Kelly Osbourne has a few things to get off her chest—and in her new memoir, There Is No F—ing Secret: Letters from a Badass B—-, she’s letting everything out, from her battle with Lyme’s Disease to controversial comments she made on The View. As the title suggests, the memoir comprises a series of letters Osbourne has written—some to people, like her family members, and others to more abstract addressees, like racists or Osbourne’s own lady bits.
The new author opens up to EW in the interview below about which chapters were more difficult to write, what she learned about herself during the three-year process, and why there were some people she wanted to “intentionally offend” in her pages. Though There Is No F—ing Secret won’t be released until April 25, 2017, you can pre-order it now, and check out EW’s exclusive reveal of the gritty book jacket after the interview.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you?
KELLY OSBOURNE: I’m so excited that I’m doing my first official interview about my book! I’m not calling myself a writer by any means, because this is the first book. And I won’t even say that I wrote this by myself, because I wrote this with Kate Williams. I don’t know how to take everything that I wanted to put in it and condense it to where I’m not just rambling, so she helped me get my mixed up thoughts and put them into one piece. But it is the first time I’ve written a book! But I now know why people who are authors and writers go crazy.
And why they take years between projects?
This took me three years to do. When I started, I kind of hit the ground running too fast, because I didn’t really know what direction I was going in. And then I realized how vulnerable it makes you when you’re really putting yourself out there. I did this book so people stop trying to put me in a box, and stop trying to categorize me as one thing, or say that I’m this kind of person, and really, honestly, stop asking me what my secret is.
When did you land on the title, There is No F—ing Secret?
I had the title before I wrote the book. And it’s also because I don’t believe the book The Secret is a secret. That’s common sense, in the sense that, you be a good person and you do good things, good things will happen to you. That’s not a secret, that’s just life. That’s how life works.
Tell me about the format—why did you want to write it as a collection of letters?
I was inspired by Dawn French’s book [Dear Fatty], where she wrote letters. The format helped me keep it concise without rambling, and I could change from topic to topic to topic, and it allowed the book to have a fluidity. But it’s also because at times in my life, writing letters was the only way I could communicate with my family and my loved ones. And that was either because maybe I was in a wonderful institution for my restoration, or if I just was on tour because I thought it was more fun to send a letter than an email, because I am still a child of the analog world. When I can’t say what I want to say, I write a letter. That way you say it, but you don’t send it.
Which letter was the most difficult to write?
I still cannot read the letter I wrote about my mom’s cancer and my dad’s accident. We’re about to go in and do the book on tape, and I’m trying to find somebody who could make it at least slightly toned down, because I can’t read it out myself. My mom was in the hospital having chemo and trying to fight her battle with cancer, while my dad was in a coma in the U.K. And I watched both of them come out of surgery and flatline and die in front of me and get brought back to life.
People always assume, “Her life has been so easy!” But it’s not, and it’s all in here, and it’s all the truth. I’m not trying to say, “Well, my life has been s—, so you got it wrong.” I’ve had a f—ing amazing, incredible, fruitful, at times yes, miserable life… but I would never change my life for anything.
Were you hesitant about being so open?
No. Like I said, I wanted people to stop asking me questions and trying to define me. And if you still hate me, fine. If you like me, great. But this is who I am, laid out on a table for you, and you can make up your own mind.
What did you learn about yourself during the writing process?
One of the biggest realizations I had was no matter what I put in black and white, no matter what I say to you, people are going to have their own opinion no matter what. And I let other people dictate my emotions so much growing up that I didn’t realize until after I wrote this book that I don’t do that anymore—and that was a really great feeling.
But the again, the other chapter that was really hard to write, but for a completely different reason, was the letter to my vagina, because I knew my parents would be reading it at some point.
Can’t you just rip those pages out of their copies?
No! But it says “Warning: If you are a member of my family, please don’t read this chapter.”
I think the other hardest chapter to write is the chapter on racism. And people have to remember, it’s my opinion on racism, not anyone else’s. But to me, it’s one of the strongest and most beautiful things I’ve ever written.
Who is the letter addressed to?
It says “Dear Racists.” It’s about the topic. I’m a little bit scared about what people are going to say. And I do address the whole View issue, and how that has affected my life forever. I still hate myself for it, because if it was me, watching someone else say it on television, I’d hate them. But the fact is, I got cut off. No matter what I was going to say, people are not going to believe it anyway. I know my true intentions behind it, but like I say in my book, the mistake I made was to fall back on witty sarcasm, and you can’t do that when you’re talking about race, especially in this country. In my way of trying to defend a community of people that I do truly love, I managed to insult an entire race of people in this country. The fact that if you type in “Kelly Osbourne” [into Google], the first thing that comes up is “racist” just kills me.
Has your family read the book yet?
[They’ve read] any bits pertaining to them, because we’ve all been in this situation with friends and family who have written books before. And one thing I want to preface by saying is that even though another member of my family could have been in the room when an incident happened, we’re still going to see it differently. You know the saying, “A hundred sets of eyes can be in a room and one thing can happen and you’ll have a hundred different stories of what happened,” because everyone sees and feels differently.
So I know I’m gonna manage to offend someone along the way in this. And some people I intentionally want to offend because they offended me! I’m just standing up for myself—which I found was harder to do than I thought.