Sheryl Underwood has weighed in on Sharon Osbourne's exit from The Talk following their heated on-air discussion and its fallout, which ultimately led to Osbourne announcing she would leave the CBS talk show.
In a three-part podcast series titled "Sharon Walks Away," Underwood addressed her intense exchange with Osbourne on the March 10 episode of The Talk. It began when the latter defended Piers Morgan in the wake of his controversial words about Meghan Markle, and Underwood pushed back, questioning Osbourne about her support for the British broadcaster.
"While you are standing by your friend, it appears that you are giving validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist," Underwood said.
Osbourne then asked Underwood to explain what was racist about Morgan's remarks. "I feel like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is racist, so that makes me a racist," she said, telling Underwood "not to cry" as they continued talking.
Christopher Willard/Freeform via Getty; Randee St. Nicholas/CBS via Getty
Osbourne later claimed she had been "blindsided" by Underwood's questions, which she said were given to her cohost by CBS executives. The network conducted an investigation into the matter, during which the show went on hiatus, and "did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts," according to a statement.
Underwood echoed this on her podcast, stating that "none" of her questions came from executives, and that as the moderator of the conversation, she wanted to frame the discussion "in a way that was not perceived as attacking."
"In my gut, I thought this was going to go left," she recalled. "And so I wanted to put it in its proper order, be very calm."
Underwood added that she has not spoken to Osbourne since they were last on set together, and that her former cohost has not reached out to apologize. (A rep for Osbourne had previously told PEOPLE that Osbourne had reached out to Underwood.)
Discussing her previous relationship with Osbourne, Underwood said, "I automatically just fell in love with her because I just like her. And I heard things and I was like, 'They got nothing to do with me.' My thing is I'm going to get to know you first.
"I had heard things, and I got phone calls of this and that, and so what I said to those people, I said, 'Thank you for the information,'" she continued. "Because listen, in this business you've got all types of personalities, right?" Underwood did not elaborate on what she had heard.
In the wake of the controversial discussion, Osbourne was accused of making racist and offensive remarks during her tenure at The Talk. She vehemently denied the accusations (but repeated the racist language that had been alleged) in an interview with the Daily Mail shortly thereafter.
The Talk will return with original episodes April 12.