Sheryl Underwood reflects on 'trauma' from Sharon Osbourne discord in first The Talk episode since hiatus
"I feel like I'm in PTSD because it was a trauma," Underwood told guest Dr. Donald E. Grant, an expert on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, who joined the hosts for a discussion about race and healing.
Underwood and Osbourne had clashed during the March 10 episode of The Talk, when Osbourne lashed out at her cohosts while defending her friend Piers Morgan, who was under fire for his vocal criticism of Meghan Markle.
During the tense discussion, Underwood asked Osbourne, "What would you say to people who may feel that while you're standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don't agree?"
Tearing up, Osbourne replied, "I feel like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is racist, so that makes me a racist." She also demanded that Underwood explain why Morgan's remarks were racist and shouted at her "not to cry" because, she said, "if anyone should be crying, it should be me."
Two days after the broadcast, Osbourne apologized for her "panicked" remarks. Weeks later, following an internal review, CBS announced that Osbourne would be leaving The Talk and the show would return without her on April 12.
During Monday's episode, Underwood opened up about how she chose to navigate that difficult moment.
"I didn't want to escalate things with Sharon because I thought I was having a conversation with a friend, but also, I knew I had to be an example for others to follow," Underwood said. "I didn't want to be perceived as that angry Black woman, and that really scared me. I didn't want to be that, and I wanted to remain calm and focused."
Underwood also addressed Osbourne's claims that Osbourne texted her after their argument. The Brit shared screenshots with The Daily Mail after Underwood said on her podcast that Osbourne never reached out to apologize, and they hadn't spoken since.
A representative for Osbourne confirmed the contents of the texts to EW at the time. A rep for Underwood didn't respond to EW's request for comment.
"I have not spoken to [her], and do not have any phone call, missed or received, that I can find in my phone [from her]," Underwood said Monday. "But there were text messages sent to me, and the reason that I did not speak about or acknowledge, or even respond to those text messages, because they were coming to me during the internal investigation."
She continued: "I've never been through anything like this, so I didn't know if you were supposed to communicate or not while there's an international investigation. So I want to be clear with this, I have not spoken to Sharon."
Underwood also said she did not want to respond in case something "pops up in the media that's misunderstood."
As for where her friendship with Osbourne goes from here, Underwood said it would rest on Osbourne's willingness to change her behavior.
"People have asked me, 'Well, if you see Sharon, what would you do?'" she said. "First of all, if she greeted me warmly and sincerely, I would give her back the same, because we've been on this show for 10 years. I want people to understand when you're friends with somebody, you stay friends. And what did Maya Angelou say? When people show you who they are, believe them."