BLOG: The day Kelly Osbourne bit me on the arse.


So Kelly Osbourne came to Australia to promote her new column in CLEO and immediately became embroiled in a very public fight with a bouncer at the casino where she’s staying.

Two days ago, the former reality show star and current co-host of the Joan River’s show Fashion Police on the E! channel, tweeted this:

And then this:


Yes, this has been a news story – on the actual news. And it’s giving me disturbing flashbacks. More about that in a second. But first (are you still reading? does anyone care?) let’s establish what happened to so displease Osbourne.

According to Fairfax reporter Jo Casamento, the drama went down something like this:

An insider at The Star told Fairfax Media Osbourne, the daughter of Sharon and visiting Black Sabbath legend Ozzy, had tried to gain entry to the gaming room floor and showed her driver’s licence to security.

Security told her she would have to get her passport as international driver’s licences are not accepted identification on the gaming floor – the only place in the casino you need such ID.

”She had to go back to her room and get her passport and she was clearly not happy about it,” our insider said.

Anyway, whatever. But I’ve been thinking about Cleo’s editor Sharri Markson – who no doubt thought very carefully about giving Osbourne the coveted back page column in her relaunched mag and paid big bucks to bring her to Australia to spruik Cleo. And suddenly she’s getting into barneys with security guards and shouting at influential gossip columnists.

Sydney Confidential’s Joel Christie wrote a pretty damning piece today in The Daily Telegraph about his disastrous interview with Osbourne this week where she tore strips off him for asking her a couple of innocuous questions about her boyfriend and the fact the name of her first Cleo column is called ‘Life Is Just Shit Sometimes’. This, after conditions were laid down before the interview started, namely that no questions were to be asked about her family. Um, OK? How’s the weather then?


Perhaps this storm of argy bargy around Osbourne is good publicity for Cleo? Dunno.

But it’s all eeerily familiar.

When I was editing Cosmo and Kelly came to Australia in 2002, she bit me on the arse.

Well, not with her actual teeth and not on my actual arse but frankly, that would have been preferable to what actually happened.

I’d put her on the cover of Cosmo for no other reason than her size. Yep. Ever since celebrities shoved models off the covers of magazines, editors have been held hostage to the celebrities, photographers and photo agencies who supply the images that can sell tens of thousands of copies of a magazine. Or not.

Pushing my body image bandwagon, I was always looking for a celebrity larger than a size 0 to put on the cover of Cosmo. Diversity. If you work in the fashion industry, look it up.

When I showed her the proposed cover, my boss was horrified. Not so much because of Kelly’s size (gasp – possibly 10-12) but because as a covergirl, she wasn’t exactly……aspirational. At that stage, she was simply a loud-mouthed teenager who happened to be the daughter of a former rock star and was on a reality show where she sulked around being bratty.


Not exactly likeable qualities – and if nothing else, a covergirl MUST be likeable if you’re trying to persuade people to buy your magazine.  Kelly also had asymmetrical pink and black hair – a decade before coloured hair went mainstream – and Cosmo was (and is) a very mainstream mag.

No wonder my boss was freaking out. In fact, she was dead against it.

Still, I begged. That’s how desperate I was to get someone who looked a bit different on my cover.

“Kelly will be in the country to present at the ARIAs!” I gushed. “Think how good that will be for us!”

Eventually, after much persuasion, she relented. My arse was on the line. The cover went to the printer. It looked like this.

So anyway. Kelly arrived in Australia. Went to the ARIAS. Walked the red carpet and – during a media interview – called Natalie Imbruglia a “c*nt”.

There was no Twitter back then or she would have no doubt tweeted it as well but even without social media. It was a huge media story.

I can’t remember the exact details of why Kelly was so abusive about someone she’d never met. I have deleted them from my mental hard drive to prevent further trauma. I think it had something to do with Natalie’s boyfriend at the time or…..something.

I don’t think it was a particularly happy time in Kelly’s life. She went to rehab several times in the next few years and has spoken at length since about how troubled she was. There was widespread condemnation after her vile comments and she was practically deported on a wave of public backlash. Australia was collectively appalled that someone with such questionable ‘fame’ credentials had been brought to Australia as a celebrity presenter and used it as an opportunity to abuse and insult one of our own.


Needless to say, sales tanked.

The worst selling issue of Cosmo I ever edited.

And I was so pissed because I didn’t want anyone to be able to say the issue had bombed because the covergirl wasn’t a size zero. I believed in my heart – still do – that it wasn’t Kelly Osbourne’s size that turned readers off but how she behaved and her whole persona at the time.

She’s certainly remade herself – in every way – since that trip. Or has she?

It certainly seems the PR dept at Star casino have scrambled to diffuse her anger about the security guard, judging by this follow up tweet yesterday:


Some will say the whole thing was confected for publicity. They always say that when there’s a blow up like this. But my guess is that it’s not nearly that complicated. You get what you pay for and in the case of Kelly Osbourne, she’s an outspoken, take-no-prisoners woman who fancies herself as a bit of a rebel and is very sure of her place on Planet Celebrity.