Inside the time Ozzy Osbourne tried to kill Sharon Osbourne

At this point, Ozzy Osbourne is known just as much for his seemingly endless antics as his career as a rock star. As the original lead singer of Black Sabbath, Ozzy is credited with helping expand the heavy metal subgenre into what it is today. Ozzy’s outlandish persona is part of what made the band such a success, including an infamous incident in 1982, where he bit the head off what he thought was a plastic bat, but was an actual animal. This incident is emblematic of the type of behavior fans came to expect from Ozzy; it’s also the type of behavior that eventually led to his dismissal from the band in 1979 and prompted him to begin a solo career.

Ozzy also became one of the original reality TV stars when in 2002 MTV picked up The Osbournes, a series following Ozzy at home with his wife Sharon and their children, Jack and Kelly. (Their other daughter Aimee Osbourne sat the series out.) The show was an immediate success and showed the Osbournes at their dysfunctional, but loving, best. The family was not always at their MTV best, however. Years before the series, a decidedly less-charming incident took place: one of attempted murder.

Ozzy Osbourne said trying to kill Sharon isn't on his list of 'greatest achievements'

In 1989, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne were returning from the Moscow Music Peace Festival. Ozzy reportedly downed four bottles of vodka, combined with another cocktail of drugs and tried to strangle his wife to death. “I don’t know who sat across from me on the sofa but it wasn’t my husband,” Sharon confessed, reflecting on that infamous night (via Us Weekly). “He goes to a stage where he gets that look in his eyes… and I just couldn’t get through to him. He just said ‘We’ve come to the decision that you’ve got to die.’ He was calm — very calm — then suddenly he lunged across me and just dived on me and started to choke me. He got me down on the ground on top of me.”

According to Page Six, Sharon managed to find a panic button in the struggle and police arrived in minutes. Ozzy was arrested and woke up in jail the next morning, completely unaware of what happened. Ozzy said the next morning he felt “the calmest [he] had ever felt in his life.” Remembering the incident, Ozzy said, “All I remember is waking up in Amersham jail and I asked the cop ‘Why am I here?’ And he says ‘You want me to read your charge?’ So he says ‘John Michael Osbourne, you have been arrested for attempted murder.'” He noted, “[It was] not exactly one of my greatest achievements.”

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne managed to put the attempted murder behind them

Though Sharon Osbourne decided to stay married to Ozzy Osbourne, the murder attempt still landed Ozzy in rehab for six months, giving Sharon the time to think about their relationship as she hadn’t before. “I told him, ‘I don’t want the money… but if you do this again, either I am going to kill you, or you are going to kill me,'” she recalled in the  Biography: Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne documentary (via Us Weekly). “And do you want that for the kids?” At the time, all three of the couple’s children were under the age of 7.

It is Sharon’s tough love that kept Ozzy alive and led to his renewed success in the 2000s on reality TV. For all of the antics that Sharon put up with, especially in their first decade of marriage, she retained a sense of humor. Reflecting to The Guardian in 2001, Sharon summed it all up: “It’s funny now… It wasn’t then.” Ozzy and Sharon’s ups and downs may not look like those of a regular couple, but their commitment to their marriage seems to be the most normal thing about them.

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