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Sharon Osbourne got emotional on Wednesday's episode while defending friend Piers Morgan's Meghan Markle comments, later apologizing for how she handled the controversy

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 15, 2021 10:18 AM
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The Talk is taking a break following co-host Sharon Osbourne's heated defense of Piers Morgan during an episode last week.

On Wednesday's episode of the talk show, Osbourne, 68, defended her friend Morgan following the backlash for his controversial remarks questioning the validity of Meghan Markle's discussion on mental health during her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Her defense led to an intense exchange with co-host Sheryl Underwood, who pushed back on Osbourne's downplaying of Morgan's comments. Osbourne apologized days later for her "panicked" remarks on air.

The CBS show is taking a hiatus for a couple days while the matter is reviewed, PEOPLE has confirmed.

In a statement on Friday, the network said, "We are committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace. All matters related to the Wednesday episode of 'The Talk' are currently under internal review."

The Talk, which typically airs live at 2 p.m. ET on weekdays, also features co-hosts Carrie Ann Inaba, Amanda Kloots and Elaine Welteroth.

Morgan, 55, faced widespread criticism for comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex on Good Morning Britain, including questioning her authenticity in discussing her mental health struggles. After his co-host Alex Beresford called him out on-air, Morgan stormed off set. Later that day, it was announced that he would be leaving his post at the ITV morning news show.

Following his departure from the news show, Osbourne defended Morgan on Twitter, writing at the time, "I am with you. I stand by you." After her initial show of support for Morgan on Twitter, Osbourne said that she had been accused of being racist during Wednesday's episode of The Talk.

"Did I like everything he said? Did I agree with what he said? No," she said on the talk show. "Because it's his opinion. It's not my opinion ... I support him for his freedom of speech, and he's my friend."

Sheryl Underwood/Sharon Osbourne/Piers Morgan
(From left to right) Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Piers Morgan
| Credit: getty images (3)

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Underwood, 57, pushed back, asking: "What would you say to people who may feel that while you're standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don't agree?"

Their conversation quickly turned emotional with Osbourne telling Underwood to "educate" her and warning her not to cry during the episode. "I very much feel like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend, who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist?" Osbourne asked while on the verge of tears.

Then, early on Friday morning, Osbourne shared a statement on Twitter apologizing for any harm she may have caused in supporting Morgan.

"I have always been embraced with so much love & support from the black community & I have deep respect & love for the black community," she wrote.

"To anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said, I am truly sorry. I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over," Osbourne continued. "There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism so to feel associated with that spun me fast. I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us & will continue to learn, listen and do better."

Noting that she goes not "condone racism, misogyny or bullying," Osbourne said, "I should have been more specific about that in my tweet."

"I will always support freedom of speech, but now I see how I unintentionally didn't make that clear distinction," she continued. "I hope we can collectively continue to learn from each other & from ourselves so that we can all continue to pave the way for much needed growth & change."

"The community on this platform means a lot to me," she added. "I hope we can all hold each other up with accountability, compassion & love during this powerful time of paving the way for so much needed change."

Addressing the situation that Friday, Underwood said on The Steve Harvey Morning Show: "I got calls from all over the world from people that I was wondering, 'How did you find me? How do you know me?' I was getting prayers, I was getting love."