Did Sharon Osbourne apologize to Sheryl Underwood after their blow-up on “The Talk,” as she said she did? Underwood says Osbourne didn’t call. Osbourne says she texted three times.
Underwood says texts aren’t the same as a phone call to say you’re sorry.
The controversy over allegations of racism that recently cost Osbourne her job on the CBS daytime show seems to be sputtering out, with the British TV personality talking to the Daily Mail’s website and Underwood speaking out on three episodes of her podcast about the details of what went down. One issue was the apologies.
Underwood said she apologized in person to Osbourne: “Did it on the air. Did it afterwards. Did it between the Thursday shows [that they taped the next day],” she said in one of three podcasts dedicated to the topic. “And that is my disappointment. That is where I have a disappointment. Because here I am, again, saying forgive me and accept my apology.”
Underwood said she and Osbourne were “fast friends” before the March 10 on-air incident when Osbourne spiraled as she explained her defense of friend Piers Morgan’s freedom of speech and his inflammatory comments about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. The discussion grew heated as an emotional Osbourne went on the defensive with Underwood and fellow co-hosts Elaine Welteroth and Amanda Kloots.
Underwood acknowledged in her Saturday podcast episode that afterward “there were reaches out to say I understand what you’re going through and I know you need your space.” She suggested that she didn’t respond to Osbourne’s texts because she was afraid that “innocent” responses might wind up somewhere in a story, as many articles about the drama featured quotes from anonymous sources.
“There was so much swirling around in the media … so you don’t know who you can talk to,” Underwood said.
“This thing got so big, it wasn’t even about me anymore,” the comic said. She said it quickly got to a place where there was no role for her anymore in terms of saving Osbourne’s job. “If this had played out differently,” she said (perhaps without Osbourne doing interviews during the investigation), there would have been no departure from the show.
Underwood said she thought Osbourne wasn’t getting good advice and counsel during the investigation.
But it sounds as if all Osbourne took away from the podcasts was that Underwood said the former “America’s Got Talent” judge hadn’t apologized to her at all. So on Tuesday Osbourne produced receipts with three text messages she had sent and alleged she had apologized to Underwood in person as well.
“I not only sent these messages to Sheryl but I apologized to her in person in her dressing room,” Osbourne told the Daily Mail, which included her text screengrabs. “Why are you saying I never apologized, Sheryl? What are you trying to do to me?
“Why are you trying to destroy my reputation? Just be honest. Tell me,” she said.
Sharon’s initial text apology, sent March 12, reads as follows, according to screengrabs:
“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— off during the 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 felt shocked, scared and saddened by what felt like [it] was a blind sided attack. You know me. You know how I’ve always had your back. We’ve outlasted everyone at this show and that’s because we’ve always been a team and had each other[‘s] backs. I consider you a genuine friend. If you want to talk over the weekend I’m here. Once again from the bottom of my heart I’m sorry. If there anything You need from me or that I can do to help you heal? Love and respect always — Sharon.”
The following text, dated three days later, was the one that referred to needing space and invited Underwood to talk over the weekend. A third, dated March 18, simply said Osbourne was thinking of Underwood and sending her love.
Incidentally, Osbourne had accused network executives of providing questions designed to provoke a response from her when the show revisited her initial defense of Morgan against allegations of racism. (Morgan’s disbelief of what Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in a CBS interview was racist, Underwood and others said.)
“The Talk” went on a short hiatus after the episodes that taped March 11. That hiatus was extended, but the show will finally return this coming Monday. CBS conducted an investigation of events during the break, and on March 26 it was announced that Osbourne was leaving the show.
“The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home,” CBS said in a statement. “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. We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.”
During the hiatus, “The Talk” hosts, staff and crew were offered workshops, listening sessions and training about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness, the network said. Underwood acknowledged those classes in one of her podcasts.