Little known facts about the Osmond family


Working together

It’s not often that you get a brother and sister duo working together on TV. Thanks to the incredible popularity of the Osmond family, though, Donny and Marie landed their own variety show, appropriately titled Donny & Marie, in 1976. The series managed 78 episodes across three years and was known for the rich variety of guests that entertained on the show. However, not everyone that the duo hosted was so fun to be around. One person that Marie certainly didn’t enjoy working with was Groucho Marx. The comedian pinched her when he was on the show, which a the then-teenage Marie understandably took badly. We love Marx’s comedy, but we truly wish he would’ve kept his hands to himself.

Public eye

Being in the public eye is difficult for anyone, and too many women are made to feel inferior because they’re not the size that people want them to be. At the age of 15, the star was weighed just 103 lbs, but TV producers said she was obese and a disgrace to her family. They threatened to retract their offer of a TV show (which ended up becoming Donny & Marie) if she didn’t get down to 97 lbs. Teenagers are already self-conscious about their looks, but this really made her feel as though she wasn’t good enough.

Scarred for life

Marie truly did have a tough time of things when she was younger. If the weight issue wasn’t enough, the star also made a very horrific revelation in her autobiography Behind the Smile: My Journey Out. In the book, she revealed that she had been the victim of intimate abuse during her childhood and teen years. An unnamed assailant made various inappropriate advances on Marie, including in the bedroom, and left her emotionally and psychologically scarred. She refuses to say who was responsible but notes it wasn’t family or a close friend.

Growing into a passionate advocate

In her first autobiography, Marie was very open about not only surviving abuse, but also about suffering from postpartum depression later in life. Following the birth of her third child (seventh overall, including adopted children), Marie didn’t feel like her usual self. Rather than being excited about another baby in her life, she was filled with despair. What she thought was just the baby blues turned out to be something much more serious – postpartum depression. Since going through the horrendous experience, Marie has done what she can to raise awareness for it and help other mothers who are in the same position.

Change of plan

Before they were a big name, the Osmonds were trying to find their start in the world. They’d hoped to meet with record executives in L.A. one day, but the plan fell through when the producer was busy. Rather than go home defeated, George Osmond decided to treat his family to a trip to Disneyland. While they were there, the young brothers ended up singing with a barbershop quartet and proved to be a hit. Their success landed them a gig at Disney After Dark that same day.

A hard worker at 17

At 17 years old, you’d expect most teenagers to be preparing to work a 9-5 job. However, as one of the Osmonds, Donny was more fortunate in how he got to spend his time. Despite being a celebrity, though, the performer wasn’t living the easy life. He’d work 20 hours a day to prepare for his variety show, which included learning new routines and scripts. It was a lot for someone so young, but he and his sister both took it in their stride: despite both dealing with their own private struggles, they’ve always had a tough work ethic.

Opening their pockets

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a family quite as generous as the Osmonds. Considering their popularity over the years, the clan has certainly done well for themselves financially. However, they’ve always made sure to share the love with those in need. As devout Mormons, ever since the early days, 10% of the money they earn goes towards their church which helps many people around the world. What’s more, Donny and Marie both help run the charities the Osmond Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network, respectively. They can’t stop giving.

Showing off

When you’re a big star, it’s not uncommon to see your name up in lights. If you’re Donny Osmond, you get your face up in lights too. While performing at Las Vegas’ Flamingo Hotel, Donny and Marie’s faces are projected on the hotel. In the picture, Donny’s eyes alone are six feet tall. The image isn’t hard to miss, especially when the performer has his way. Whenever friends or family visit, he always takes them to Bellagio bridge so they can see it. We wouldn’t say he was showing off or anything.

Spell it correctly

Have you ever had your name spelled wrong? It happens surprisingly often, and it’s always annoying. Donny Osmond found out first hand just how infuriating it can be when people kept spelling his name Donnie rather than Donny. It still happens now, and it continues to drive him up the wall. No-one has pushed his buttons more than the people at the Flamingo when they purposely misspelled the name on his dressing room door. If he hadn’t known they were joking, he might have said something he shouldn’t have done.

Carried away

When you’re having fun, you get carried away. You get swept up in the performance and forget for a moment what you’re meant to be doing. Donny is one of those people who can’t help himself when he’s on the stage. He has such a great time up there that he wants to share the experience with everyone. Unfortunately, that means if you’re sitting in the front row then you might get a little closer to Donny than you were expecting. He has a habit of dancing on the tables.

Busy man

It’s a busy life being Donny Osmond. Those 20-hour days he was doing as a teenager have never really gone away. He tends only to get four hours sleep before he’s doing all sorts, from recording shows to getting in practice for his performances with Marie. It’s amazing he manages to do all that without passing out from exhaustion. When he’s on tour, his days aren’t any less busy. They’re just spent driving around, doing rehearsals, performing and then eventually getting some shut-eye. How does he do it?

Tech lover

It turns out there’s more to Donny Osmond than just being a singer and actor. He’s also a pretty huge lover of technology and is responsible for the video control room at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. He set up all the backstage systems for things like audio, as well the different montages that play behind his performances. Is there anything this man can’t do? Next time we have a problem with our computers, we know who to turn to.

Runs in the family

With all that dancing he does on people’s tables, it’s no surprise Donny has followed his sister in dropping down a pants size or two. Ever since the duo first brought their show to the Flamingo Hotel, his waist has reduced by two inches. That’s not bad going for a guy who’s now in his sixties. Considering their performances lasts for 90 minutes, and Donny has a habit of getting very energetic, we’re amazed that he hasn’t lost more. He does work his muscles out at the gym too, though.

Losing weight

These days, Marie Osmond is a lot healthier weight than she used to be, but that hasn’t stopped her from shedding quite a few pounds. Thanks to her energetic performances on Dancing with the Stars and her regular shows in Las Vegas, the star has managed to lose a whopping 47 lbs. At least this time it was coincidental, rather than intentional. Marie has tried her best to be healthy over the years because heart disease took both her mom and grandmother. She doesn’t want the same to happen to her.

Going their separate ways

Donny and Marie have worked together for so many years, but it hasn’t always been that way. After their variety show ended in 1979, the pair decided to go their separate ways to embark on solo careers. Although they were great individually, they work better as a duo. Thankfully, they came together once again for a short-lived talk show in the late ‘90s, and are now back on stage in Las Vegas. Let’s hope they continue to work together for many years to come.

Working through problems

Being back together hasn’t been easy. When the duo started their residency at the Flamingo, it was almost 30 years after their variety show had gone off the air. Adjustments had to be made in the way they worked together because Donny was no longer the ringleader. All those years forging a solo career had given Marie a lot of control, and she wasn’t about to give it all up to her brother again. They had to find a mediator in director Barry Leather to help iron out their issues.

Different lives

It’s good that the pair works together so much, because they rarely ever see each other away from the show. It’s not like when they were on the variety show and would spend time together at home all the time. Donny and Marie now have their own lives separate from each other. During his time off, Donny would rather spend time with his wife and kids who he doesn’t get to see as often as he likes. That’s not to say the duo doesn’t enjoy each other’s company, though.

Strange habit

Do you have any weird habits? We’ve pretty much all got something slightly strange that we enjoy doing that other people might find odd. For Donny Osmond, that’s licking salt. According to Marie, her brother often does this when it comes to pretzels. He’ll lick all the salt off the snack before eating it, because why not? We don’t know if there are any other salty treats he does this to, but we wouldn’t put it past him. Hopefully, he doesn’t eat straight out of the salt shaker.

Gold standard

The Osmond family have had tremendous success in the music industry. In total, four of Donny and Marie’s albums have been certified gold, starting with I’m Leaving It All Up To You in 1974. This was followed two years later by the albums Featuring Songs from Their Television Show and New Season, and ending with the Goin’ Coconuts soundtrack in 1978. The duo’s most recent albums haven’t managed the same sales, although their last release Donny & Marie did chart at number 30. Maybe we’ll hear something new from them soon.

Splashing the cash

It’s easy to get swept up in the luxury when you become a star at an early age. Marie Osmond has pretty much always been in the spotlight, and while she’s remained sensible when it comes to money, she can’t help but splash the cash sometimes. In her younger years, the star couldn’t get enough of Louis Vuitton and was often seen with one of their stylish handbags. Hey, if you can afford it, there’s no reason not to buy it.

A big family

Everyone in the Osmond family has gone through a difficult time at some point in their life. It’s the price of fame. Although growing up as an Osmond wasn’t always easy for Donny, that didn’t get in the way of his desire to start a family of his own. He’s been with his wife Debra Glenn for 40 years now, and the pair is still going strong. Since they tied the knot back when Donny was 20, they’ve had five children and are now one big family!

On Broadway

He may be wowing the audiences at the Flamingo now, but before he was working in Las Vegas, Donny was dazzling on the Broadway stage. The star played the lead in both Little Johnny Jones and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as Gaston for several months in the production of Beauty and the Beast. Reviews for his performances have all been hugely positive, which spurred him and Marie to have their own show, titled A Broadway Christmas.

Biggest fan

Throughout his career, Donny has made many appearances on TV shows. One of the most notable was when he featured on the British show The Kumars at No. 42 which was broadcast on BBC America. Donny had no idea when he agreed to star on the comedy programme that he was about to meet his biggest fan. Sanjeev Bhaskar, one of the show’s stars, admitted to his guest that his wife was obsessed with him. She was even allegedly willing to convert to Mormonism to be with him.

Gifted voice actor

As well as appearing on TV shows, Donny has also done a fair few voice roles in his time. You might not have known this, but the star has voiced such characters as Captain Li Shang in the animated film Mulan. As well as giving his voice to the role, he also provided vocals for the song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” Around the same time, he appeared as a fictionalized version of himself in the animated series Johnny Bravo, a role he’s returned to multiple times.

Young star

Donny isn’t the only successful Osmond brother. Jimmy’s also done well for himself, and not just in his home country. When he was only nine years old, the star released a song entitled “Long Haired Lover From Liverpool,” which topped the charts in the United Kingdom. The success of the song made him the youngest singer to ever reach number one in the UK charts at the time. Not bad going for someone who wasn’t even in double digits yet.

Start in life

Not every Osmond sibling has been as successful as Donny and Marie. Their older brothers Tom and Virl were both born deaf, which put them at a distinct disadvantage compared to their other talented brothers and sisters. Unfortunately for the family, while the boys required hearing aids, they didn’t have the money to afford them. That’s how the Osmonds got their start in life. The other siblings came together to raise money for their brothers through performing, and the rest is pretty much history.

A mother’s fears

Having come from a big family herself, Marie couldn’t resist having plenty of children when she got married. From her past two husbands, she has three biological children, as well as five that she’s adopted. One of these is Jessica, who later came out as a member of the LGBT+ community when she was 17. Following the announcement, Marie reportedly cried over fears others would judge her. Marie had seen firsthand from friends in the community how LGBT+ people are treated. She didn’t want that for her daughter.

Role model

Donny was a great role model during his younger years, although at the time he was often teased for being uncool. It would have been easy for the star to bow to peer pressure, but he was able to resist the substances that could have driven him down a dark path. While he might have felt he was missing out on some things during his teenage years, he doesn’t regret how his life turned out. People look to him now for support because of the strength he had back then.

Strong faith

Part of the reason why Donny was able to stay so devoted to keeping on the straight and narrow was because of his religion. He and his family have always been devout Mormons and believe that God always comes first. Donny has stated it’s what’s helped him stay successful for all these years because he’s never lost sight of what he believes in. Where others might go off the rails, he’s allowed his faith to keep his eyes on the prize and stay true to himself.

Getting over the past

Many people in the world have struggled with the same difficulties that Marie Osmond has in her life, albeit in different ways. Despite the trauma she’s dealt with, the star seems to have found a way to accept and move on from the past. In response to the trauma during her early years, Marie says that “I don’t know that anyone’s life is perfect,” which is a pretty mature way of looking at things. Everyone struggles with things in their life; it’s how they move forward that matters.

Famous friends

Being a famous face means you have famous friends. That can be pretty overwhelming when you’re still just a child, but luckily for Donny Osmond, he had someone in his life that knew what he was going through. Michael Jackson was also from a family that found success at a young age. The two became close friends and spent time together whenever they could, which included getting tacos in Donny’s limo after the American Music Awards. They were still just your average teenagers really.

Diva demads

The more famous someone is, the bigger their list of demands. Some people like to be divas and demand pretty ridiculous things, but the Osmonds have never been like that. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t make any demands at all. In an interview with Donny, it surfaced that Marie is very picky when it comes to lighting. She always asks for it to be changed if she doesn’t find it to be flattering. As demands go, it’s certainly one of the more reasonable.

No royalties

They may have done well for themselves, but even with number one hits, the Osmonds weren’t always rolling in money. Jimmy revealed that his song that topped the UK charts never earned him any money. The nine-year-old was left high and dry because, as the star himself said, show business isn’t always fair. While it has improved over time, he was left in the lurch back in the ‘60s. Thankfully, there were more ways for the Osmonds to earn money than merely selling records.

Mr. Moneybags

With things like TV shows, movies, and performances, Jimmy has amassed $80 million throughout his lifetime. Not bad for someone who started out as a child star. Although the record sales didn’t help much financially, they did provide Jimmy and his other siblings with the platform to make money in different ways. If they hadn’t sold as many records as they did, there wouldn’t have been so many TV deals and other opportunities. Just imagine how much money they might have earned, though, if they’d received royalties for their music.

Bigger is better

You remember what we said about Marie not being a diva? Well, she still isn’t, but she makes more demands than you might think. One of her big requests for performing at the Flamingo was that she had the bigger dressing room. This wasn’t to get back at her brother, but rather because she has a bigger family. With more people potentially visiting her while doing the shows, she needs space to accommodate everyone. Apparently, there are 15-20 people in her dressing room at any one time.

Gearhead

He may not have been earning much at nine years old, but the money soon poured it for Jimmy Osmond. Once he had all this cash in his pocket, he couldn’t resist spending it. The star bought a house when he was only 14, although that’s nothing compared to the cars he’s purchased during his career. It turns out the singer is a bit of a gearhead. Whenever he sees a car he loves, he can’t resist coughing up the cash to buy it. There are worse habits to have.

Color coordinated

Did you ever notice Donny always wearing purple socks when he was younger? There were many theories as to why he never seemed to wear anything different. Some people thought it was to do with OCD, while others believed they were his lucky charm. These were perfectly reasonable suggestions, but the reality is much more practical. The socks were given to him by his mother as a way for audiences to tell him apart from his brothers. Every sibling had their own color of socks and Donny’s was purple.

Sage advice

Actress and comedian Lucille Ball was a superstar throughout her career. Many people looked up to her, including Marie Osmond. So, imagine Marie’s surprise when the star offered her several style tips. The Osmond daughter was invited to appear on Lucille’s show, and while she was there, the iconic actress dished some advice about makeup and lighting. That might explain why Marie is always so picky when it comes to lighting during her performances. If someone like Lucille Ball tells you something, you’re going to listen to it.

Bad boy image

Donny was never a bad boy, but he was regularly pressured to have that kind of appearance. The star revealed in interviews that when he was younger, people repeatedly tried to push him to have a substance abuse problem. They hoped that it would make others see him as someone more credible, but Donny refused to go against his faith. Keeping his clean image clearly hasn’t hurt his career, and he’s all the better for staying away from those PR stunts.

Stealing his girl

Donny and Debbie’s relationship may be going strong, but it had a bit of a rocky start, to begin with. That was namely because she was dating one of Donny’s brothers when they first met. After seeing her at an Elton John concert while on a double date with his sibling, he decided she was going to be his one day. After several failed attempts at asking her out, Debby eventually agreed, and the two started dating. It’s a good thing Donny’s brother doesn’t harbor any ill feelings.

Perfect family man

When people become celebrities, they can grow a bit distant from reality. However, Donny Osmond is not someone who lets showbusiness get to his head. While he’s focused on the job at hand when performing, he acts like your standard family man once he’s back home. He’ll do chores around the house and spend time with his family, with no-one around to do everything for him. He wants to convey the right message to his children. After so many years, he’s still a great role model.

Diet tricks

Most of Marie’s weight loss over the last few years has been thanks to all the exercise she’s done. Performing in Las Vegas regularly requires a lot of energy, and those weeks she spent on Dancing with the Stars were intense. However, that’s not the only way that the star has managed to keep in shape. She’s also been dieting with Nutrisystem, which provides prepackaged meals to help you lose weight. We’re not sure how much of an impact they’ve had, but at least Marie is comfortable in her body.

Growing family

Donny’s family keeps growing by the day. With five sons in the fold, there’s the potential for many grandchildren down the line. It was his second born Jeremy who provided him with his first grandchild, Dylan James Osmond. Donny is now a grandfather to ten children, only one of which is a girl, something that seems to run in the family. With so many people to spend time with, it can be hard to juggle family life at home, but the star manages it.

Financial difficulties

Over the years, the Osmonds have had their ups and downs, especially with money. Although they’ve done well for themselves most of the time, there has been the odd incidence where they almost went bankrupt. This was most notably in the ‘70s following the failure of their latest albums. They established their own TV sets to try and reclaim their fame, but this move didn’t last long, and they soon had a lot of debts to repay. Luckily, they were able to work their ways out of the mess.

Behind the times

The Osmonds were a little late to the party when it came to CDs. It was only after 2008 that they started releasing their music on the disc format. Unfortunately, by this time, downloads were starting to come into play, and now CDs are overlooked for things like streaming. We’re not sure what took them so long to change to CDs, but many people made a good few bucks selling illegal copies of them before 2008. You live, and you learn.

New career path

Being a family of the Mormon faith, it would generally have been expected for the Osmond siblings to go on a mission. However, with their level of fame, there was never an opportunity for it. One brother who decided he wanted to do it, though, was Alan, and he even left the band to pursue this desire. He quickly regretted the decision when he realized that it wasn’t right for him. So, instead of returning to music, he decided to join the army.

Well prepared

When Alan enlisted, he was quickly picked up to be a Colonel’s secretary. While his role didn’t require any fighting, though, he still had to go through the training like every other soldier. Unbeknownst to him, his years in the band had prepared him for this. The time he’d put in practicing choreography made bayonet training a lot easier. Furthermore, he was already used to long hours, so he wasn’t affected by lack of sleep during boot camp. He was so adept at training he came away with three trophies.

Medical condition

Alan couldn’t serve in the army forever, and unfortunately, he was later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This disease was passed on to his son David, who was only 26 when he discovered that he had MS. For a time, the condition was incredibly debilitating and left the man in a wheelchair. However, following some treatment, it improved enough for him to be able to walk down the aisle during his wedding. He’s grown to live with the illness and does what he can to support other people dealing with it.

Telling all

Although he didn’t reach the same level of success as some of his other siblings, Jay Osmond is still notable for his time in the band. He was often in the background as the drummer and used his experiences on the stage as the basis for his autobiography Stages. The book was somewhat unique in that it was written like a play, and recounted the trials and tribulations his family faced as one of the biggest names in the industry.

Playing games

Donny and Michael weren’t the only things connecting the Osmonds and the Jacksons. Both families got along tremendously well and used to coordinate their shows whenever they were performing in the same venue. The groups got along so well that when they were both staying in a hotel together, the kids all took part in a big soccer match. We don’t know which side came out victorious, but we reckon they were fairly evenly matched teams.

Family gathering

The Osmond family doesn’t seem to stop growing. The original Osmond clan were big enough already with Olive and George giving birth to nine children. These are the Osmonds that we know and love, but from them, there have been so many more descendants. You’ve seen how many kids and grandchildren Donny alone has had. Since George and Olive brought their first son Virl into the world, over 100 Osmonds have been born. Those family gatherings must be insane. Where does everyone go?

Devoted fanbase

Were you a huge fan of the Osmonds when they first started out in the business. The family band charmed audiences all over, and there were many people devoted to them. Fans could get pretty crazy when it came to possibly meeting their idols, so much so that one person did something very unexpected. She actually mailed herself to the Osmond’s hotel room one day in the hope of meeting them in person. That’s one dedicated fan, although we can’t imagine that working these days.

Learning the ropes

The Osmond family learned a lot from being friends with the Jacksons, and vice versa. They would often watch each other’s variety shows to pick up tips about what to do. Family bands were quite popular back in the day, so there was a lot that they could all teach each other. That’s not all, though. Many of the songs that were written for the Jacksons actually made their way over to the Osmonds. The reverse was opposite too. Sharing is caring.

Invasion of privacy

As we said, fans can sometimes do crazy things to get the attention of the people they love. While the Osmonds appreciated their dedication, there were still certain boundaries that shouldn’t have been crossed. There was one incident when the family were in Florida and returned to their hotel to find ropes coming down over their balcony. After reporting it to the staff, they quickly discovered that two fans were trying to abseil down into their room. That’s taking the invasion of privacy a bit too far.

Finding inspiration

The Osmonds were so busy making music all the time that you might think they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be inspired by other artists. They spent so much of their time together and didn’t have the luxury of CDs to listen to, so how could they be influenced by other music coming out at the time? It was thanks to all the variety show performances they did that they were able to get a taste of what the world was listening to and enjoying.

Ready and waiting

You wouldn’t think that approaching the Osmonds while they were on stage would have been the best time to get up close and personal with them. However, one fan did precisely this when she hid under the stage during one of the performances. She was beneath the drum set and waited patiently for them to start playing. It was while the drummer was doing the solo that she appeared and hugged his legs. We reckon that must have caught him by surprise.

Hidden talent

Ever since his success with “Long Haired Lover From Liverpool,” Jimmy Osmond has been beloved by UK audiences. He’s appeared on various TV shows over there, including one very suited to his vocal talents. Entitled Popstar to Operastar, the premise was pretty simple. Musicians were taught how to go from singing pop music to opera. It was slightly tricky to adjust his voice, seeing as he’d been singing the same way since he was three years old, but Jimmy loved the experience. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it past week three.

Family curse

Many of the difficulties faced by members of the Osmond family seem to have been passed down to their children. David was diagnosed with MS like his father Alan, but that’s not all. Marie’s son tragically took his own life in 2010 after dealing with depression, something that the Osmond sister had attempted herself back in 2006. The loss of her son was devastating for Marie and the rest of her family, and it now has us from wondering if there’s a curse affecting them all.