Ozzy: ‘This year has been the worst year of my life’

(Image credit: Epic Records)

There was good news for Ozzy Osbourne yesterday (November 26), as the 71-year-old rock legend was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2020, which this year was held virtually, as these are the times we live in. 

In a new interview with the British fashion, style and culture magazine, Ozzy admits that he hasn’t had a whole lot to get excited about this year, and furthermore that he’s fearful of contracting coronavirus as he’s already suffering from the lung condition emphysema. The British Lung Foundation has previously cautioned that those with long-term lung conditions are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to Covid-19 and are at high risk of severe illness.

“I’ve got emphysema, so if I get this virus I’m fucked,” Ozzy admitted. “If I go out I wear a mask, but I don’t like wearing a mask, so I don’t go out much.”

Earlier this year two of Ozzy’s granddaughters tested positive for coronavirus, forcing Ozzy and his wife/manager Sharon to self-isolate. Andrew Watt, the producer of Ozzy’s twelfth studio album, Ordinary Man, also tested positive for Covid-19 back in March, and admitted that the virus left him feeling “like I was hit by a bus.”

“This is not a joke,” Watt cautioned. “Stay inside, stay sanitized. Please stop everything and take care of yourselves and the people you love around you, until we are all through this.”

“I’d phone him up every day and he said he couldn’t sleep, because as soon as he went to sleep he’d stop breathing,” Ozzy revealed to GQ. “He’s not the same person now... It’s like anyone who’s had a near-death experience: he’s become a bit careful with life. But my two granddaughters caught it and you wouldn’t think they had anything wrong with them. It just bounced off them.”

Health-wise, the past 18 months have been challenging for Ozzy too. In 2019 the singer underwent spinal surgery, which left him in constant pain and needing daily physiotherapy, and in January this year, he was diagnosed as having Parkin 2, a rare form of Parkinson’s disease. ‘Once you’re 70, the floodgates open and everything goes downhill,’ the singer tells GQ. ‘Mind you, I’ve got away with it for a long time.’

Asked by interviewer Tim Jonze how lockdown was affecting him mentally, Ozzy freely admits that he’s been going “super nuts,”

“I bought an air rifle and I’m shooting pellets at the wall every day,’ he says. ‘I’m getting through 10,000 pellets a week. Bang, bang, bang. In the past I shot everything you could shoot… Cows, sheep, calves, pigs, all kinds of things, dogs… A dog. One dog.”

“Not on purpose,” he clarifies. “It was in a lot of pain and I put it out of its misery. It’s not like I go dog hunting at night.”

Ozzy is currently working on the follow-up to Ordinary Man with Andrew Watt. A film about his life, and his relationship with Sharon, is now in ‘active development’, according to the couple’s son Jack.

Sharon Osbourne previously said that she wants people to be able to relate to their story, even if they’re not a fan of Ozzy’s music.

“It’s a story about a survivor,” she stated. “No matter what life throws at you, you pick yourself up and you start again. It’s just an amazing story of overcoming everything that’s thrown at you in your life.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.