Sheryl Underwood spoke out publicly for the first time after last month’s heated on-air exchange with co-host Sharon Osbourne, who left CBS daytime talk show “The Talk” in the wake of a network review of the incident.
In a three-part podcast series, “Sharon Walks Away,” Underwood said she and Osbourne have not spoken. “The Talk” has been on hiatus since Osbourne shouted down Underwood while defending her friend and British TV personality Piers Morgan, who came under fire for attacks on Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.
“Have you spoken to Sharon Osbourne since the last time you were on set together?” podcast co-host James Kelley asked Underwood.
“No, OK, I’ve been looking through my phone,” she said. “No. I can go back as far as I can go. No.”
Osbourne’s spokesperson, Howard Bragman, shared a screenshot of a text Osbourne appeared to send Underwood on March 12 apologizing for her behavior on the show. NBC News could not independently verify whether the texts were authentic.
During the show’s March 10 broadcast, Osbourne said she shouldn’t be criticized for standing by her Morgan, a longtime critic of Meghan and her husband Prince Harry. Underwood, who is Black, gently pushed back and asked if her defense “gave validation or safe haven” to his “racist” statements, even if she didn’t agree.
Osbourne told Underwood to “educate” her about when she has said “racist things.” Osbourne later tweeted an explanation and issued a public apology addressing her statements on the show.
“To anyone of colour that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said, I am truly sorry,” Osbourne said. “I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us & will continue to learn, listen and do better.”
Underwood said the apology left her with an “odd” feeling.
“The issue is, for me, it’s about trust,” she said. “I don’t want to add to the chatter in a negative way that we’re not coming with positive solutions and trust and growth and evolution.”
Underwood also said that she apologized to Osbourne both on-air and after the show for her role in her exit, “intentionally or unintentionally,” and she regrets how the incident unfolded.
“There’s nothing I could have ‘just would’ve’ — this was going to happen, out of my control,” she said.
Moving forward, Underwood said she harbored no ill will towards against Osbourne and her family.
“Remember when I said, ‘I do not know you to be a racist. I know you doing the work and being on the journey,'” Underwood said, referring to her comments at the end of the on-air exchange with Osbourne. “I still love the Osbournes, from what I’ve known of them.”
However, she added that she was “disappointed” with how Osbourne treated her.
“I’m trying to navigate my feelings about that because it was a trauma. Remember, I said I’m PTSD, in shock, in slow-motion,” Underwood said.
She said she appreciated how CBS handled the incident. Network officials previously said they were “identifying plans to enhance the producing staff and producing procedures to better serve the hosts, the production and, ultimately, our viewers.”
“I was pleasantly surprised to get down to the bottom of things, so that we could correct things,” Underwood said.
“The Talk” is set to return on April 12.