If you’re among the millions of viewers who enjoyed MTV’s reality series The Osbournes, you’re probably familiar with the sound of Ozzy Osbourne shouting “Sharon!” to grab his wife’s attention. But before Sharon Osbourne, there was Thelma Riley, Ozzy Osbourne’s first wife.
Unfortunately, this rock star’s first go at being a husband and dad was a dark chapter in his life. Learn more about his marriage to Thelma and why it ultimately failed.
Ozzy Osbourne Has Been Married To Sharon Osbourne For 38 years
Ozzy Osbourne first met Sharon in 1970, when the then 18-year-old was working for her father, Black Sabbath manager Don Arden. But in 1979, after the Prince of Darkness was booted from the band for his substance abuse problems, Sharon began to date the former frontman and manage his solo career.
The couple married in 1982 and went on to have three children: Aimee, Jack, and Kelly. The family (minus Aimee) brought non-stop laughter to audiences when The Osbournes premiered in 2002. But behind the scenes, there was a hefty dose of dysfunction. In 1989, Ozzy was arrested for attempted murder after physically attacking Sharon. He spent six months in medical detention, but the incident wasn’t enough to end their marriage.
Neither was Ozzy’s relapse into drug and alcohol use in 2013. Rumors swirled that a split was imminent, but Sharon cleared things up on an episode of The Talk.
“We’re not getting divorced,” she said. “However, am I happy? No. Am I upset? Yes I am. I’m devastated right now.”
A scandal that went down in 2016 hurt Sharon far worse. It was revealed that Ozzy had carried on a four-year-long affair with hairstylist Michelle Pugh. It was enough for her to split with Ozzy after 33 years of marriage.
But even then, the separation didn’t last. Within a few months, the couple appeared together at the Daytime Emmys. “35 years with someone is a hell of a long time,” Sharon said in a 2017 episode of The Talk. “And I think I fell out of love with my husband and then fell back again … he was trying so hard to be a better person … I just had a newfound love, and I respected him because he’s seriously trying to be a better person.”
It sounds like nothing can put a dent in their commitment to each other. However, something many people don’t know is that before he lucked out with Sharon, Ozzy was in a failed marriage to a woman named Thelma Riley. Find out who she is and why she was unable to give her ex-husband the same patience and forgiveness as his second wife.
Thelma Riley Was Ozzy’s First Wife
In his 2010 autobiography I Am Ozzy, the rock star says he met his first wife Thelma Riley in 1971 at the Rum Runner, a nightclub in Birmingham, England. The couple moved quickly, marrying the same year and welcoming their first child, Jessica, the next. Ozzy and Thelma had a total of three children, including son Louis and adopted son Elliot.
But he prioritized his addictions over his family. In the 2011 documentary God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, Jessica and Louis said he was both physically and emotionally absent. He was often traveling and consumed by his need for booze and cocaine; he also fell in love with Sharon while he was still married.
Shortly after Ozzy’s father died and he was kicked out of Black Sabbath, Thelma divorced her hard-partying hubby.
Ozzy Admits He Treated Thelma “Very Badly”
Ozzy takes accountability for his part in the failed marriage. “I must have been a horrendous step-dad,” he wrote in I Am Ozzy. “And if I loved Thelma, I certainly didn’t treat her like I did. If I’ve got any regrets about my life that’s one of them … She didn’t deserve it: she wasn’t a bad person, and she wasn’t a bad wife.”
Perhaps that gives some comfort to his first two kids, who paid the price for his behavior. In God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, Louis says that his father would never call on his birthday. In a separate scene, Ozzy is unable to recall the date of Jessica’s birth. (“I don’t really know,” he says. “I’ll find out for you.”)
What Is Thelma Riley Doing Today?
Although Louis made an appearance on The Osbournes, it looks like Thelma is no longer involved in Ozzy’s life. She currently goes by the name Thelma Mayfair, and is reportedly a teacher in Leicestershire, England.
Thelma has no known social media accounts, and she doesn’t dwell on her former marriage by speaking to tabloids. She has successfully managed to stay out of the spotlight since her divorce, and we imagine that’s exactly how she likes it.