But nothing could be further from the truth.
“I’m not going to be quiet for anyone. I’m at the age where I have earned the right to say what I want.
“I’m not running for Parliament and if I offend people, fine, then don’t listen, don’t read,” she says with a shrug.
“They say there’s three sides to every story — their side, your side and the truth. Well, here’s my side. I have nothing to hide.”
In short, the situation with The X Factor has been evolving for the past year.
Chronologically, Sharon, 65 — who is still a regular on the daily US debate show The Talk — was initially hired full-time, then put down to part-time, sacked, rehired, then, as announced at the weekend, ultimately declined the reduced role and decided to step down.
“Look, it was getting ridiculous, enough is enough. I’m out and that’s it. I’m not angry with anyone and I don’t regret anything. My life will go on and so will The X Factor. It’s doing great.
“It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s Simon’s show and he can do whatever he wants with it.”
The story gathered steam after she gave an interview on US radio that was outspoken even by Sharon’s standards.
During the chat with Stern she called Cowell “a f***ing pain in the a**e” who will do whatever it takes to get “his fat f***ing face on TV”. She also said she’d like to put a brick round his neck and drown him, referred to X Factor contestants as “little s**ts” and dismissed some of the singing as “f***ing karaoke”.
“I’m a big girl. I said what I said. I own it,” she says, speaking to me from Denver, US, where husband Ozzy was doing a gig as part of his world tour.
“I’m not blaming anybody. I joined in and had a good old laugh at other people’s expense, but it wasn’t meant to be vicious, it was just stupid.
“Did I mean it all literally? No. Am I going to tie a brick around Simon’s neck? I don’t think so! Are the contestants little s**ts? Of course not. I was just being a precocious child.
“Howard’s show is very irreverent and everyone in America knows that you’re going to get bad language and hear outrageous things. Simon knows it too.
“A couple of years ago there was some leaked email where Simon had angled for Howard’s judge slot on America’s Got Talent, and I’d forgotten that Howard has this thing against him.
“So he does this ‘You have a lifeboat and there’s one seat’ thing that he does with everybody and asks, ‘Would you take me or Simon?’ And I said, ‘I’ll take you and tie a f***ing brick round Simon’s neck’.
JUDGE DREAD RULES
These are some of Mrs O’s most shocking moments on the show.
“For me, he’s not a superstar. I am so fed up of Mr Humble. He’s been overconfident from day one, he’s not what he seems, believe me. He’s full of crap and he’s an average singer.” – Sharon lets rip at eventual winner Steve Brookstein after his performance in the final of the first series in 2004.
When Simon Cowell described one hopeful in the auditions as his “worst nightmare” that same year, Sharon decided to give him a “reality check”… by pouring a glass of water over him.
It became a party trick for Sharon, who chucked a glass of water over Louis Walsh during a live show after he made a dig about her husband Ozzy in 2005.
“I’m leaving the show, I’m out” – what Sharon was heard shouting in 2007 after walking off the judging panel and refusing to vote when both her acts were in the bottom two.
“Oh f*** it” – turning the air blue on a live show in 2016 after she couldn’t remember the title of the song from Titanic that her act Saara Aalto was about to sing.
“Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m a bitch” – responding to audience jeers after criticising part of Matt Linnen’s performance of Careless Whisper last year.
By Kate Jackson
“You can’t take it literally. It’s like a dinner party where everybody is talking crap and you just join in for a laugh. I was just messing around, not wanting to hurt anyone.”
When Stern asked what Robbie Williams’ wife Ayda Field does, Sharon replied: “I don’t know [what she knows]. She was in a soap opera here years ago.”
Does she regret saying that?
“He asked me the question and she was in a soap opera here. What’s rude about it? I wasn’t putting anybody down.
“Ayda’s great, Robbie too. He and I have the same back doctor in LA and bump into each other there, and when Ozzy got his star on Hollywood Boulevard, Robbie came and gave a speech.
“If you remember, we also did two Judges’ Houses together in LA.”
And what about her rude remarks about the contestants?
“I was just spouting rubbish. Why would I pick on a contestant? I don’t know these people, why would I do that? I was just f***ing around, that’s all.”
X Factor called and said we’re very upset…this is NOT going to work
The controversial interview took place on September 4 and, having been told earlier in the year that she was only required for the six X Factor live shows (“I thought ‘Great, same money, less work’”) it was in her diary to fly over to the UK some time next week.
But two weeks after her explosive radio chat, she got a call from one of the senior team at The X Factor.
“They said, ‘We’re very upset about it’ and I said, ‘I’m sure you are, but you know the context of what it is’.
“Anyway, I said do whatever you want, but just let me know. Then, about eight days after that, they called again to say, ‘We don’t think it’s going to work’.
“To be honest, I felt relieved. I have been watching the show and it’s great the way it is.
The four judges are good and have their own rhythm, so suddenly having five would be awkward. It would be like some relative turning up that you’re trying to find a gig for. It just didn’t feel right.
“Also, little Louis [Tomlinson] is just a bubba. He’s a really good judge who’s very invested in the acts but, sitting next to him, I honestly would have felt like his grandma, with Simon as his grandpa.”
But the bust-up didn’t last long. One hour after the producer had called, Sharon received a text from Simon’s girlfriend, Lauren Silverman, saying he’d like to talk to her.
“We spoke, and he said, ‘Darling I really don’t want you to go, I want you to stay. It’s going to be so much fun’.
“I said, ‘Simon, you really don’t want me back’, but he was insistent. He had this idea that I would be there to critique the judges, saying, ‘Oh Robbie, I don’t think you’ve chosen the right song for your artist’ or whatever.
“I don’t know Louis well, but I know Robbie and Ayda and they’re great people, so how awkward would that be? It would be like, ‘What the f*** is she doing on this?’
“So I said to Simon, ‘Let’s leave it for a week and see how we feel’.”
And did they talk about the Howard Stern interview? “Yes.” Sharon lets out a throaty cackle.
“He just said, ‘I don’t care, darling, it’s all stupid’. And I knew he wouldn’t. He’s done Howard’s show himself. He knows what it’s like.”
After their call, she talked it through with husband Ozzy and their children — Aimee, 35, Kelly, 33, and Jack, 32.
“I was playing it over and over in my mind, but the gut feeling was still, ‘Sorry, it’s just not for me’.
“As I said, it just felt very, very awkward to be coming in halfway through something.”
So last week, she called the producer to say she was going to put out a statement that they agreed to work on together. Will she still get paid?
“Yes, because I was locked in with a contract and while this was all going backward and forward — we want you, we don’t want you, we want you — I turned down two other big shows. I’m a businesswoman and they know they have to pay me. But I’m going to make a donation to Cancer Research.”
How did Simon react to her decision to walk?
“He just said, ‘OK, darling, whatever you want to do’, then his company Syco offered me a role on Australia’s Got Talent and I’ve turned that down too! So we’re all good. As I said, it’s just business.
“I’m not desperate to be on TV. I have been offered I’m A Celebrity and Strictly many times and turned those down.”
So are her days as a judge on the show she first joined in 2004 finally over? She laughs and says: “You never know the future, so who bloody knows? I only ever did The X Factor because I love it, and I still do.
“I’ve had so many great times on that show and I only ever think of it fondly.
“It’s exactly the same story for Louise Walsh too, who I still speak to every single day. I think people forget that Louis and I have other things that we do in our life.”
For Sharon, that includes being a devoted “Nana” to Pearl, six, Andy, three, and eight-month-old Minnie, the three children of son Jack, who suffers from MS and has recently divorced from wife Lisa Stelly.
“It’s been a very tough year for him emotionally. It’s hard being a dad and being on your own, but he’s coming through it and he’s good. Aimee has just moved house, and Kelly is doing incredibly well with her sobriety — it’s been 15 months now.”
“He’s doing about 100 shows around the world and won’t be finished until Christmas 2019, but he just loves performing and is in a really good place right now.
“He’s 70 on December 3 so, obviously, we are going to celebrate, but I keep on changing the plans!
“Life is good for all of us right now, so I’m very happy indeed. Long may it go on.”
Source: Read Full Article