Kelly Osbourne has spent the last 15 years in the spotlight ever since her family was the center of one of the earliest and most successful reality television shows, The Osbournes. In that time, she’s gone through good times and bad, colored both by the normal troubles of adolescence and growing up, but also by the more peculiar problems of growing up in a famous family with a tumultuous history. She’s dealt with controversy, battled drug addiction, cared for her sometimes troubled parents and had relationships and breakups broadcast to the public.
Now, the 32-year-old singer, actress, fashion designer and television personality is telling it all, this time from her own perspective, in a new memoir, There Is No Fucking Secret: Letters from a Badass Bitch. We sat down to chat with her about the book, her life today and the one thing that saved her in her darkest times.
SheKnows: What was the hardest part of the book for you to write?
Kelly Osbourne: The hardest chapter for me to get through emotionally was my mom’s chapter and my dad’s chapter. And even now, I can’t read them out loud without crying. Even on the audio book, I couldn’t get through it without crying. We tried so many times. It’s amazing when you start looking back at your life, you can understand how things really affected you.
SK: Do you think you’re at a different place processing those events than you were at the time that they happened?
KO: You’re in the moment when it’s happening, and you feel whatever you can to get through the day and pray tomorrow will be better. It was important for me to talk about because it’s not just hard on the person who is sick. It’s hard on the people that love them too. It’s really hard seeing somebody you love so much be in so much pain and be so ill and there’s nothing you can do. What’s interesting is people act in so many different ways. You know, some people run away, some people get angry, some people fall apart. It’s like everybody has a different way of dealing with stuff like that.
SK: How did you deal with it?
KO: I’m very honest in my book. I was numbing myself with drugs. I gave up on my career so I could spend every single moment I possibly could with my mother because they told us she wasn’t gonna make it — when they broke the news to us, they told us the word “terminal.” I was fired by my agent because I pulled out of doing Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan because I wasn’t gonna be spending what could have been the last two years of my mom’s life filming a movie rather than being with her.
I just wanted to do whatever I could to make her smile. I never treated my mom like she was sick. I just wanted to make sure that someone was trying to make her laugh and that she was looked after. My dad, the thought of losing my mom just spiraled him out of control. The thought alone sent him crazy. It was hard on my brother because he doesn’t like hospitals. So I stepped up.
SK: You’ve said that your book is a lot about the life lessons you’ve learned. What’s the biggest lesson that you don’t want other people to learn the hard way?
KO: I’ve learned that all you can be in this world is you. No matter how much you mess with yourself, with surgery or you know, clothes or cut your hair differently or how much you wish and pray and dream that you’re gonna wake up as someone else, it’s never gonna happen. You have one life and one opportunity, and all you can be is the best you. I spent so much time in my life feeding into this bullshit and worrying about perceptions of me that people had made. And that’s why this is my opportunity to finally be like, “You know what, you can all fuck off. This is exactly who I am. Now you can decide whether you like me or not. And it’s totally OK with me if you don’t.”
There’s always going to be someone prettier, smarter, funnier, better than you — something — but you’re you. And no one can take that away from you. Every single person in this world is unique and special and worth something. You can become anything you want to. We just live in a society where they love to kick people when they’re down, and they love to put a label on everything.
SK: That’s amazing. And it seems like such a simple lesson to learn, but it’s not.
KO: It’s not. It’s one of the hardest lessons in the entire world. And people do not give it enough credit, especially to the young generation today, the peer pressures that they undergo. It’s a fucking race for perfection and perfection doesn’t exist. It’s a waste of our fucking lives.
SK: It’s probably especially hard as a woman in Hollywood. Did you feel special pressure as a woman?
KO: Because I never looked like a supermodel, I never fell into that. But because I didn’t fall into it, it gave me a real fast lesson on that pressure, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. It is a miserable existence. Like all these women in Hollywood, people don’t realize that they work out like six hours a day with a personal trainer and have a chef. They can pay for all of that stuff, and that’s why they look like that. And I’m scared of surgery, I’ve never had any. Oh! I had my tonsils out. I mean, there’s maintenance, but I’m still not ready for it yet.
SK: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
KO: I am the dictionary definition of feminist in that I believe women are equal to men. People sometimes use the word for different meanings and it is important to understand that feminism at its core is really is just believing that everyone is equal and should have the same rights. We are all beautiful women, we are still in the fight for equal pay, and we don’t need to fight each other. That’s why I call myself a girl’s girl. If women didn’t rule the world, they wouldn’t have the expression, “Behind every man is a great woman.”
SK: You’ve been on the cover of beauty magazines. Is that surreal for you? Does it conflict with how you feel?
KO: No. I think it’s an honor. I know my idea of beauty isn’t what most people’s is, and the fact that I’m getting the opportunity to show my beauty and work with incredible photographers that actually take me out of my comfort zone and allow me to see myself through their work in a different way — it’s a real honor.
SK: What empowers you today, and how do you stay centered amid everything that goes on in Hollywood?
KO: It’s all fucking bullshit. You can’t take it seriously. You can take what you stand for seriously, your art, your creativity, your morals, but everything else? It can suck shit. Because it is not real. You’ve just got to find a way to laugh about it and not get so sucked into the BS of it.
I wrote my book with the intention of showing people who I am for once and not letting people tell me that anymore. I’m taking my power back. It’s a positive book about how love can get you through anything.
SK: How did you finally learn just to be you?
KO: I’m really shit at being anyone else. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. What I’m really loving right now is that for the first time in my life, I have problems that are not my fault! It’s a whole new world! It’s awesome!