Ozzy Caught Cheating! The Potential Consequences of Sharon Osbourne's Digital Snooping
After nearly 34 years of marriage, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have split again.
Suspicious that Ozzy may be cheating again, Sharon traced his online activity. Her digital detective work produced an incriminating e-mail thread, and she discovered her husband's affair with hairstylist Michelle Pugh.
"Sharon found out about the affair by searching through Ozzy's emails. She was upset that he was supporting this woman!" an insider reportedly told Us Weekly.
While sipping on lemonade, a reference to Beyoncé's latest infidelity-themed album, Sharon was asked whether she'd forgive Ozzy for his latest indiscretion. She has looked past his previous affairs, after he cheated while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but this one may have crossed the line!
This twist in the breakdown of the Osbournes' tumultuous marriage comes just days after Sharon kicked Ozzy out of their Los Angeles home. Since then, Ozzy has returned to the couple's home, and Sharon has moved out and is reportedly interviewing divorce lawyers.
Perhaps Ozzy ought to lawyer up too? Regardless of divorce rumours, Ozzy could potentially sue Sharon for her nosey snooping! Although spouses' often have access to and do use each other's e-mails and other personal accounts, doing so without the other person's authorization can have legal consequences.
In Ontario, if a person willfully and deliberately invades their spouse's privacy, this may be sufficient on its own to give rise to an independent cause of action in tort. To qualify as an invasion of privacy (for the purposes of the 'intrusion upon seclusion' tort), the following must be proven by the spouse making the claim: a. that the other person's action or conduct was intentional or reckless; b. that the other person invaded their private affairs or concerns without lawful jurisdiction; and c. that a reasonable person would regard such an invasion as highly offensive, causing distress, humiliation or anguish.
In cases where a separated husband has accused the wife for "hacking" into his e-mail account and reading his personal e-mails, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has entertained allegations of invasion of privacy (even if the wife had always had the computer password).
This means that Sharon could be in serious trouble for digging through Ozzy's personal e-mails (at least if she lived in Ontario she could be)! If Ozzy can demonstrate that Sharon intentionally or recklessly invaded his personal affairs, such that a reasonable person would consider her accessing his e-mails as highly offensive, causing distress, humiliation or anguish, he may have a civil claim for damages against her. Any proof of actual loss or damage would not be required.
This should serve as a public service announcement for all: although it is okay to collect account statements and financial records that you have access to without the use of any passwords, be aware that there may be real legal consequences associated with accessing your spouse's private information!