Underwood addressed her former cohost’s exit at length on three different episodes of her podcast.
After staying silent in the press as controversy ripped through “The Talk,” Sheryl Underwood finally spoke out about Sharon Osbourne’s exit from the morning show — and it didn’t take long for Osbourne to hit back at one of her claims.
ICYMI: Underwood questioned Osbourne over her defense of Piers Morgan on “The Talk” last month, after he attacked Meghan Markle following her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. The exchange between Osbourne and Underwood blew up, as Underwood said some viewed Morgan’s attacks on Markle as racist, while Osbourne demanded proof and expressed concern about herself coming off as racist for defending him. The show went on hiatus, an internal investigation was done and Osbourne “decided to leave.”
“I felt, because there was an investigation, be quiet,” Underwood said, explaining her initial silence on her podcast — in three episodes titled “Sharon Walks Away.” She added, “I want to be clear, I don’t have power to hire, I don’t have power to fire.”
While Osbourne has said she felt “blindsided” by the discussion, Underwood said that, as moderator that day, none of her questions came from execs or producers. She said the only input she got from producers was help in how to shape the questions in a way that would guide the conversation and not come across as combative.
“In talking about what I wanted to ask in a way that was not perceived as attacking — I was already thinking, I thought this was gonna go left. In my gut, I thought this was going to go left,” she explained. “And so I wanted to put it in its proper order, be very calm, but there were a few people that criticized me on that — ‘Why do you give any f—s about somebody’s feelings? They give no f—s about yours.’ It’s not about the reaction of the person, it’s about me and who I’m trying to evolve and mature to be.”
Underwood said she has not spoken with Osbourne since their last day on set together. “I’ve been looking through my phone,” she added, as her cohosts said Sharon claimed she reached out. She then scrolled back through her call log on air and didn’t correct her cohosts when they called Sharon a “liar.” Later in the podcast, Underwood vaguely said she did receive text messages from someone — without saying who — that read, “I understand what you’re going through and I know you need your space.”
In an effort to prove she did in fact reach out to Underwood, Osbourne leaked her text messages to her former cohost to the DailyMail on Tuesday. “I not only sent these messages to Sheryl but I apologized to her in person in her dressing room,” she told the publication. “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.”
In the texts posted on DailyMail, Osbourne wrote that her “heart is heavy” and she was “deeply saddened” by their altercation. “I’m 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,” she continued. Osbourne allegedly followed up a couple days later and said that, while she understood Sheryl needed space, she hoped they could talk or she could help Underwood “heal.”
She allegedly followed that up with two more texts, but all of them went unanswered. TooFab has reached out to Underwood’s rep for additional comment.
During her podcast, Underwood added she hadn’t heard “personally” from any other former cohosts in the aftermath, even though Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete had both spoken out with their own claims about Osbourne in the days following the incident.
Sheryl said she and Sharon were “fast friends” once Underwood joined the show — and claimed she had been warned about her cohost before taking the job. “I heard things and I was like, ‘They got nothing to do with me,'” she said. “My thing is I’m going to get to know you first. I had heard things, and I got phone calls of this and that and everything, so what I said to those people, I said, ‘Thank you for the information.’ Because listen, in this business you’ve got all types of personalities, right?”
Underwood added that she felt an “odd feeling” about how Sharon initially apologized, as her first post had no direct mention of Sheryl in it at all. Osbourne did go on to address Underwood specifically in followup interviews.
“A lot of people said ‘Sharon Osbourne was not your friend.’ I can see the way people feel like that. I can see that,” Underwood continued. “A lot of people felt, who would do that? What friend would do that?”
“I still love the Osbournes, from what I’ve known of them. I don’t know anything other than what I’ve experienced with them, and this thing that has happened is disappointing to me,” she added. “And maybe people don’t want to hear me say, ‘I still love the Osbournes.’ I’m not saying I liked being treated the way I was treated. I’m very disappointed. And I’m just trying to navigate my feelings about that because it was a trauma.”
After saying she couldn’t “fight” on-air because she knew she’d be painted as “the angry Black woman,” Underwood said the incident did allow her to demonstrate how she’s grown and matured.
“A lot of people say why would be grateful about being racially attacked verbally? I would say one maybe, two people caught when I said that I’d matured. I’d never had a chance to show that,” she explained. “I had never had a chance to demonstratively show that I had matured because everybody else’s expectation of me was wrath, or immaturity or reaction to any attack with profane language. Now you hear me say when you want to get defensive and attack, put your weapon down because then you can think clearly. Un-ball your fists. Don’t be so quick to defend.”
“The disappointment was not just what happened that day, but every interview, every utterance, all the leaking after the fact that I had to show, did the maturity stick?” she added. “I could have reacted to everything in the media, couldn’t I? Every lie, every leak, every misrepresentation.”
Of Morgan himself, Underwood said she believes he has said and done things “people could perceive as racist” and, whether or not he actually is, he fed into it in a way that comes with consequences. “You trafficked in it, people liked it, the polarization backed you into a corner and now you want to portray yourself as the victim,” she added. “Why is it that now you’re the victim, as opposed to those who are really victimized?”
She also said she hopes people continue to watch “The Talk,” saying she wants viewers to “pray for our evolution.”