Living on the edge, Osmond is a survivor

By Norm Clarke  (VSiN Columnist) 

July 4, 2017 03:55 AM

Slowing down her fast-lane career has entered Marie Osmond’s mind, but retirement is down the road “as long as my voice still works.”


With life as an empty-nest parent looming and her remarriage to former BYU basketball star Stephen Craig still in the honeymoon phase, she’s ecstatic about quality-time getaways.


And nothing says recapturing your lost childhood like staying in what she called “a five-star tree-house with gourmet food and everything.”


“We’re actually going to go,” said Osmond, in a wide-ranging, revealing interview during “Conversations with Norm” on Saturday.


“We’re going to do all the things that matter,” Osmond told a near-capacity at Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Osmond and Craig remarried in 2011 after divorcing 25 years earlier.


Osmond hinted she and her brother are leaning toward extending the Donny & Marie show at the Flamingo. Their 10-year anniversary was a year ago. And she has another Broadway-related project in the works.


“I’m doing a new album more Broadway opera-based,” said the versatile entertainer whose career has spanned country, pop and Broadway musicals.


She shared her incredible highs and lows, from a No. 1 hit (“Paper Roses”) at the age of 12½ to marital and financial setbacks.


At the age of 40, postpartum depression nearly resulted in her driving her car off a cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway.


Don’t let the signature ever-sunny smile fool you, she’s a tough-minded survivor.


Nothing illustrates that more than her story about the day Donny accidentally ice-skated over her finger during the first incarnation of the “Donny & Marie” show in the 1970s.


“I can’t even tell you the pain I felt every time my heart beat,” she said. "I said I have to go to the hospital. They said ‘you can’t. This is $60,000 a half hour and we can’t afford that. You need to finish off this hour. We got to get these celebrities to the airplane. This crew can’t sit around and wait for you.’”


Osmond told the audience, “I remember thinking I don’t matter. That's what you kind of think, I am not important.


“I remember I went back in the set area, where they build all the sets, and looked around and pulled out a drill.”


She drilled through the fingernail to relieve the pressure. “Blood squirted everywhere,” she said.


“You get tough,” she said, adding she’s no “wimp. I’m pretty tough, I think, from growing up with brothers. My dad always told me he was grateful he had one son,” she said, to laughs.


She drew on her inner strength when she encountered sexual abuse, mental abuse and a severe case of postpartum depression.


“I was sexually abused as a child and I believe that’s a real high component in (depression). Never spoke about those things. I never wanted to humiliate my family or let them know. And as a child, one of the reasons I loved being on stage was that it was safer than being backstage.


“There are a just a lot of things. I don’t get into details on it. It was all taken care of and I feel I’m in a very good place, but it’s a very sad, sad thing that can be fixed and people can talk about it.”


Dealing with postpartum depression after the 1999 birth of her son Matthew “was a very hard point for me in my life. I remember driving down Pacific Coast Highway. Five times I almost drove my car off it because I truly believed everybody would be better off without me. And there were a lot of reasons for that … a very bad marriage and a lot of things.”


She added, “If I hadn’t been a 40-year-old woman at the time and had a lot of life underneath me and a very strong belief in God I probably would have done that. But fortunately the logical side of me said, you’re crazy, this isn’t right, even though it felt right.”


She had turned over her infant to her nanny in Agoura and drove 250 miles up Pacific Coast Highway to try to figure it out.


“I found myself in a no-tell motel. I knew that because they had toilet seat covers in the bathroom,” she said, never at a loss for a quip.


She got a call from her mother, who had tracked her down through her credit cards.


“My mother was brilliant. I was weeping. She was really cool,” said Osmond, choking up. “She said, ‘Honey, I’m going to tell something I’ve never told anyone.’ She said, ‘When I had my last child I got in my car and I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway. You were 3 years old.'


“I realized at that time if my mother overcame it then so could I. So she gave great hope. And that’s why I wrote the book (‘Behind the Smile: My Journey Out of Postpartum’) to hopefully give others great hope.”


The worst of the mental abuse came one day when a producer for the “Donny & Marie Show” (1976-1979) marched her outside to address her fluctuating weight.


“I started to put weight on because I was so stressed. (He) told me I was an embarrassment to my family and I needed to keep food out of my fat face, that 260-some people would lose their jobs because I was fat and getting ugly. Here I was (in my teens) and I was told if I ever told my parents or my brothers about this conversation he would call me a liar. So I lived with this craziness.”


That led to crash dieting, and her weight dropping to 93 pounds.


She also overcame a financial calamity.


“I was 19 years old and all the work we had done, and I don’t know if this was interesting, but I was financially set for life. Me, my kids, my grandkids, their kids,  everybody was set in my family.


“Then my brothers did some business and they lost everything.


“So by the time I was 25 years old I was getting a divorce, I was financially broke. I had a child, I was a single mother. I didn't know how to pay my rent. But on a super positive note I realized I was now emotionally damaged enough that I could legitimately sing country music.” 


The scene and heard

R&R Partners, Inc., had a camera crew in Hugo’s Cellar (Four Queens) recently, shooting a campaign commercial with a stunning model. The largest advertising agency in the state is responsible for promoting Las Vegas through the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.

On this day…

July 4, 1981: The Hole in the Wall Gang, run by mobster Tony (the Ant) Spilotro and specializing in robbing hotel rooms of rich gamblers, is caught breaking into Bertha’s, a Las Vegas furniture and jewelry store, after one of the gang rats them out. The Mob has Spilotro killed five years later.



Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, earning his wings at Vegas Indoor Skydiving on Sunday…

AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, working on his swing while chowing down on yellowtail sashimi at Topgolf (MGM Grand) on Sunday…

At Drai’s Beachclub (Cromwell) on Sunday: McLean with fellow Backstreet Boys Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson and Howard Dorough…

Also at Drai’s, actress Billie Lourde, daughter of the late Carrie Fisher, poolside with friend and fellow actor Austen Rydell in a private bungalow…

At Red Rock’s T-Bones steak house a week ago: actor Kevin Costner and his family at an event that included football legends “Mean” Joe Green and Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 1980s dynasty and Jim McMahon, former BYU and Chicago Bears standout.

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