Hoofing her way through the mambo and the quickstep on Dancing with the Stars
Nov. 19, Marie Osmond showcased the sequined razzle-dazzle fans had come to expect from her all season long. "She's always going to give it her best shot," says her longtime friend, Lisa Hatch, "because that's all Osmonds know how to do."
Raised in a family sworn to the credo The Show Must Go On, Marie, 48, has kept her signature smile in place through an increasingly difficult year. In March, before she took on Dancing with the Stars
, she announced she and her husband of 20 years, Brian Blosil, were divorcing. On Oct. 22, she fainted on the show after a samba. Two weeks later, her father, George, died at age 90. And then came yet another blow: In response to questioning from Larry King Nov. 14, she said that her son Michael, 16—one of her eight children, who range in age from 5 to 25—has been undergoing rehab. (Hatch says he is being treated for a substance abuse problem.) "When it hits the fan," says her brother Donny of Marie's ordeal, "it hits it."
Especially difficult have been Michael's troubles, which Donny says are not new. "They have been an ongoing problem. Marie has been dealing with this for a very long time. Unfortunately, he got into the wrong crowd." Hatch describes Michael—one of five children Marie adopted with Blosil (she also has three biological children)—as "a very quiet kid" who played drums on his mom's Christmas concert tour last year. "When her kids are hurting," says Hatch, "there's nobody that hurts more than her."
It's not the first time her kids have made headlines: In 2006, daughters Jessica, then 21, and Rachael, then 16, posted risqué MySpace profiles that prompted a statement from Marie saying she was "saddened" by the choices her girls had made. Donny acknowledges that the pressures of living up to the squeaky-clean Osmond name can be difficult. "Yes, Marie has made mistakes [as a parent]. We all do," he says. "We were given great parents. Marie was implementing those [lessons] the best way she could."
One of nine Utah-bred Osmond siblings, Marie began performing with her brothers at age 3. She has been outspoken about the trials of her life in the spotlight. In her 2001 memoir Behind the Smile
, she detailed her battle with postpartum depression following the birth of her son Matthew; she also revealed that she had been sexually abused as a child. (She did not identify her abusers but said they were not family members.)
Her love life, too, has had its share of ups and downs: divorced from first husband Stephen Craig in 1985, she married music producer Blosil, 55, the following year. The pair briefly separated in 2000 only to call it quits for good this March. "It was very difficult for Marie to come to the decision to move on," says Hatch, "because she is someone who believes in family."
It is her family, along with her strong Mormon faith, that helps Osmond through the tough times. In her unassuming home on a quiet street in Orem, Utah, "she's just a typical mom—working in the garden, baking treats for her kids and their friends," says a neighbor. "She has a big heart." During her Dancing
run, the kids have largely been in Blosil's care at home in Utah while Osmond works in L.A. "She is conflicted, because she is a working mom and it's difficult to balance that," says Hatch, who also runs Marie's $100 million-plus doll line for QVC. And yet her children "are really proud of her. She's teaching them some great life skills. Yeah, life throws you some curves, but you don't lay down and die. You pick yourself up and keep going."
- Monica Rizzo/L.A.,
- Cathy Free/Orem.