Heavy Mettle Mom
For the famously tough-as-nails rock and roll matriarch, the most difficult battle still lies ahead. Just two weeks after negotiating a $20 million deal for a second season of The Osbournes -- the reality-TV phenomenon that invited the world into the family's endearingly warped existence, propelling MTV to record high ratings and the offbeat clan to towering heights of celebrity -- Sharon, 49, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on July 1. On July 3 -- the day before her 20th wedding anniversary -- surgeons removed a foot of her colon. Then, on July 8, she was dealt another blow: One of two nearby lymph nodes removed during surgery tested positive for cancerous cells, indicating the cancer has spread beyond her colon. "It was not the best news," says Sharon, who will start a three-month course of chemotherapy July 29. "You think nothing will ever happen to you. You're invincible. Then after you get over the shock and panic, you realize how lucky you are to be alive. That's where I'm at right now. I simply have to take care of this thing."
Osbourne, who says her "prognosis is very, very good," is facing it with plenty of support from the family she has steered through times good, bad and ugly -- and with her own irrepressibly lewd sense of humor. "Why'd they have to find it in my bum of all places?" she says of her cancer. "It's embarrassing. I mean, why couldn't I have had a cute heart-shaped polyp on my vagina?" Ozzy, 53 -- who, like children Aimee, 18, Kelly, 17, and Jack, 16, calls Sharon Mommy -- finds it harder to be lighthearted. "I've done a lot of praying, believe it or not," says the singer, who credits Sharon with nurturing him through more than a decade of drug and alcohol abuse and turning his career around with her management savvy. "She's my whole world -- she's the best lover I've ever had, the best friend I've ever had. She has been my pillar of strength for many years."