Tragic Details About The Osmond Family

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The Osmond name is celebrated in the entertainment industry, and a new generation is being introduced to it today. The Osmonds, a family of eight boys and one girl — seven of whom would become famous — were thrust into the spotlight from a young age and enjoyed great success. But not everything they experienced was positive.

"I grew up real fast, real young. Normality to us was rehearsing hard on new routines and performing on TV shows, plus tours and other performances, with schoolwork via home tutoring squeezed around that schedule," Donny Osmond told The Guardian in a 2017 interview about his childhood and how fame influenced it. His younger sister Marie Osmond has also spoken about being a child star — and how different her life was from the average childhood.

"I wasn't a normal child. But I grew up with teachers like Frank Sinatra. Sammy Davis Jr. taught me how to walk on stage," she told Fox News in 2019. "Lucille Ball taught me about lighting. Cyd Charisse taught me how to move, and Debbie Reynolds — well, what's not to love?" While they are grateful for their career opportunities, no one from the family has escaped heartache or tragedy. From health concerns to personal losses, this is the story of the Osmands and what they've endured.

The media was unkind to Donny Osmond

At the height of Donny Osmond's fame, he seemingly had it all: talent, good looks, and a loyal fan base. However, his experience with fame was not always positive, and the reviews from critics and the comments the media made about him would be tough on even the most seasoned professional. And he was just a teenager!

"I was 14 or 15, doing my gig, and it's working. I'm one of the biggest teeny boppers in the world, and Rolling Stone magazine comes out with an article which says 'the worst day in rock'n'roll history was the day Donny Osmond was born," he said in an interview with The Mirror. "A teenager is just trying to figure out who he is, let alone having that. That's the ultimate bullying. It really hurt me," he added.

Despite the unkind comments, Osmond would prove that article wrong because he went on to have a long and successful career that spanned decades. This includes a residency in the Flamingo in Las Vegas alongside his sister, Marie Osmond, and appearances on reality television competitions like "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Masked Singer."

Marie Osmond was sexually abused

Marie Osmond's book, "Behind the Smile: My Journey out of Postpartum Depression" is filled with personal details about her life. This includes things she had not previously discussed, like the abuse she experienced as a child. She briefly mentioned this in her interview with host Larry King on "Larry King Live."

She would not detail what happened and who the perpetrator or perpetrators were, preferring to keep it in the past. Instead, she kept the focus on speaking up about what she endured. "I think the most important thing is the statement that, you know, I was definitely abused, and it was definitely sexual," she explained. "And you know, those types of things to go through, you think you are over them, but it is the long-term effects of those types of things that you don't even see."

Osmond also discussed her postpartum depression and noted how her research had helped her discover something interesting. "I have found out is that I would say, huge, almost 90-some odd percent of the people who suffer from postpartum depression have had some form of abuse in their life," she confessed.

Donny Osmond had to fight for love

Donny Osmond's father, George Osmond, was a disciplinarian. George also held strong beliefs and was against the "Puppy Love" singer's decision to marry his wife, Debbie Glenn, at such a young age. "I was a virgin when I got married," Donny told The Guardian in a 2001 interview.

"By the time I was 19, I knew I was in love and had to do something right for me. When I told my dad, he said, 'Well, there goes your career, but this is ushering in your personal life,'" Donny said in another interview. Despite his father's comments, the star was not dissuaded and would marry Debbie in 1978. While he does not regret his decision, and the couple have been married for four decades, Donny does acknowledge that his father was right about the impact his marriage would have on his career. "But Debbie is an amazing person to be with. If I hadn't married her, I'd have been a mess," he confessed.

In a 2022 appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show," he discussed his wife again, saying, "She's this sweet little girl from Montana. She's the most amazing woman and saved my life."

Marie Osmond and her son had depression

Marie Osmond is a mother to eight children. Her fourth child was a son named Michael Blosil, and Osmond has publicly shared his struggles with depression and substance misuse. "[He] was probably the easiest child of all my kids," she said in an interview for "He was so fun. And cute. And darling. It wasn't until my son started using drugs that I saw him change."

In 2010, at the age of 18, he died by suicide. His toxicology report was clean. "I believe the ramifications of them were there, and that was the hard part," Osmond said in the interview about her son's prior drug use. She also recalled her last conversation with Michael, a day before his death. "It was the first time I heard him start to cry and say he was alone," she said. "That he had no friends. That he felt despair."

In some ways, the actor felt she could relate to her son because she had postpartum depression. It began after the birth of her seventh child, and she discussed her feelings in her book, "Behind the Smile: My Journey out of Postpartum Depression." "This couldn't be me, collapsing in hysteria, not even recognizing my own wails," she wrote. "This was not me, shaken to the core, sliding into a despair of the deepest kind. Whoever this was, she had no control of her emotions. Whoever this was, I wanted nothing to do with her."

Marie Osmond's son's death deeply impacted her

The death of Marie Osmond's son, Michael Blosil, profoundly impacted her life. She has been open about the emotional rollercoaster she has experienced and addressed her loss. "You know, I don't think you're ever through it," she said in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning (via People). "I think God gives you respites, and then all of a sudden, it'll hit you like the day it did. The ripple effect is so huge, what you leave behind."

Marie's brother, Donny Osmond, also spoke about how she was coping following Michael's death. "Our dressing rooms are right next door to each other," he told Entertainment Tonight,  per People. "I can hear her crying, and that hurts. What's amazing is that just minutes after she's cried, she'll come out of the dressing room, perfect and ready to go."

Speaking about her son's death raises awareness. "I have never spoken about this before, but my son, who died, he was bullied. He was bullied very heavily right up until the time that he committed suicide because of his sobriety," she said on an appearance on "The Talk" (via USA Today). She chose not to take action against those involved, but her decision to speak about Michael's death may help others understand the seriousness of bullying.

Merrill Osmond had an eating disorder

Merrill Osmond is known for being a fantastic performer and was the lead singer of The Osmonds. While onstage, it would have been difficult to gauge that he had been struggling with his self-confidence. "I thought I was fat, I struggled with my weight," he said in a candid interview for The Yorkshire Post in 2022. "For me, I was the least confident of the brothers. Everyone knew I struggled with my weight."

The pressure of fame would take its toll, and one of the ways it manifested was with what he did. or rather didn't, eat. According to the publication, Merrill recalled how, after performing, he would go to a restaurant but always order less than everyone else, a half portion for himself and never more. "I had an eating disorder. I starved myself," he admitted. Sadly, he is not the only Osmond family member to disclose starving themselves.

"From the time I started 'Donny & Marie,' age 15, I did starvation," Marie Osmond told Fox News in 2019.

Marie Osmond was shamed by a producer

Marie Osmond has experienced the darker side of fame. When she was a teenager filming the variety show "Donny & Marie" with her brother Donny Osmond, a producer approached her about her weight.

"It was on that lot that I was taken out to the back by some head of the studio — and I'm like 5′ 5″ and about 103 pounds — and he basically said, 'You're an embarrassment to your family. You're fat,'" she recalled in an interview with Page Six. She would later change her lifestyle after claiming she looked like an "emaciated skeleton with skin on her."

In an interview with Fox News in 2019, Marie shared more about this time in her life. "I would literally starve myself for three days before taping, drinking lemon water and cayenne pepper with maple syrup so I can be skinny," she said of her actions while filming "Donny & Marie." She did this because of the comments that were made to her, including threatening to cancel the show.

Merrill has depression and anxiety

In an interview with The Yorkshire Post, Merrill touched on his mental health. "I was really suffering with depression and anxiety even though we had number one records," he said. As an adult, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder but admits to feeling depressed and anxious for most of his life. "The anxiety started when I was about 10, and by 16, depression had really set in," he told The Mirror in 2019. "Even though the fame and the popularity were all going on, and it was an exciting time, I saw no hope," he said.

It is still an uphill battle. "I still have bouts of it almost weekly. I can sit and cry all night, which I've done many times," Merrill said. But this is a topic he is open to discussing because he sees how valuable the sharing of his story can be. He does not shy away from the topic in his podcast, "Sound Advice," which he co-hosts with his son, Justin Osmond.

"I suffer with a lot of anxiety and depression, [and] we have a brother who has [multiple sclerosis], so we've talked about that," Merrill told Deseret News. "We basically just talk about things that have been going on in our lives that might be able to help someone."

George Osmond was a very strict father

The Osmonds grew up in a strict household, with Merrill Osmond likening it to being in the armed forces. "My childhood was run like I was in the military, and I was always in the spotlight," he told The Mirror. "Our Dad was a ­military sergeant, and my brain started to churn with it all."

Their father, George Osmond, grew up in a less-than-ideal environment, which Donny Osmond feels may have explained his behavior. "You have to remember that he was an army sergeant who was raised by an abusive stepfather, and he was kicked out of the house when he was in his teens," Donny told The Guardian.

Despite this, Donny deeply loved and respected the man who raised him. "When you look at his background, the man is a hero," he said in the interview. He shared similar sentiments in a 2007 statement to Entertainment Tonight after the death of their father at age 90. "He was the best man I've ever known," Donny said (via Today).

Alan Osmond was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

Alan Osmond was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1987. He has eight sons, one of whom, David Osmond, shares his diagnosis. To educate others on MS, David has spoken about his health. He has also discussed his father and the challenges he faces.

"In the '90s, he started tripping and falling. He couldn't do the things he wanted to, and it became dangerous for him to be on stage," David told Good News Utah of his dad. "As his body started to slow down, he struggled." Despite Alan's challenges, David describes him as "very positive and a total optimist."

Marie Osmond praised Alan and his son David for their resilience. In an Instagram post in 2020, she shared a compilation video of individuals partaking in competitive sports. Discussing one of the "many examples in life of people who simply did not give up," she spoke about Alan and David and their health. "It's a huge struggle, but they never give up. Instead, they use this motto every single day of their lives for a positive remembrance to find strength in their daily challenges: 'I may have MS, but MS does not have me!'" she wrote.

Jimmy Osmond had a stroke

Jimmy Osmond is the baby of the Osmond clan and, like his siblings, has enjoyed tremendous success. But he too suffered a tragedy when he had a stroke onstage during a December 2018 performance in the pantomime, "Peter Pan." The severity of the stroke was initially uncertain, but Jimmy stepped away from the spotlight.

At the time, his brother, Merrill Osmond, gave a statement about Jimmy's health. "I think live performances are off the cards. They're off the cards, brother," he told the Press Association (via NME). Jimmy was also seeking privacy. "Jimmy definitely needed space, and he still does. He doesn't want to meet with anybody," Merrill added. Merrill made an update about his brother in an interview with The Mirror. "What's cool is he's never had this amount of time before with his family. They're going places, and Jimmy runs like crazy now, jogs everywhere, and what he's doing now is painting," he said. He also confirmed his brother was "getting better every day."

In 2019, Donny Osmond commented on Jimmy and his "health setbacks" in an Instagram post. "He has always been a source of inspiration to me. But now more than ever, it's humbling and inspiring to watch Jimmy face a difficult road of recovery with optimism, hope, dedication and resilience," Donny shared.

Jay Osmond had a mini stroke caused by stress

In 2020, Jay Osmond revealed he had health complications caused by stress. He shared a health update via Facebook, writing, "I didn't want to alarm anyone, so I hadn't said this earlier. A couple of months ago, I came really close to a stroke. BP over 200. They said I had a mini-stroke. This was brought on by stresses I was under."

The musician shared with fans that non-work-related stress was affecting his blood pressure, but he was taking action to keep it under control. In the post's comment section, he responded positively to fans and thanked them for their concern for his well-being. He also referred to the cause of the stress several times, stating it was an "external source" but offering no further details.

Jay is active on social media and posts on Facebook often. At present, he appears to be in good health and announced he would perform in Branson, Missouri, beginning in March 2024.

Wayne Osmond had a brain tumor

Wayne Osmond was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1994. He fully recovered and, ten years later, shared his story with Coping magazine.

"One day when I was working in Branson, I noticed I couldn't play my saxophone anymore because my head would start throbbing," Wayne said of an incident while on tour in 1994. "And my knees would fall out from under me when I was on stage. This all began happening within a week." When his schedule freed up, he sought help, and it was then that he learned he had ependymoma. He underwent 17 hours of surgery to remove the tumor behind his cerebellum. "It was pretty big — it was an inch around and two inches long," he recalled. He also needed six weeks of radiation.

"I went back to performing six months after I was diagnosed. I wore my cowboy hat on stage since all of my hair had fallen out from radiation. But after a while, it grew back," Wayne shared. He also noted how the experience strengthened his bond with his wife, Kathy, whom he called "an absolute angel."

The Osmond's have dealt with death and heartache

The Osmond family has had several health issues over the years, which Marie Osmond touched on in an interview with People in 2018, per Fox News. "It's been an interesting year: my brother Virl had a stroke, my brother Tom had a quadruple bypass, Jimmy had a stroke, and Donny, of course, is having surgery."

The siblings have also experienced heartache and loss. In 2014, Jay Osmond's wife's 7-year-old granddaughter, London Mortensen, died when a moving trailer door fell on her, according to RadarOnline. Jay made a statement on Twitter, writing, "Our hearts are heavy with the loss of Karen's granddaughter. How sad it is to lose someone so sweet and so young."

In 2019, Merrill Osmond shared an update about the death of his son, who was 33. "My son, Troy, died of a heart attack in his sleep last November," he wrote on Facebook. His passing is also believed to have affected Marie Osmond. "She immediately rushed to her brother Merrill's side to comfort him and his wife, Mary," a source said. "Marie knows the pain of losing a child firsthand."