real life

Divorce doesn't mean your marriage was a failure.

You’ve been together 33 years.

You’ve had three kids.

You’re host on a high-profile talk show.

Your husband is maybe the wildest rocker to walk the face of the earth. He’s bitten the head off a bat. He’s bitten the head off a dove. He’s been to a meeting with a record company in Germany so completely pissed he stripped, goose-stepped up and down a table, then dipped his balls into a glass of wine. You still spoke to him the next day.

You’re worth an estimated $220m.

Then you and your partner split.

And the world screams one word, loudly.


Really? Seriously? Thirty three years together spells failure?

How did you know your relationship over? The Mamamia staffers confess when they knew below. Post continues after video. 

This is what happened in our office this morning. We were talking about Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne when one of my workmates said she couldn’t believe people were sad they’d split.

“They’re celebrities,” she said. “OF COURSE their marriage was going to fail.’


Because from where I sit I don’t see failure. I see success – and especially because they’ve lived their entire married life as A-grade celebs.

I think I’ve got some first person experience here (okay, not the celebrity part).  My partner has been married before. He was with his wife for 18 years. They have two great kids.

I’ve seen photos of them when they were together and happy. A flick through the albums shows holidays and new homes and babies and friends. Christmases and silly hats. Giggles in formal gear. Working in the garden. Adoring looks. Candid shots she didn’t even know were being taken, but carry a gorgeous subtext: the only thing that could make this moment better is catching you in it.

There’s one picture at his mum’s place where the joy practically streams from them. They are completely and utterly in love, and it shows.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck recently announced their separation. Image via Getty.

I've asked him if he thought their marriage was a failure because it had ended in divorce. He said no, it had just run its course.

They split more than four years ago. There was no lawyer involved in their divorce. There was no third party.

There wasn't much sex, either, for the last couple of years. Or conversation.

What had been great for almost two decades had simply come to an end.

Today they are like friends - albeit friends who have occasional scratchy moments.

If we bothered to look, we'd find all those beautiful moments with Sharon and Ozzy too. Of course, they'd be bigger, more extreme. There's Ozzy's 1981 proposal in freezing Kalamazoo, both of them in a fur coats. A furious Sharon hurling juice at a reality show contestant who called Ozzy a "brain dead rock star". Red carpet cuddles, family life through the prism of a reality show. A Facebook post from Sharon showing Ozzy onstage, with 18,000 likes and the words "Thank you Melbourne for loving my husband".

And of course, Ozzy declaring his love to the entire world.

"I fell for Sharon so badly, man," he wrote in his book I Am Ozzy. "... I'd never come across a girl who was like me ... Wherever we went, we were always the drunkest and the loudest."

Then, in 2012, he told The Mirror: "Falling in love with Sharon was the best thing that ever happened to me." Asked later what he still had to achieve, said "Shag the wife again."


Today, Sharon has spoken. It seems she's simply had a gutful of Ozzy being, well, Ozzy (this is the man whose addictions have been so extreme he can't remember great slabs of his life, and who's survival has been credited to a gene mutation that was the subject of a talk at TEDMED). The other women and drug-fuelled relapses have taken their toll, and she's finally called time.


"[I'm] getting to the last chapter of my life," she said on her show The Talk. "I really want to think carefully about where I want to go … because I'm 63 years of age, and I can't keep living like this."

What was once tolerable - maybe even just part of how they lived - isn't any more.

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It's as simple as this. We think we don't change, but we do. In tiny increments, or through axis-shifting events, our thoughts on friendships, politics, sex, religion and each other can all morph into something they weren't even close to before. And it's a lucky couple who can weather that.

Ozzy wouldn't be my choice of partner. He's flaky and addled and about as capable of looking after himself as a toddler. Today, he might not be Sharon's. But for 33 years, he was. Anyone who ever watched The Osbournes knows their's didn't even come close to a conventional marriage. Often, the thing that kills a relationship is just not giving a fuck. They always did.

You can watch the Ozzy and Sharon TED Talk below. Post continues after video. 

Video via TEDMED

Why is it that any relationships that doesn't last forever is immediately considered a failure? There are plenty of sport stars who don't play for Australia but think they've done pretty well. Scientists who haven't won a Nobel Prize aren't considered losers. Parents whose kids haven't been perfect but on measure think they've done a pretty good job.

Sharon and Ozzy, like my partner and his former wife, could have taken the other option. They could have stuck it out for a pointless participation ribbons and a certificate for trying hard.

They didn't.

If this really is it for them, I hope they don't look back and see wasted years. I hope they look back and think "What a ride".