How well do we really know The Osmonds? After more than four decades of fame the Osmonds have accumulated their fair share of secrets, here are some of their best-kept family secrets.
Groucho Left His Marx On Marie
During its run, the Donny & Marie show hosted many celebrity guests and although it meant publicity it also brought unwanted advances on the pretty Osmond sister. “I was very young, and I remember Groucho Marx pinching me. He was a dirty old man” Marie said.
Marie Osmond was just 15 years old when she and brother Donny were offered their own TV show, and she revealed the pressures placed on her to stay thin were immense. In an interview, she said, ‘I had producers take me out into the parking lot when I was 103 pounds and tell me that I was obese, disgusting and a disgrace to my family.” Marie was threatened that The Donny & Marie show would be canceled, so she starved herself in order to get down to 97 pounds.
Donny’s Hidden Tech Talent
Donny has admitted to being “a total nerd,” specifically, a Mac geek. He even designed the secret video control room located backstage at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, as well as the computer and audio systems that run the show. When he wasn’t acting or singing, Osmond was busy putting together all of the video montages seen in the show, carefully assembling long-lost videos and still photos in his basement. “It’s my little world in here,” Donny said.
Years Of Abuse
Behind Marie’s bright smile and angelic voice was a darker truth. In her book Behind the Smile, the global pop star claimed that she suffered abuse as a child, but still refuses to out her abuser, only saying that it was not a family member or friend. She writes in the book, “During my childhood and teen years, I was abused. It ranged from invasions of privacy to having my personal property stolen, and, most damaging, to being abused sexually.”
Sin City Shenanigans
Whenever Donny’s hometown friends visit him in Vegas, he makes it a point to take them to the Bellagio bridge which has the best view of the gigantic Donny & Marie ad on the front of the Flamingo. Donny’s eyes alone are an impressive 6 feet high and 10 feet wide! Donny said, “At home, I’m Uncle Donny to all the kids and teenagers. But when they come here, I have to show them that — I’m a little more than Uncle Donny right now.”
20 Hour Days
Marie and her brother Donny, who was 17 when the Donny & Marie show started in 1976, had a grueling schedule which would make the hardest working celebs out there look lazy. The youngsters usually worked 20-hour days, and each week they would be responsible for learning new songs and dance routines. Not to mention the countless different scripts that they had to memorize for the variety show. Although they had these demands placed on them, Donny and Marie managed to hide their exhaustion well, always giving an impeccable performance.
Don’t Call Me Donnie
Most of us don’t like it when people get our names wrong, and Donny is no different. One of the famous singers biggest pet peeves is when people spell his name with an “ie” at the end, so the backstage crew at the Flamingo spelled it that way on the gold star on his dressing room door as a joke. We’re sure Donny didn’t find this prank very funny at all, but being the forgiving Mormon he is, probably didn’t retaliate.
Break Up To Make Up
The brother and sister act may have seemed inseparable, but Donny and Marie stopped singing together in the early ’80s in order to reestablish careers as individual artists. This was a tough time for all of us that thankfully came to an end after they teamed back up in Vegas. Donny said, “We always knew that we’d come back together again, and when I saw this room at the Flamingo, with the booths, I called Marie and said, ‘This is it.'”
The Two Need Space
Despite having their dressing room next to one another, the pair has admitted that they don’t see much of each other until they’re called to stage. Also, outside of working hours, they don’t hang out that much together. “Last week I went over to her house in Green Valley and hung out for a little while,” Donny explained. “It’s beautiful. But when I have time off, and I’m not doing anything, I’d rather go home and see my wife and kids.”
We all have weird tendencies and habits, but Donny Osmond’s habit of salt licking is by far one of the most interesting and quirky we’ve come across. In an interview, Marie revealed her younger brothers most bizarre habit saying, “Donny licks the salt off of pretzels before he eats them.” Marie said this is something Donny has done for most of his life and although there’s no particular reason it’s one of his usual rituals.
An Impressive Collection
Donny & Marie have had a series of successful records, receiving gold certification four times with albums such as 1974’s I’m Leaving It All Up To You. This album included the single of the same name as well as Morning Side of the Mountain, which both reached number one. Featuring Songs from their television show, which followed two years later, also struck gold. And while they still perform together regularly to this day, the siblings haven’t released an album since 2011.
Becoming an international sensation at such a young age introduced Marie to a lavish lifestyle most people can only dream of. When Marie wasn’t on one stage performing, she was shuffling to another, and in those in-between moments, she traveled in style. Marie has a secret Louis Vuitton obsession which became obvious as she was always photographed carrying one of the luxury lines famous monogrammed leather handbags. Here we can see more primping with curlers in her hair in between shows.
Despite a traumatic childhood and a long time spent in the spotlight, Donny has managed to create and maintain a healthy family life. Osmond married Debra Glenn on May 8, 1978, in the Salt Lake Temple at the peak of his success when he was 20 years old. Together they have five sons, Donald Clark Osmond, Jr., Jeremy James Osmond, Brandon Michael Osmond, Christopher Glenn Osmond, and Joshua Davis Osmond. The big happy family do everything together and are often seen vacationing, doing charity work, and attending church.
Osmond’s Regards To Broadway
There’s no stage too big or too small for Donny Osmond which he proved after his successful streak on Broadway. Osmond has featured in three different Broadway productions. He was the title characters in both Little Johnny Jones and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He also tried his luck as a villain when he portrayed the antagonist Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, which you can see in the photo below. It looks like Donny nailed the look.
Sanjeev Bhaskar, star of the sitcom The Kumars at No. 42, hilariously told his wife that she could leave him for Donny. “She planned to marry Donny when she was 12 and told everyone she was going to convert to Mormonism,” the British comedian said. “She was so excited when he came on The Kumars at No. 42 as a guest. I told her ‘if you want to go off with him, it’s not a problem.’” We know Donny would never do that though.
An Animated Family
Donny’s voice sounds just as good in animated shows and movies then it does in person! In the past, Osmond has provided his vibrant voice for a slew of well-known cartoon shows. His most memorable roles came in 1972’s Rankin-Bass Saturday morning series The Osmonds and in Hanna-Barbera’s 1997 cartoon Johnny Bravo, which ended up being a major hit on Cartoon Network. Donny also performed “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” as the voice of Captain Li Shang on the soundtrack of Disney’s Mulan.
Jimmy Broke Records In The UK
The youngest member of the musical sensation The Osmonds, Jimmy remains the youngest performer to have a No. 1 single in the UK singles chart, with his 1972 hit ‘Long Haired Lover from Liverpool’ when he was just nine. But with the fame came feelings of displacement. Jimmy said, “The home I grew up in was a string of hotel rooms across the world. I don’t remember my first home, which was somewhere in Los Angeles.”
Two Of The Osmond Brothers Were Deaf
The two eldest Osmond’s brothers, George Virl Osmond, and Tom Osmond were born deaf. Parents Olive and George Osmond couldn’t afford hearing aids for their sons, so they gathered their four other sons and traveled around performing to raise enough money to purchase hearing aids. This is how the Osmonds started their entertainment careers. As a matter of fact, the Osmonds used sign language when performing together as a group to keep their brothers in the loop.
Marie’s Adopted Daughter Is Out
In her newest tell-all book, readers not only learn that Marie’s daughter Jessica Blosis is gay, in a very matter of fact way, Marie shares how Jessica came out to the family. After being named “Person of the Week” by Diane Sawyer, Marie said, “Diane, I love my daughter. I cried when I found out when she told me she was gay when she was 17 because of the judgment. I have many friends who are gay, and I didn’t want that for my child.”
Donny Osmond was despised by critics and boys of all ages because despite that fact that he could have any girl he wanted he didn’t. Not only was Donny too young, but also a devout Mormon who did not drink, smoke, take drugs, swear, or have sex before marriage. Today, Donny is glad he wasn’t cool because he’s the one still going strong. His troubled peers Prince, and Michael Jackson even looked up to him for guidance on how to live a happy life.
God First, Family Second
When talking about how he’s maintained his success through all these years, Donny Osmond revealed that “It all boils down to keeping God first, then family. It’s a formula that has helped us through a lot of things.” He continued by saying, “A lot of people think I was naive, but you’re not naive growing up in this business. I grew up fast.” His family also agrees that a connection to God comes first before anything.
Ups And Downs
Today Marie Osmond is sat peace with having fame at such a young age because the opportunity of living a normal life was traded in for fame and fortune. Marie said, “I didn’t have a childhood because I had a different kind of life. I didn’t have a normal dating life or friends, but I don’t know that anyone’s life is perfect.” There’s no question that her life has been a tumultuous one with more than her fair share of ups and downs.
Magical Moments With MJ
Growing up in the spotlight, Donny’s inner circles were filled with other A-listers, most notably Michale Jackson. Donny tries to remember their happier memories together as they often looked to each other for fun in their adult worlds. “When I was 17, right after the American Music Awards, I said ‘Hey Mike are you hungry?’. We jumped in my limo, and we ordered some tacos. We were driving down Sunset Boulevard, opened the sunroof, stuck our heads out eating tacos,” he laughs.
Seeing The Light
Lighting is key to any celebrity’s success, so it’s no surprise that Marie has her preferences when it comes to the way she looks on stage and in interviews. Donny revealed that every interview they do together, Marie has to change the lighting. While this may seem to some annoying or like a diva tendency, we totally get why Marie insists on having the lighting just right. After all, shadows can affect the way your face looks at different angles.
A Million Copies Sold But No Money Made
When Jimmy Osmond was nine, his solo Long Haired Lover from Liverpool sold more than a million copies, but he never made a penny from it. Jimmy said, “Our business is not a fair business. Today it’s different, and artists do get those big royalty checks but we sold 100 million records, and the money we made on record sales is peanuts compared to what you would make selling your own merchandise at a concert or just getting a fee to perform.”
Being that Jimmy Osmond was not able to make money through record sales, he managed to accumulate a fortune of $80 million through live entertainment. Jimmy explained “We played arenas all over the world and produced tons of movies. We always stayed true to what we were good at and performed, and we were always able to make enough money through live entertainment to be able to underwrite other ventures and still have enough for our families.”
Dressing Room Demands
Marie agreed to the Flamingo gig in Las Vegas under the condition that she got the larger dressing room. On any given day Marie’s dressing room is packed with 15 or 20 people, kids and dogs, playing with toy light sabers and Wiis. “Hey, I have more children, and I live here. I need the space,” Marie said during an interview, defending her desire for the bigger room. “But George Wallace’s is bigger than mine,” the singer added bursting into loud laughter.
Jimmy Osmond revealed that when the Osmonds were at their peak, they would splash out extravagantly. He shared “I was so young when I had those kinds of dollars. I was really into cars, so I bought loads of those. And I bought my first house when I was 14, which was a bit wild. So yes, I’ve had those moments.” Here Jimmy is pictured with a DeLorean while filming the BBC Two’s Antiques Road Trip. The car is similar to the one he purchased in the 80’s
The Real Reason Behind The Purple Socks
What seemed like a perfect case of OCD turned into Donny’s good luck charm, but the deep meaning behind his purple socks was practicality. Donny said, “My mother came up with the whole format of giving each one of us a color, and it was brilliant because when we were playing stadiums and arenas, all they had to do was look for a color and mine was purple.” We’re glad that one has been cleared up.
On The Ball
Marie grew up onstage, but she got some showbiz schooling when she turned 16 from Lucille Ball. During a guest stint on Lucy’s show Marie recalls, “She waved me over, and she said, ‘So. You learned a few things in the makeup room, huh? You wanna learn a few more?’ And I thought ‘Oh wow, I’m dead.’ But she goes, ‘OK. You’re worth my time. You’ll be in the business a while. Let me teach you a few things.’ She taught me about lighting, for one thing.”
Donny Was Told To Have a Drug Scandal
Despite being a devout Moron, abstaining from sex, drugs and alcohol, Donny was told that if he were to have a drug scandal “it would make me cool.” He said that it came at a time when Virgin Records signed him as a favor to his friend Peter Gabriel and even when his music was played on New York radio, they wouldn’t mention his name so his publicist suggested a scandal to make him “more credible”
Donny Stole His Brother’s Girl
Donny admitted the song ‘Could She Be Mine’ was a reference to him stealing his brothers girlfriend. He said “It was 1975. I was dating a girl named Tammy and my brother, Jay, had taken out a girl called Debbie “We double-dated at an Elton John concert and I remember looking over at Jay and Debbie during Your Song and thought, ‘I’m going to marry her someday”. After asking Debbie out twice, she finally accepted and the two have been married for 37 years.
Best Of Both Worlds
Donny revealed that despite his success on the stage, he has a totally different life off the stage. He stated “At work, I’m focused, passionate and take it all in my stride. A billboard with my face on doesn’t phase me. But at home I’m dad, a husband, a grandfather and I’m laid back. I mow the lawn, I don’t have ‘people’ running around after me.” Donny also asserted that he’s the house electrician too!
The Osmond Curse
Both Donny and Marie have had their fair share of struggles in their lives and these struggles seem to have passed down onto Marie’s adopted child Michael, who committed suicide in 2010. Marie’s son wrote a suicide note which stipulated that he just wanted to end his battles with depression, drink and drug addiction. His mother also attempted suicide in 2006 after falling victim to post-natal depression. Many have questioned whether the family is cursed due to their unfortunate circumstances in their lives.
Donny revealed he has a bizarre pet peeve that he hates it when Marie sticks her thumb into his back! The strange admission comes from his childhood when he was a little kid and if he sang a bad note, his brothers Merrill or Alan would poke him with their thumb. When Marie once did it on their show, Donny threw the show to commercials, walked off stage and proceeded to have a fight with his sister!
Bad Deals Turn Good
Donny took the concept of making little money from song royalties and flipped it by starting his own record label. He said “I make more money on record sales today that I never made in the heyday of the Osmond’s because I own my own label.” Through learning the hard way of being an artist under a huge label, Donny realized that he didn’t need to have his representation making more money than he did on his own songs.
Although he lost almost $2 million in the US property crash in 2008, Donny’s stance on successful investing through property remained the same. He asserted that with age and life experiences, he learnt how to make money. Rather than investing in stocks and shares, Donny believes that investing in housing is much more profitable. From this, he said that he owns four different properties, two in Utah, one in Idaho and wouldn’t reveal the last as he said it was a secret family getaway condo.
Father Knows Best
Through Donny’s personal investment and starting his own record label he had become increasingly wealthy. He noted that he owes this success to his father who instilled the value of a dollar in him from a young age. He said “When I was eight, I thought I was big stuff and I remember telling him: ‘Hey Dad, my record is number one, isn’t that cool?’ He responded by giving me a stick with a poker on it to pick up litter and said: ‘Go clean the yard.’”
Marie’s Mental Hospital
In 1999, at the peak of her depression, Marie realized that she needed to take drastic steps to help herself. She was terrified of losing her career or committing suicide that she asked her family to check her into a mental hospital. The facility had padded cells, straitjackets and electric shock treatment which results in severe memory loss. Even though the treatment is said to work, Marie eventually decided against having the treatment and continued her recovery in a safer way.
When Donny decided to marry Debbie, his father told him “there goes your career”. In many senses, his father was right and Donny’s single, heartthrob image was thrown away as he married the love of his life. Although it may have affected his career at that time, in the long run Donny admitted that if he hadn’t married Debbie, his life would have been a mess and he finally met someone who fully understands him and can build a whole future together.
Donny Digs Drake
The Osmonds may keep a wholesome image, but they also like to enjoy rap music. People might be surprised that Donny is a Drake fan but not of his lyrics, just the music. Talking about his son, Donny said, “He and I were listening to Drake the other day for just some inspiration for a groove that we were working on. But he has some very compromising lyrics, so we don’t agree with it in that respect, but we were both admiring the musicianship of Drake.”
The Tough Questions
Growing up in the limelight, Donny was thrust into media attention from a young age. He said how interviewers would ask hard questions for a young boy to deal with. He recalled “At times, interviewers hit buttons which really hurt. In England, when I was 10, I was asked what it was like to be the fattest Osmond. I just broke down and cried. It was terrible.” From this, Donny had to grow thick skin and adapt to the industry.
Donny Opposes Same-Sex Marriage
When Proposition 8, allowing same-sex marriage, was announced in California, many Mormons supported it but Donny was not on board. He said that although he does not condemn homosexuality, he opposes same-sex marriage and gays and lesbians should only be accepted in the Church if they agree to remain celibate. In light of this revelation, he wrote in a statement “It is their choice, not mine on how they conduct their lives and choose to live the commandments according to the dictates of their own conscience.”
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One thing Donny has admitted about Marie is that she’s not the most punctual person in the world. In an interview, he exclaimed, “Don’t ever expect Marie to be on time!” She does drive herself to work every night so that may explain it. Lateness aside, Marie can always be counted on to show up. “We have the same work ethic. I don’t know if it’s blood or what, but we know we’ll always show up for the other” Donny said.
American Idol Hopeful
There aren’t many things that get Donny’s gears grinding but one incident in which he was truly mad was when his nephew David was booted off American Idol. Osmond was especially mad about the elimination mostly because the American public watching the show wasn’t told that David had laryngitis at the time, but performed anyway. As a consolation prize, the two recently shot a mini-concert for Entertainment Tonight on the famous Flamingo stage.
Home Sweet Home
Marie may hail from Ogden, Utah but these days she has made Nevada her home base. The singer and her kids live in Henderson, Nevada’s Green Valley neighborhood, and now has a Nevada driver’s license and even shops at the District. “When I was flying back last time, I saw the Strip, I thought, ‘It really feels like I’m home.’ And for me, that’s huge” Marie said excitedly. The star has even recorded her own solo album in the Henderson home.
Donny’s Home Away From Home
Unlike his sister Marie, who decided to move her home base closer to work, Donny decided to stay true to his Utah roots and actually commutes from Provo, Utah, back to Las Vegas after his days off. While Donny is in Vegas during the week, he stays in a suite upstairs at the Flamingo. He said, “I joke in the show about being behind Marie’s teeth, but I’m up a little higher than that. I’m in Marie’s hair.”
Keeping It Together
The only daughter in a family of eight brothers, people say that Marie has grown up to be quite the the kidder and laughs all the time. While audiences loved when she would take Cher-like swipes at Donny, who couldn’t quite get her back, Marie has a serious side and an important role keeping everyone in the family together. In an interview, she said, “My mom said to me, ‘You’re Marie Osmond: Your M.O. is to keep (the Osmond brothers) all humble.”
Solo Opera Stint
Not many know this, but Marie Osmond has also studied opera on and off for seven years. During one of the singer’s solo segments she performed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s aria “Pie Jesu,” surrounded by a stage full of fog and twinkling stars, does it get more magical than that? We think not! While sharing the experience in an interview, she said, “I could be more operatic than ‘Pie Jesu, but I didn’t want to scare anyone to death.”
Close But No Cassidy
In the early 2000s, Donny considered teaming up with former teen idol David Cassidy, his number one rival for the cover of Tiger Beat magazine, in the early ’70s for a TV show, but that was only for a brief moment as shortly after discussing it he changed his mind. Donny said, “We had one meeting, and it was like, OK, I don’t want to go there.” What we would have given to be a fly on the wall of that meeting.
Trusting The Producer
Being that Jimmy has produced the Osmonds’ shows for the past 25 years, it comes as a great surprise that it has never created any financial friction in the family. He said, “I don’t think anybody is totally happy, but I believe there is a fairness formula in everything. If somebody risks the money to present a concert, there’s a fair formula for that. I’ve always been able to show my brothers 100pc transparency when I produce.”
Fraud And Embezzlememt
While the Osmonds have suffered their fair of financial woes, the way they have responded to their hardships is what really makes them the real MVPs. Jimmy Osmond revealed, “I’ve had fraud and embezzlement from employees. I had an opportunity to send them to prison, but I chose not to and had them take responsibility and do their best to pay me back as much as they could. To this day I’m friendly with them. I believe in forgiving and moving on.
Donny Likes To Dance On Table Tops
Donny is known to be quite the theatrical and dramatic performer, but only a few have experienced him taking it to the next level dancing on tables! During an interview, Marie Osmond revealed that her brother sometimes gets carried away during performances. Marie said, “Donny dances on the tabletops at the Flamingo. Hold on to your beverage.” Thanks for the tip Marie, we’ll be getting our drinks in plastic instead of glass if we ever see a show.
Let’s Get Physical
Marie Osmond believes that she lost up to 47 pounds during her time working on Dancing With The Stars and the Flamingo Show. According to Marie, the show was hard work, but it was necessary. “I had to be healthy. Heart disease runs in my family,” she said. “Mom died of it, and my grandmother died of it, my dad had two pacemakers. I’m like, ‘Hello, ticking time bomb.’ One day, my son came to me and said, “Mom, you’re all we have.'”
Dancing The Pounds Away
Marie isn’t the only one whose danced off a considerable amount of weight. Donny has also managed to lose two inches off his waistline since the Donny & Marie show; a 90-minute variety show opened at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Donny says he gets his cardio and leg workout on stage but does a full workout at the gym. We guess there is some truth to the saying siblings who workout together stay together, and we’re glad for both of those things.
A Day In The Life Of Donny
Donny’s typical day starts off with driving his son to the airport at 6 a.m. after four hours of sleep. He then calls his business manager, sleeps for about an hour, records for a Disney cartoon series, works out, and finally does show with Marie. When he’s on tour Donny’s schedule is less exciting as he usually goes straight from the bus to rehearsals and then hits the stage. He manages to sneak in some reading though.
Donny And Marie’s Middle Man
Once the two reunited, they found it tough adjusting to working as a duo again. Donny laughed during an interview as he explained, “I had to come to the conclusion that I’m not the dictator anymore. I can’t say ‘OK, Marie, you’re gonna do this and you’re gonna do that.’ I’m dealing with somebody who is in control of her own career now. That’s why we brought (director/choreographer) Barry Lather in as the mediator — or arbitrator.”
Always Give Ten Percent
The Osmond family takes charity seriously which is why they happily give away ten percent of all earnings to their church, which helps an incredible amount of people all over the world. While Marie is heavily involved with the charity, Children’s Miracle Network, which she founded and has raised over $4 billion, Donny runs the Osmond Foundation for the Children of the World. Both organizations are based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. The generous family is also known for giving to other various charities.
Don’t let their happy go lucky attitudes and smiles fool you, like most siblings Donny and Marie have had many fights. In an interview, Marie admitted to dueling with her brother saying, “Oooh, if anybody could hate each other…are you kidding? Working together and going home to the same house? We probably would have killed each other.” We’re all glad that it didn’t get to that point and they have stayed in each other’s good graces, although that knife is scarily close to his face.
Losing Out On $80 Million
The Osmond brothers may have lost a total of $80 million, but they swear it’s actually the best thing that ever happened to them. Losing all that money made them really appreciate how to manage money, and it forced them to refocus. Jimmy Osmond said, “We’d got to the point where we could have our own airplanes, and your attitude changes when you have that kind of money. It was a wonderful thing because my brothers are the most humble guys you will ever meet.”