Ah, Sex Addiction. The must-have disorder of the Nineties and Noughties, it had everything—sex (obvs), disgrace, contrition, confession, in that order followed by a nice couple of weeks in a cosy clinic waiting out the headlines.
From the trailblazers of the 80s (hello Rob Lowe) to the tireless dedication of later decades (looking at you Tiger Woods) it has been the ultimate get out of jail free card for infidelity among the rich and famous.
Whether caught with the nanny, arrested with a hooker or papped with the wrong ‘friend’, sex addiction is the perfect marriage of religion and pop psychology to help dodge the blame: I have sinned but I need help—the erotic Jimmy Swaggart defense, if you will.
But after those heady times, it seems as if the days of sex addictions as the mea culpa-of-choice for the Anthony Weiners of this world may be numbered.
If you have always suspected that “sex addict” is celebrity shorthand for “what do I have to do to make this go away?” behold your unlikely whistleblower: Ozzy Osbourne.
In 2016, Ozzy Osbourne shambled to the back of the line of the great and the good that have deployed the sex addictions defense. That May, after 34 years of marriage the UK’s Sun on Sunday broke news of the then-67-year-old’s affair with a hairdresser. Ozzy had gone AWOL and, fearing a relapse, Sharon, 64, had discovered calls messages on his phone. So far, so standard.
This being the Osbournes, it was an affair which unfolded in deliciously bitchy fashion, thanks to daughter Kelly’s magnificently pithy (now since deleted) tweet: ‘Anyone looking for cheap chunky LOW-lights a blow out and a b-job call [hairdresser’s phone number]’
By August, Ozzy’s reps had made a full statement, replete with ‘mortification’, ‘intense therapy’ and even ‘Out of the bad comes good’.
This workmanlike PR job right out of Crisis Management 101 seemed to signal the, ahem, end of the affair.
On Saturday, Ozzy, driven either through naive honesty or a charming disregard for the party line has broke ranks and explained his rationale for cheating to theTimes of London as: “I’m in a fucking rock band, aren’t I?”
“There have always been groupies. I just got caught, didn’t I? It was a bump in the road. I bet your marriage has bumps in the road too an’ all. In any marriage you grow apart if you don’t spend enough time together, and that was part of the problem. I don’t think I’m a fucking sex addict.”
Ozzy and Sharon have since consciously recoupled, with the Black Sabbath star re-installed in the family’s $10 Beverly Hills home.
Sharon last year returned to judging duties on the UK’s X Factor, alongside Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell. She has reportedly secured herself a $2.5m contract to return in 2017.
Sex addiction seems to have been losing ground to other, more zeitgeisty disorders and with Ozzy’s admission, the next Eric Benet may have to come up with something new to parry the Press and defang the divorce lawyers.