When Jack Osbourne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, he could’ve decided not to talk about it — kept it a matter within his famous family. (Well, he could’ve tried at least.)
But he didn’t. The reality star not only disclosed his struggle, but he teamed with Teva Neuroscience for the You Don’t Know Jack About MS campaign to help other people living with the disease to manage it. As someone who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011, I can’t imagine having to speak about it to the world. Osbourne says he did it “really out of a place of resentment on my part.”
“When I was diagnosed with it, I was really contemplating, like, ‘Hey, do I talk about this? Am I open about this?’ And I ended up essentially getting … fired, for lack of a better word, from a job,” the star of Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour tells me. “They said that because of my MS, I wasn’t able to do the job. And I got really kind of pissed off about it, because I was of the mindset, like, who are you to tell me what I can and can not do, based on a disease you literally know nothing about. And it kind of inspired me. I was like, well, people don’t really understand what this is. Even I am having a hard time figuring out what this is.”
Now, people come to him with questions all the time. Osbourne, who says he feels “good” now and has had only mild symptoms, tries to answer all the MS-related inquiries that come his way. He doesn’t mind when people stop him to talk about health issues.
“I feel bad that I can’t always stay on top of it, because I do get a lot of communication. But if people come up to me, I’ll sit and I’ll chat, no problem,” he says. “It doesn’t bother me. Listen, I would rather have someone come and talk to me about that than, like, sit there and tell me what they think of my family, which used to happen a lot.”
And people have known a lot about Osbourne’s family for more than a decade, thanks to their former MTV show. The groundbreaking The Osbournes featured him alongside his rocker dad Ozzy, mom Sharon, and older sister Kelly — all of whom are recognizable in their own right, each juggling their own projects: TV shows, scripted and unscripted; music; and merchandise.
Osbourne meant to change his lifestyle after he learned that he had MS, but things didn’t work out that way.
“For me, I so wanted to be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to have a less stressful life. I’m going to try and not be so busy with work and try and do more things for me and eat right and make sure I’m exercising constantly,'” he says. “All that stuff. And then it just … with having kids and work just getting busier and busier. My life is not less stressful, unfortunately. I’m really fortunate to where the treatment plan that I’m on has worked so well for me. … I’ve had to make some adjustments but nothing too astronomical. I did like a crazy detox food thing, and I stayed away from all sorts of stuff and did all these different hippie cleanses and things.”
His approach has evolved over the years.
“Now, kind of toward what you’re saying, it’s like, I want to enjoy myself, because I don’t know how … there’s no guarantee I’m going to be this mobile and this, kind of, well a year from now,” he says. “I don’t want to waste any time.”
He says he still has some anger over his diagnosis. But he tries to stay positive so he doesn’t get stuck.
“It’s funny,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll have moments where I’m just like, ‘Ah, it’s no big deal. Whatever. Just kind of roll with it, I’m doing OK now,’ that kind of thing. … And then other times, I just get like really pissed off about it. Just like, ‘F***!’ But my thing isn’t, like, woe is me. I just go, like, ‘That’s so annoying. This is the most annoying thing.'”
Osbourne does have a lot of other things to focus on. He and wife Lisa — they separated amicably in April after five years of marriage — have three little girls: Pearl, 6; Andy, 3; and 4-month-old Minnie. Professionally, his show with his dad is kicking off a new season. He likes the way it turned out.
“So this season is a little different. Kelly joins us for quite a few of the episodes. Just by having a bit of a female presence on the road with us now definitely broadens our exploration, if you will,” Osbourne says. “It’s not so … two dummies on the road. Kelly’s like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna go to a drag show,’ and ‘We’re gonna go do, like, girly things and goat yoga and stuff like that.’ So it definitely adds a bit of a softer touch, which ended up being really funny. It’s a great season. It’s a lot of fun. I’m very, very proud of it. It’s a riot.”
His favorite stop of the season? It probably isn’t what you’d expect.
“So we went to — it wasn’t necessarily the place, but it was more just the trip. Me, dad, and I brought my daughter Pearl, we spent five days in Alabama,” Osbourne says. “But it was just being with my daughter and my dad and just doing fun things for the week. Anytime I can go on a trip with my kids, I always love it.”
He plans to spend Father’s Day off the road but, yes, with his family.
“I’m going to do barbecue at the house with the kids,” he says. “I think my mom is going to be back in town, because she’s in England with my dad right now. We’ll just do a little gathering, and I think some friends are going to come over with their kids, so it’s going to be a good time.”
The new season of Jack & Ozzy’s World Detour premieres June 13 on A&E.
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