As Sharon Osbourne drama plays out, Sheryl Underwood is chill: ‘Forgiveness first’

A portrait of Sheryl Underwood in 2017
Sheryl Underwood, seen in 2017, has addressed what happened on “The Talk” last week.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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With her future on “The Talk” uncertain, Sharon Osbourne said in an interview Tuesday that she had apologized to Sheryl Underwood, her cohost on the daytime TV show, but hadn’t heard back.

However, Underwood already spoke out on her podcast about what happened on last Wednesday’s show, when Osbourne spun out during a conversation about racism. And Underwood sounded pretty Zen about what had gone down and how she had handled her part of it.

“I thought I was talking with colleagues, and I thought we were having a great conversation,” Underwood said late last week on her podcast, “The World According to Sheryl.” “It didn’t go so great, part of it.”


“The Talk” has been on hiatus since the beginning of the week as CBS investigates the situation that erupted live on air.

The 57-year-old Underwood, who had been acting as moderator on the CBS roundtable while cohost Carrie Ann Inaba is out sick, addressed Osbourne’s outburst on the Friday and Saturday episodes of her podcast. Most of the dishy stuff landed on the second day of the two-part discussion.

“The vibe for me was, this was already forgiven and over as soon as it was said,” Underwood said when asked about the atmosphere on the set after Osbourne, 68, was put on the spot about her friend Piers Morgan.

Osbourne had supported her former “America’s Got Talent” colleague after he trashed the former Meghan Markle and said he doubted claims she made during the duchess and Prince Harry’s recent Oprah Winfrey interview. Morgan quit “Good Morning Britain,” which he cohosted, March 9 after walking off the set in the middle of an exchange with colleague Alex Beresford, who was later hailed as an ally to Meghan.

Underwood, who joined “The Talk” in 2011, said she didn’t feel any tension in the room after the spirited conversation ended but couldn’t speak for what Osbourne had experienced.


Sharon Osbourne blames CBS execs for racism-related questions that caught her off guard on “The Talk,” telling “Entertainment Tonight” she might not return.

March 17, 2021

Osbourne got extremely emotional during Wednesday’s exchange, coming close to tears and, according to Underwood, dropping F-bombs as the show went to commercial. After the break, Osbourne erupted, saying, “I feel ... like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist. And for me, at 68 years of age, to have to turn around and say, ‘I ain’t racist.’ ... How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?”

Osbourne told “Entertainment Tonight” on Tuesday that she felt she had been set up.

Underwood said that, as moderator, she wanted to project stability. “During the commercial break, especially when you’re moderating, there are producers and technical people in your ear telling you what’s coming next,” the comic and actress said, so she didn’t really understand what Osbourne was saying to her at the time.

“I do think there was some anxiety,” she added. “I do think there was some stress and everything, but for me, I was more, ‘OK, I’ve got a certain amount of time to get to the dentist,’” an appointment she had scheduled for after “The Talk” taping. She also said she was thinking about taking a nap.

‘The Talk’ is on a break to allow a probe of the Sharon Osbourne-Sheryl Underwood racism exchange as Holly Robinson Peete says Osbourne called her ‘ghetto.’

March 15, 2021

Underwood said her phone was blowing up when she went back to her dressing room, but she was heartened by what she saw on social media. Sure, there was criticism and negativity, but she said the bulk of the conversations she saw — among all types of people — were heartening.

“Everybody was saying, ‘Sheryl: Grace. Discipline. Restraint.’ And talking about what would have happened if the roles were reversed,” Underwood said. She also noted, “There are things happening that I have no control over. I couldn’t stop ‘em if I wanted to. I didn’t start it. I can’t stop it. All I can do is be ready for what God is telling me to do.”

As she went to sleep Wednesday night, Underwood said, she kept thinking, “Sheryl, if God lets your eyes open, come back to work tomorrow. Don’t come back different. So you hurt. So you’re disappointed. Manage it. Manage your expectations.”


But she also felt relieved.

Sharon Osbourne and her cohosts on “The Talk” have a frank conversation about Piers Morgan’s Meghan comments, leaving Osbourne on the verge of tears.

March 11, 2021

“I got a good night’s sleep. I slept well, ‘cause I didn’t do anything to anybody. I didn’t do anything,” she said. “And I was a good friend. No matter what came toward me, I was a good friend. And I stayed out of stuff too.”

This was not, she said, the hill she chose to die on.

Underwood said Osbourne asked to talk to her after the show but didn’t go into any detail about whether a conversation actually took place. If it happened, she wasn’t giving up any details.

But she said she hesitated briefly, then moved forward.

“I kept saying, Sheryl, this is entertainment, this is television, it is daytime television. You want to keep this show on the air for 10 more years, because you believe it has legs. You believe it can happen,” she said. “And people go through stuff on shows all the time. ... So I just kept thinking to myself, let this play out. But don’t you become different. Don’t you put yourself in a different posture. You can’t wear the crown with your head held down.”

Osbourne, in contrast, said Tuesday that she didn’t know if she would return to the show or if she was even “wanted there.”

Overall, Underwood said she was in a good place and full of “spiritual nourishment” from all the support she’d gotten in the wake of the dustup. She said the word across the board was that she had represented Black people well.

“My mantra, my way of thinking, is always forgiveness first and right beside that is apology,” she said. “Those two things go together. I don’t know what’s in Sharon’s heart. I don’t know what she’s feeling. The only feelings I can control ... are my own.”