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The Osbourne family kicks ‘Baby’ out of feathered nest


When rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon took in a teenager whose penniless single mom died of the same cancer that Sharon eventually beat, the family reached its popularity peak.

That was 2002.

The kid, Robert Marcato, turned overnight star on the granddaddy of all celebrity reality shows, MTV’s The Osbournes. Quickly, the 18-year-old “Baby Osbourne” became one of the new additions to the Los Angeles wet-behind-the-ears-celebrity circles that already included Paris Hilton but also Kelly and Jack Osbourne, the couple’s youngest children.

“He’s an Osbourne now,” Sharon told me at the time she took him out of the two-bedroom apartment he shared with his dying mom and to the Osbournes’ Beverly Hills mansion. “I’ll take care of him like I would my own baby.”

By year’s end, it was Osbourne time on the cover of People, and Marcato was interviewed by Barbara Walters on 20/20.

But this is 2008. And the limelight has long faded. And the Osbournes moved back to England.

Now, the clock has run out on Marcato’s Cinderella moment.

At 24, he’s nearly destitute, living in a garage in a rough neighborhood of East Providence, R.I., jobless, fighting depression and waiting for the Osbournes to rescue him again.

Problem is: He could be waiting for a long, long time.

“Robert became a liability for the Osbournes,” said Marcato’s aunt, Russelle Marcato. “With his mom’s death, he had emotional problems. Hers was a very violent death, with hours of screaming from pain.

“A year ago, he was taken to the UCLA psych ward for a week. The following week, (the Osbournes) got him out of town. He hasn’t heard from them since.”

Page 2.1 reached Robert on Wednesday, but he hung up after saying: “I’m not going to talk to you.”

Marcato first met the Osbournes in the late ’90s. He hung with their oldest daughter, Aimee, then Kelly at a special education school in Encino, Calif. Kelly especially took to Marcato, and eventually Sharon heard of the cancer bout slowly killing his mom, Reagan.

Not only did the former talk show hostess pay for Reagan’s care, she also vowed to take care of Robert.

It’s not that Marcato had no family, mind you. Russelle, who raised Robert earlier in his life, said she would have taken him in. And his dad, who wasn’t a factor in his life except for sending child support, came to the funeral in an attempt to help his son.

Said Russelle: “I tried to discourage him from moving in with the Osbournes, but Robert didn’t want to hear it. What teenage music lover would pass on living with Ozzy Osbourne?

“Then part of me figured it couldn’t be so bad,” she said, although she had some misgivings about the Osbournes’ dysfunctional ways. “I minded these rich Beverly Hills people arrogantly taking over. But everybody in the family was struggling financially. My house was getting foreclosed on.”

By all accounts, the Osbournes delivered. They moved Robert to their pool house and put him through film school. Later, they paid his rent off Sunset Boulevard and bought him a car.

A setback at school, says Russelle, may have sent Robert into a tailspin and to his February 2007 hospital stay.

“When he came out, the Osbournes flew him to his dad near Providence,” Russelle said. “They even cut off his health insurance.”

Robert’s father, Bob MacLea, declined to talk about it. But with no marketable skills, health insurance companies refusing to cover him and his refusal to seek medical help, Robert is battling depression, Russelle says.

He lives alone in a garage that his dad owns in a tough neighborhood.

“Of course, a 24-year-old man should be pulling himself up by the bootstraps,” says Russelle, “and the Osbournes meant well. But don’t they say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions? They were told this wouldn’t work, but they were too arrogant to listen. I blame myself for not fighting harder to keep Robert, and I blame them for taking in an emotionally troubled young man and making him worse.”

In an e-mail to Page 2.1, Sharon responded: “We are very proud to have helped him through a difficult time in his life and find comfort in knowing that he is now surrounded by his own family.”

She also addressed the fact that newspapers and magazines worldwide announced that Marcato had been adopted.

“We did not legally adopt him,” Sharon wrote.

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