Michelle Pugh's life has changed dramatically in the short few months since her four-year affair with Ozzy Osbourne was revealed, subsequently making her a target for scrutiny and bullying – mainly at the hands of the rocker's wife and children, one of whom she's now suing.
"I am not asking for anyone's approval, but the difference between someone's disapproval, and shaming and harassing publicly, that's verbal abuse," Pugh tells WHO of the response to her and Ozzy's relationship. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you are not allowed to bully other people."
Pugh, a celebrity hair colourist, claims she and Ozzy have been involved since 2012. Although she tells WHO that Ozzy was "the greatest love of my life," the musician's rep says that Pugh "took their relationship out of context" and that the star is in therapy for sex addiction.
"He would like to apologise to the other women he has been having sexual relationships with," the rep tells WHO. "Since his relationship with Ms. Pugh was exposed, Ozzy has gone into intense therapy."
Ozzy and wife of 33-years, Sharon Osbourne, split in May after the revelation, but were "back on track," according to the singer, by July.
Despite the reconciliation, Pugh says the attacks against her haven't stopped – she's been chased by cars and followed to work by tabloid reporters. "People falling in love with each other and staying married to someone else and having romantic relationships: It's an age old story," she contends. "But for some reason here we are in 2016, and they are running this 1600s Scarlet Letter novel."
Pugh also claims Ozzy's daughter Kelly Osbourne helped subject her to public backlash by tweeting out her direct phone number and accusing her of "elder abuse."
"She went on a Twitter rampage, and she started getting responses the night that she tweeted my number out," Pugh says. "Maybe four hours later, she started responding back to people. One of them wrote, 'You have no idea what she did.' [She responded], 'My father is almost 70, ever hear of elder abuse?' I'm like, 'elder abuse?' We had a four year relationship."
In response, Pugh says she sent Kelly a cease and desist letter in May, but asserts that the tweet with her phone number wasn't deleted for nearly a month. She is now suing Kelly for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and public disclosure of private facts, according to court documents obtained by WHO.
"Not only had Plaintiff begun to be slut-shamed, bullied, and harassed for allegedly breaking up a marriage, but was wrongfully accused of a crime that further held her up to ridicule, hate, and shame," the papers state. "No less than 4.07 million persons were given the opportunity to communicate this hate and harassment to Plaintiff directly, to her formerly private unlisted blocked telephone; the same phone number that Plaintiff provided to her exclusive clientele."
The suit continues: "Since having her private blocked phone number publicly released, Plaintiff has had to obtain a new phone number and actively dispel false rumors of termination from her salon due to her relationship with Ozzy, as framed by Kelly."
"I am a private individual. I am not a celebrity," Pugh tells WHO. "My private life is off limits."
Pugh adds that she understands why Sharon would speak publicly about the affair, but says the "shaming" crossed the line.
"Not only have they stated their speculation, but they have come out and attacked me, berated me, and publicly shamed me on a global scale," she alleges. "Once it is on the Internet, it is out there for the whole world to see and it is always going to be there... The point is you cannot violate someone's privacy like that."
Pugh has since thought more seriously about bullying in the age of social media, even finding a kinship in Monica Lewinsky's words about the subject from her 2015 TED Talk.
"So many teens are being bullied online," she says. "Monica said, in the beginning, and it's one of the things I am realizing is that this is not just about me and my relationship with Ozzy. It has turned into this whole other thing that has nothing to do with either one of us. It is about this media platform of public shaming... If I can help encourage one person to stand up to someone who is bullying them and say, 'No this is not right,' then I'm proud I came forward. And there is plenty strength in that."
For more on Ozzy Osbourne and his relationship with Michelle, see the latest issue of WHO out now.
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