Sharon Osbourne wins damages over Ozzy slur

Sharon Osbourne accepted a public apology and substantial undisclosed libel damages today over a newspaper claim that she was driving husband Ozzy "to destruction".

Her solicitor, John Kelly, told Mr Justice Eady at London's High Court that the allegations in The Sun in October 2007 were "entirely without foundation" and were "obviously extremely distressing, hurtful and damaging".

He said the article claimed that Mrs Osbourne, who was not in court, was "driving her frail husband Ozzy Osbourne to destruction" and was working him "so hard she will kill him".

It also said that "Sharon will keep Ozzy on the road until like Tommy Cooper he dies on stage".

It alleged that her motivation for forcing him to perform a series of live shows when he was not well enough was to fund her exorbitant spending.

Patrick Callaghan, solicitor for News Group Newspapers, which also agreed to pay Mrs Osbourne's costs, said it sincerely apologised and accepted that the allegations were untrue and ought never to have been published.

A spokesman for Mrs Osbourne said: "Sharon is delighted to have won her case. She would prefer not to have to take legal action aginst the media, but had no alternative in this case.

"Sharon and Ozzy are pleased that they can put this matter behind them."

Mr Kelly told the judge that the couple had three children from their 26 year marriage, and had become worldwide household names through their reality TV show, The Osbournes.

He said that Mrs Osbourne also managed her husband, who had promoted the latest of his nine studio albums, in May 2007, with a sell-out world tour.

He said that Mrs Osbourne's distress at the story, entitled "I fear poor Ozzy will die on stage", was increased as a result of the claims in it made by her estranged brother David Arden.

He added that the accompanying photo of Ozzy, captioned "Pushed too far...Ozzy looking like a man who's had enough...", was actually taken in April 2003 as part of a series of him completing a four-mile jog around an athletics track in Los Angeles with a personal trainer.

Mr Kelly said that News Group had previously published one of the jogging photos in July 2003 to depict a story which described how "Ozzy Osbourne gets in shape with a four mile jog...".

He added that the newspaper accepted that Mrs Osbourne did not and would not act to put her husband's life at risk.

The publication had caused damage to her personal and professional reputation and she had suffered considerable embarrassment and distress.

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