It’s still on my list to do, and hopefully I can do it this autumn. It’s a joke because they last a while, they look fantastic, but then they drop like everything else. And instead of just you dropping, you’ve now got a bag of saline swinging around your chest.
More: You’ve done so much in your career already—is there anything left you really want to do?
SO: I want to do more theater. I love the live audience. I did a short run of The Vagina Monologues in the UK and I just loved it.
More: Do you think that the perception of you has softened since you first came out with The Osbournes?
SO: I don’t really honestly know what people think of me. I hope they like me, but I’m not the sort of person who’s going to do market research on what people think of me. You just be yourself and you hope that people like you. And if they don’t, it’s OK, because they don’t really know you. I don’t think anybody wants to be in this industry and be disliked — other than Piers Morgan [laughs].
More: And Simon Cowell?
SO: Oh no, he’s not like that. He wants to be liked. He doesn’t want to be disliked at all. Take it from me!
Want MORE? Check out our interview with Stevie Nicks.
Don’t miss out on MORE great articles like this one. Click here to sign up for our free weekly newsletter!