Right from the start, I knew my conversation with Kelly Osbourne would be one of the most raw and honest ones I’d had in a long time.
The singer, songwriter, actress, talk show host, and fashion designer (to name just a few) doesn’t pull any punches when discussing her life. For someone who has experienced a lifetime of ups and downs in just 32 years, Osbourne keeps getting back up to prove her critics wrong; it’s the fuel that keeps her going.
“People either really like me or really hate me—there is no middle ground,” she says. “I’m pretty transparent and I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not. I look at the world differently because of the things I’ve experienced.”
Growing Up Osbourne
Born in London to rock-and-roll royalty, Osbourne was only 3 months old when she first came to the United States. “My dad was flown to the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs [an addiction treatment center] for the first time the day after I was born,” says the entertainer.
From London to Palm Springs to life on the road, Osbourne’s childhood was unconventional, to say the least. From birth to age 20, the majority of her life was spent on a tour bus. Still, the adventures and life lessons born out of that “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” era shaped her into the person she is today—and made her a self-described “open book.”
“The less skeletons you have in your closet, the less people can dig up on you,” she says. “My whole life I’ve watched people dig for skeletons on my parents, and my mum always beats them to the punch.”
America’s First Family
It’s no wonder the family decided to open their lives to the world on an unprecedented reality TV show, “The Osbournes.” The show, which aired from 2002 to 2005, was the first of its kind to allow viewers complete access to a celebrity family’s everyday life.
“We had camera crews in our house 24 hours a day,” says Osbourne. “It was life as it happened, and in the beginning I had no idea what I was doing.”
Still, she says she has no regrets about the show. “There are so many ‘woulda, coulda, shouldas’ in life, and if you keep looking back, you’ll always be living in the past,” says Osbourne. “I wouldn’t have everything I do now if it weren’t for the mistakes I’ve made; they’ve gotten me where I am today.”
In a new book, the brutally honest Osbourne shares everything from her personal struggles with addiction and Lyme disease to her mother’s battle with cancer and her father’s near-death experience from an all-terrain vehicle accident.
Being constantly asked, “What’s your secret?” led Osbourne to title her book, “There Is No F*ing Secret: Letters from a Badass Bitch.”
“It’s more about common sense,” she says. “If you’re a good person, do good things, and work hard at something, good things will happen. That’s not a secret; that’s life.”
The book is structured through a collection of letters to various people and places in Osbourne’s life. The idea was born out of the fact that at times in her life, writing letters was the only way she was able to communicate. Kate Williams, Osbourne’s co-author, helped her take all of her thoughts and structure them in an unconventional way.
“I don’t like when you have to read [a book] from page one ‘til the end; I’m a rule breaker and I like to pick it up and put it down,” she says. “That’s why I wrote it this way.”
Though she says the writing process was therapeutic, it also left her feeling extremely vulnerable. “This is who I am, and this book is something that will make those who read it understand that,” she says. “Everything in my life is an extreme; there is no in-between. You can’t just have an OK day in the world of the Osbournes.”
Passion for Fashion
Whether you’re reading her book, listening to one of her albums, or you’ve watched her on TV shows like “Fashion Police,” “Dancing with the Stars,” or “Project Runway: Junior,” you can see that Osbourne is not afraid to take risks.
“In some ways I’m obnoxiously brave,” she says. “I’ll shave my hair—who cares, it grows back—but anyone else would be thinking, ‘Oh god, I shaved my head!’”
Fashion is one of Osbourne’s greatest loves because it allows her to have fun and express herself. But don’t think for a moment that she’ll conform to what everyone else is doing.
“There is an unspoken evilness in our society that people have to look a certain way, have the same ombré hair color, carry the same handbag, or wear the same designer shoe,” she says. “It’s not about what you wear, but how you wear it. You’ll never hear me tell someone to wear anything other than what makes them feel their best.”
When it comes to her own style, Osbourne draws inspiration from everything around her. “The haircut I have now was inspired by what I saw when looking through an old book of people from a mental institution in the late 18th century,” she says. “With electroshock therapy they would shave small patches on the side of the head; I just started shaving more and more.”
In fact, a lot of Osbourne’s fashion references come from a previous time period. Exposure to various walks of life, genres, and decades has left a mark.
“Sometimes you grab onto things,” she says. “Right now I’m in a real religious motif—think Jude Law in ‘The Young Pope.’”
“I’ve also become obsessed with learning about fashion history, like who was the first person to put safety pins on clothing on the runway?” (It was English fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.) “Fashion is an ever-revolving wheel of the past, present, and future that you can have fun with and use to express yourself.”
Of course, fashion isn’t the only way the entertainer expresses herself. From 2014 to 2016, the ever-evolving Osbourne found success on Disney’s animated TV series “The 7D,” a lively take on “The Seven Dwarfs.” Fun fact: Her character, Hildy Gloom, bears an uncanny resemblance to the lavender-haired beauty, though Gloom was designed two years before Osbourne read for the part.
She describes the experience of working with Disney as an incredible one. “They brought out a side of me I didn’t know I had or that I was even capable of,” says Osbourne. “My acting is so much better because of it.”
Plus, a song she recorded for the show was nominated for a Daytime Emmy award—she is the daughter of a rock-and-roll legend, after all.
Though her career has been comprised of a wide variety of projects, if you ask her to choose just one passion, Osbourne will pick music—hands down: “No matter if it’s a good song or not, if it makes you happy, it makes you happy.”
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