Even before she collapsed on the set of Dancing with the Stars
last October, Marie Osmond knew she wasn't fit. "Doing rehearsals, I was out of breath," says the singer, who estimates she gained 40 lbs. during the last five years, as she cared for her parents, each of whom battled heart disease at the end of their lives, and struggled in her marriage. (Last March, she and her husband of two decades, Brian Blosil, divorced.) Still, at a Feb. 1 event for the American Heart Association, Osmond told PEOPLE that it wasn't until her oldest son, Stephen, said, "Mom, it would really be nice if you were there for my kids," that she decided, "That's it." Feeling like she had never taught herself "how to eat healthy," Osmond signed up for NutriSystem in August, dropping 27 lbs. by Dancing's
Nov. 27 finale. (She lost another 13 lbs. by mid-January.) "The hardest thing was worrying about what everybody else was going to eat," says the mother of eight, who is raising her brood—the kids range in age from 5 to 24—in Orem, Utah. But, "I told my family, 'Mom has to focus on Mom right now.'"
- CONTRIBUTORS Charlotte Triggs,
- With Diane Clehane.