The Story Behind Sharon Osbourne And Steve Brookstein’s Bitter X Factor Feud


Steve Brookstein shot to fame when he won the first ever series of The X Factor in 2004, beating vocal troupe G4 in the final, but it hadn’t been an easy ride for the wannabe.

Throughout his triumphant series, which landed him with a £1 million recording contract, the star clashed with judge Sharon Osbourne on several occasions, culminating in the panellist directing an angry tirade at him in the final.

His music career didn’t go as planned, so was Sharon right about Steve all along?

Writing On The Wall

The writing was perhaps on the wall for Steve and Sharon’s relationship from his very first audition.

At the time, Sharon and fellow judge Louis Walsh were less than impressed with him, and the red-headed star told him: “You’ve got a defeatist attitude before you’ve begun.”

Louis agreed, saying, “I wouldn’t want you in my group,” and while Simon wanted him to progress Steve was sent packing.

Minutes later, Simon put his foot down and Steve was invited back for another audition, during which he impressed the trio and Sharon even stuck up for him afterwards, saying to Simon and Louis: “You guys are giving him such a hard time.”

Steve was put through and the rest, as they say, is history.

However, even though he went on to win, Sharon took a clear disliking to him as each week went by and she blew her top in the final.


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Sharon’s Outburst

After Steve had performed his last song in the show’s first ever final, leaving it up to the viewers to decide who won the inaugural series out of him and G4, Sharon took her opportunity to expose the star as a “fake” and humiliate him in front of nine million viewers.

Following his performance, Sharon was asked how she felt about it and she initially said nothing until someone in the audience shouted “fabulous”, to which she grimaced and said: “No, not fabulous.”

As the audience gasped, she let out an almighty rant at the expressionless X Factor contestant, saying: “Everybody knows the way I feel about Steve. I’ve never been a Steve fan. Steve has a very nice voice. For me he’s not a superstar.

"I just have to say this, I am so fed up of Mr. Humble and Mr. Should I Sell My Volkswagen? Should I keep it?

"He has been over-confident from day one. He’s not what he seems.

"But believe me, all that BS that he gives out every week, he’s even fooled Simon.


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"He’s full of crap and he’s an average singer, ask everybody else on this contest. He’s overly-confident.”

Simon defended his act, insisting it she was “inappropriate to be personal”, but his comments only seemed to reignite Sharon’s fire and she ranted again: “It wasn’t personal … the public should know he’s a fake!”

Simon then blasted: “Sharon, just shut up. Shut up,” before adding: “We are very fortunate, we have careers. This means a lot to him. You should remember that.”

Sharon was having none of it, interrupting: “Don’t start with the victim…”

Steve didn’t mention Sharon’s angry tirade as X Factor presenter Kate Thornton gave him chance to reflect on his final song, simply saying he “fluffed it a little bit” because it was an emotional tune.

Steve Speaks Out

Despite Sharon insisting Steve wasn’t genuine, the viewers clearly didn’t believe her and a star was born as he made history when he was announced as the show’s first ever winner just minutes after her volley of abuse.

Days later, Steve admitted he was “hurt” by the personal insults Sharon had hurled at him on the live final, and insisted he had “been through the mill” during the programme.

He said: “What Sharon said did hurt me. Behind the scenes here it is a tough gig and a lot of things are said which can hurt people. I’ve been through the mill on this show.”


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Previous Clashes

Steve also claimed Sharon had “often” insulted him throughout the series when the cameras weren’t turned on, insisting she blasted him as a “f***ing ****” during the final rehearsal ahead of the grand finale.

He said: “Sharon often says nasty things to me during rehearsals which she won’t say on camera. "When she did it during the final rehearsal I just looked at her and pretended not to hear her, by saying ‘blah, blah, blah, blah’.

"She just went into one, standing up and shouting at me, calling me every name on the sun, effing and blinding. I just stood there thinking 'wow’.”

Sharon’s View

Sharon later revealed she had been asked by the producers to apologise to Steve following her outburst in the final, but flatly refused.

And in her book, Sharon Osbourne Extreme: My Autobiography, she admitted slamming him in rehearsals ahead of the final.

Sharon claimed she had praised Steve’s final rehearsal performance, despite not being his biggest fan, but he responded to her compliment with “yeah, yeah, yeah”, so she “lost it”.

She wrote: “"You disrespectful piece of s,” I said. “You are not good enough to f***ing wash my underwear. You are a talentless, worthless piece of s**t and I’m going to let everybody know about you tonight.” “

In the book, Sharon also poked fun at Steve’s "designer stubble” and joked he had turned up to his audition “looking like he’d been down the pub all night”, but admitted she “took it too far” with her public blasting of him in the live final.

She said: “I had forgotten that this was a TV show. I had forgotten that the audience at home needed someone to warm to. Perfection wasn’t what they wanted.

"I heard that Simon never wanted to see me again, never wanted to talk to me again, never wanted to work with me again, and I didn’t blame him. I had just committed professional hara-kiri. I thought I would never hear from anybody at ITV again.”


Copyright [Harsha Gopal/WENN]

Fred West 'Lookalike’

As well as Sharon, her partner in crime Louis added fuel to the fire less than a week before the final.

During an appearance on ITV’s This Morning, the Irish judge left co-hosts Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton open-mouthed when he compared Steve to serial killer Fred West.

He said: “I think he’s just a very average singer. He just stands there and smiles. He’s like Fred West.”

The shocked co-presenters shrieked: “Fred West?”

And Louis replied: “That’s who he looks like.”

What’s Happened Since?

Years after his X Factor win, Steve claimed in his book, Getting Over The X, that Sharon and Louis had planted stories about him in the press and Simon’s support of him was only for the cameras.

He also recalled a story in which Sharon once apparently tried to sabotage one of his live interviews by banging on his dressing room wall.

He clearly still feels hurt about Sharon’s comments as after Sam Bailey won the 2013 X Factor series, nine years after his triumph, Steve took to Twitter to hit out at Sharon.

He tweeted: “Never forget 30 mins after winning X Factor Mrs O said "you f***ing **** I hope you fail” she’s all heart that woman.“

Steve also wrote: "X factor needs to get cancelled. It ruins Christmas”


Copyright [Rex/Shutterstock]

But he never seemed to be at one with The X Factor experience and the press interest that came with it, as he revealed in a 2014 interview with The Guardian.

Speaking about the morning after he won the show, he said: “I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t imagine a footballer doing GMTV the morning after winning the FA Cup.”

He also admitted Simon was different with him after the show, recalling the moment he was told his first album would be full of covers, after claiming the music mogul initially assured him that wouldn’t be the case.

Steve previously said: “He was extremely stern. I’d never seen him like it on X Factor. It was cold – just: ‘Look, this is how it’s going to be.’

"Inside I’m thinking, 'Who the f**k are you talking to? I don’t take this s**t.’

"But I thought, 'You know what, I’ll give you one album. But you mess this up and we’re falling out.’

"I didn’t want to go on The X Factor and be made a fool of. And I thought: no, I’m not having this. ’Cos I know that the music I do is good.’ ”