Sharon Osbourne didn’t hold back in her first interview since it was announced on Mar. 26 that she would not be returning to The Talk following a Mar. 10 on-air dust-up with co-host Sheryl Underwood, 57. The feisty 68-year-old Brit appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on Apr. 16, and told him that she’s “angry and hurt” by what went down, but that she’s a “fighter.” Sharon then said “I’m used to being called names. A racist is one I will not take.” She then railed on cancel culture, saying “I’m doing just fine. What about the people that are cut from the knees down who can’t afford to get lessons now on what’s politically correct? What happens to them? It’s not fair. It isn’t about being a racist. It’s maybe not knowing what is correct and woke for your language that day. It changes from day to day what is correct.”
Sharon and Sheryl — who is Black — got into it after Sharon backed up pal Piers Morgan‘s right to say that he didn’t believe all of Meghan Markle‘s claims in her bombshell Mar. 7 Oprah Winfrey interview, and the conversation ended up turning to racial issues. Sharon demanded to know exactly what it was that Piers said that made him a “racist,” after Sheryl said that Piers used “racial implications with the way he spoke about Meghan.” On Real Time, Bill summarized, “So he was called a racist and lost his job and you were called a racist and lost your job. Do I have it right?” and Sharon told him, “You’ve got it right, that’s exactly how it went.”
The show went on a hiatus the next day to investigate what went down, as the rest of the co-hosts looked uncomfortable during Sharon and Sheryl’s exchange. At one point, Sharon told her co-host — who seemed on the verge of tears — to not “cry,” because it was Sharon who felt ganged up on over having to defend her friend’s right to express his opinion.
Sharon later claimed that she was was “blindsided” by producers, alleging they gave Sheryl and the others cue cards with questions that would amp up the drama. CBS later said in a statement, “We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.”
The network said in a Mar. 26 release, “Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk. The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. As part of our review, we concluded that Sharon’s behavior toward her co-hosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace.”
Sheryl later stated during her Apr. 4 Sheryl Underwood Radio podcast that Sharon had not reached out to apologize following their on-air confrontation. But Sharon fought back and claimed to have receipts showing she did…and multiple times, in alleged texts obtained by the Daily Mail. On Apr. 6, the publication showed one alleged text dated 7:28pm on March 12 — two days after the on-air tiff — that read, “Sheryl, My heart is heavy and I’m deeply saddened by the events that transpired on Wednesday. I don’t want to lose my true friend over this. Im sorry for telling you to f**k off during break, I’m sorry for accusing you of fake crying while we were live on air and I’m sorry for losing my temper with you. I consider you a genuine friend. If you want to talk on the phone over the weekend I’m here. Once again from the bottom of my heart I’m sorry.”
In another alleged text sent at 1:45pm on March 15, Sharon wrote, “Hi Sheryl. I know you’re taking space and I don’t want to disrespect that. I’m just reaching out because I want you [to] know I’m thinking about you. If you are willing, can we talk before Wednesday? Big kiss.” At 4:32pm on March 18, Sharon allegedly again checked in again, writing, “Sheryl I am thinking about you. Hope you are well. Sending my love.” Sharon then told the DailyMail.com, “I not only sent these messages to Sheryl but I apologized to her in person in her dressing room,“ then asked “Why are you saying I never apologized Sheryl? What are you trying to do to?”
When The Talk finally returned on Apr. 12, Sheryl explained to her co-hosts and viewers, “I didn’t want to escalate things with Sharon, because I thought I was having a conversation with a friend, but also, I knew I had to be an example for others to follow. I didn’t want to be perceived as that angry Black woman, and that really scared me. I didn’t want to be that and I wanted to remain calm and focused.” Sheryl also said the incident caused her “trauma,” adding, “It’s difficult to go back to that day, because I feel trauma. I feel fearful. I feel apprehensive. I thought I was talking to a friend and someone I could trust.”