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.