The similarities between Ozzy Osbourne’s family and Terry “Hulk” Hogan’s bleached-blond brood are as striking as the wrestling legend’s famous leg drop finishing move.
Hogan, 51, is the only seasoned celebrity among his family of four, just like Ozzy. Daughter Brooke, 16, is an aspiring music star, just like Kelly. Son Nick, 14, is rebellious and slightly apathetic, just like Jack. And wife Linda seems to be the true ringleader of the household, just like — you guessed it — Sharon.
Of course, the tanned and rowdy Hogan family, stars of the upcoming VH1 reality show “Hogan Knows Best,” would like to think otherwise.
“Our intensity isn’t madness,” insists Hogan, clad in his trademark do-rag while sitting with his family in a conference room high above Times Square. “We are a united front here.”
The Hogans — who’ve ditched their real name Bollea in favor of dad’s stage name — are certainly united in the acceptance of their dysfunction and drive to become superstars. They often spat, but the feuds never reach the expletive-filled bluntness of the Osbournes.
“We’re the clean version of ‘The Osbournes,”’ says Nick.
As the “Real American Hero,” Hogan dominated the wrestling world in the 1980s, way before anybody ever smelled what The Rock was cookin’. Known for addressing everyone as “brother” and tearing his yellow Hulkamania shirt with his bare hands, Hogan usually was an absentee daddy because of his demanding traveling schedule.
“We went out of our way to be regular,” says Linda. “He would change his schedule around to try to be the soccer dad. Little by little, he started spending more time at home. He didn’t like being on the road as much anymore.”
Curfews, no datingBefore fatherhood, Hogan often advised little Hulkamaniacs to say their prayers and take their vitamins. With his own kids, curfews are enforced, drugs are a no-no and dating is off-limits — although he did let a 22-year-old friend of the family take Brooke out on her first date after grilling the guy on his sexual history. The experience, which Brooke calls “totally embarrassing,” is captured in the first episode.
Linda says when Brooke and Nick would act up as youngsters, it wasn’t the Hulkster who’d lay the smackdown.
“Our house is full of antiques,” she explains. “I have this one section in the living room that looks like an English riding setup so I’ve got the old English leather boots and the caps and the switch that I used to smack their fannies with. It’s got this little leather loop on the end of it.”
Now that they’re teenagers, dad says Nick is the naughtier kid; mom says Brooke.
“Mom?” Brooke whines in reply. “Why me? I’m a virgin. I don’t do drugs. I’m perfect. I’m nice to people. I always did my homework.”
Despite the strictness, Linda and Hulk are supportive of Nick and Brooke’s extracurricular activities. Nick’s into cars. Brooke’s into being a star. She wants to ride her dad’s do-rag tails to Britneydom. After going through what Hogan calls a “boot camp” with boy-band impresario Lou Pearlman, Brooke ditched the producer and is recording a debut album on her own.
“They were exposed to behind-the-scenes from early on,” says Linda. “They grew up thinking that’s the norm, that you’re backstage, not in the audience.”
“I can’t imagine just doing a normal job,” says Brooke.
Using his fame, Hulk is giving Brooke a big push. The pair popped up at this year’s Grammys and starred in the VH1 special “Hulk Hogan, Stage Dad,” the precursor to “Hogan Knows Best.” Hulk is afraid of Brooke receiving the Lindsay Lohan tabloid treatment, but it’s all part of the job.
“I know I can handle it,” says the bubbly Brooke.
Although Hulk is the star of “Hogan Knows Best,” which premieres 10 p.m. EDT Sunday, boosting Brooke’s pop career was the main motivation for allowing producers and camera crews to invade their 18,000-square-foot home in Belleair, Fla.
“We want to be on an even playing field,” says Hogan, citing the surge Ashlee Simpson’s reality show gave her debut album.
“Terry and I knew about the reality side of having a reality TV show,” says Linda. “It’s in your face. It’s four months of having no privacy.”
“You just can’t stay on guard for 24 hours a day,” says Hulk. “There was an effort for a couple of days for me to keep the rag on my head. Screw it. Who cares if the bald head is hanging out?”