TV presenter Sharon Osbourne today accepted undisclosed but ‘substantial’libel damages over an article in the Sun which claimed she was ‘driving her frail husband Ozzy Osbourne to destruction.”
Her solicitor, John Kelly told Mr Justice David Eady that the article appeared on 1 October 2007 under the heading: ‘I fear poor Ozzy will die on the stage.”
Kelly told the judge: ‘The article wrongly alleged that the claimant was ‘driving her frail husband Ozzy Osbourne to destruction,’ was working Ozzy Osbourne ‘so hard she will kill him’ and that ‘Sharon will keep Ozzy on the road until like Tommy Cooper he dies on stage.'”
He said that the article alleged that Sharon, who has been married to Ozzy for 26 years, was putting her husband’s life at risk by forcing him to perform a series of live shows when he was not well enough and that her motivation for doing so was to fund her ‘exorbitant spending”.
Kelly continued: ‘These allegations are entirely without foundation and were obviously extremely distressing, hurtful and damaging for the claimant.
“The claimant’s distress was increased as a result of the claims in the article being made by the claimant’s estranged brother David Arden, and tagged with the words ‘Chilling warning from brother of X Factor Sharon’.”
Kelly said that a photograph of Ozzy published with the article was captioned: ‘Pushed too far – Ozzy looking like a man who’s had enough.”
The photograph was, in fact, taken in 2003 as part of a series of photographs of Ozzy completing a four-mile jog round UCLA athletics track in Los Angeles with a personal trainer, Kelly said.
He said that Sun publisher News Group Newspapers now accepted that the allegations complained of were defamatory and untrue and should never have been published.
‘The defendant accepts that the claimant did not and would not act to put her husband’s life at risk,” he added.
“The publication of the article has caused damage to the claimant’s personal and professional reputation and she hass suffered considerable embarrassment and distress as a result of it.”
Solicitor Patrick Callaghan said News Group Newspapers sincerely apologised for the distress and embarrassment the article had caused.