Ozzy Osbourne On 1st Wife Thelma: ‘I Treated Her Really Badly’

Ozzy Osbourne with his first wife, Thelma Riley, and their daughter Jessica, plus Thelma's son Elliot from a previous relationship.

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne Ozzy Osbourne with his first wife, Thelma Riley, and their daughter Jessica, plus Thelma's son Elliot from a previous relationship.

Thelma Osbourne (also known as Thelma Riley) is Ozzy Osbourne’s first wife, from long before he was married to Sharon. They had two children together, Jessica and Louis. Ahead of The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne as part of A&E’s “Biography” series, here’s what you need to know about Thelma, Jessica, Louis, and the rest of Ozzy’s family.

1. Ozzy Married Thelma Riley in 1971

In 1971, Ozzy met Thelma Riley and they were married shortly thereafter. He said in the A&E Biography of their romance, “Shortly after I became successful with Black Sabbath, I met Thelma in a nightclub. Then we got married and we had two children, Jessica and Louis. We bought a house for 20,000 pounds, I thought, ‘I have arrived.’ Not realizing it was a giant mirage. Something ain’t feeling right.”

Osbourne also adopted Riley’s son Elliot from a previous relationship. But he was right, things weren’t going well. Osbourne was still heavily into drugs and alcohol, living in Los Angeles for part of the year to pursue music and “doing cocaine every day,” according to his bandmates.

“I thought money would buy everything, would fix everything … but money would buy the alcohol and the drugs and I behaved f*cking badly. The way I treated Thelma, it was wrong. I treated her really badly and the kids, two children. I was a very selfish, self-centered, egotistical guy and I f*cked around from day one and that ain’t cool. And my wife just had enough,” said Osbourne, adding that it was hard on him because he wasn’t good “at handling loss of love.”

2. Louis and Jessica Say He Wasn’t Very Present in Their Lives

In a 2011 documentary called God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, Louis recalled that his father wasn’t around much and when he was, he was drunk.

“When he was around and he wasn’t [drunk], he was a great father. But that was kind of seldom, really. I just have a lot of memories of him being drunk, random sh*t like driving cars across fields and crashing them in the middle of the night and stuff like that. It’s not good for family life, really,” said Louis, adding that it always made him angry that his dad could never remember his birthday.

“It was all I wanted but he just couldn’t remember that,” said Louis.

Big sister Jessica added, “I don’t remember being put to bed or having a bath by dad or anything like that. I wouldn’t say he was there for us, no, never on sports day, school trip, parents’ evening. He wasn’t like that, no.”

3. Ozzy Hooked Up With Sharon While He Was Still Married to Thelma

Sharon Arden’s father Don was the manager for Black Sabbath, which is how Sharon met Ozzy. They were together on tour and sparks flew.

“I was still married to my ex-wife, but I fell in love with Sharon,” said Ozzy in the biography.

Sharon added, “We were just having the time of our lives, meanwhile Ozzy had a wife and kids back home, so it was a lot.”

It was also one of the “lowest points” of Ozzy’s life because Thelma finally asked him for a divorce, his father died, and Black Sabbath kicked him out because of his hard-partying ways.

Sharon said that his kids didn’t care that he got kicked out of the band, but the industry saw that he was “fired from one of the biggest rock bands in the world and he was an addict, so they wrote him off.”

4. Aimee Osbourne is the Mystery Child

Ozzy and Sharon went on to have three kids together. Jack and Kelly became celebrities in their own right, but the eldest child, Aimee, has eschewed the spotlight, moving out of the house so as not to be a part of The Osbournes reality show. In a 2007 20/20 interview, Aimee told Barbara Walters that she’s not “afraid of the world,” she just didn’t want to be as famous as the rest of her family.

“I’m not some weirdo depressed daughter that’s afraid of the world that locks herself in her room all day. I just didn’t choose to do the show,” said Aimee, adding, “I want to be a singer and I felt if I were to stay with the Osbournes and do the whole [show] thing, I felt as though maybe I would have been typecasted right away … it was nothing to do with me not loving them.”

“I’m more reserved and my private life, to me, is very important, so it didn’t feel right … I feel as though now I’m at an age and a time in my life where I can make that choice.”

Of her father, though, she told Walters, “I think that he is incredibly unique, I think he’s talented, I think he’s misunderstood. My dad just wants everyone to be happy and to be doing what they love and I think that sometimes he forgets that’s that what he should want for himself as well.”

5. Jack and Kelly Also Say Ozzy Wasn’t the Most Present Father When They Were Growing Up

In the A&E biography, the youngest child Jack said, “He’s not good at home. I literally remember him as the dude on the couch. He’d pick me up at school occasionally, but I always just got the feeling he was like, ‘What do I do? I’m here and this is not what I’m good at.'”

In a 1991 interview on The Joan Rivers Show, Ozzy admitted that he wasn’t around a lot, but he said it was really hard on him to be a “telephone father,” as he put it.

“It’s very difficult being a telephone father because you miss them so much. You want to come back from being on tour … I tend to be like Santa Claus, I bring them gifts because I haven’t been there on a daily basis to be their father. I get like a shopping list over the phone,” said Osbourne, adding, ”

I’m cutting the touring way back. I’m fed up of being a telephone father …
We want to be more of a family. The years go by so quickly and then they’re married and they’re gone and you say, ‘What happened to my kids?’

The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne airs Monday, September 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.

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