Marie Osmond has many reasons to be thankful these days.
The singer, who recently completed her Las Vegas residency alongside her brother Donny Osmond, is keeping busy as co-host of “The Talk” where she weighs in on pressing events impacting pop culture. When the 60-year-old isn't sharing her gift of gab with audiences, she’s a proud hands-on mom of eight children, as well as a loving grandma of eight.
The star admitted she wouldn’t be able to do it all if she didn’t get healthy again. Osmond, who has endured a decades-long battle with weight, insisted she feels rejuvenated again and is eager for what the future holds for her. And when cameras stop rolling, all she wants to do is be with her family.
Osmond spoke to Fox News about her wake-up call, the harsh words she received from critics and what has kept her going in Hollywood.
Fox News: Could you describe that moment when you realized you wanted to make a change regarding weight?
Marie Osmond: I was taking care of my mother and I had put the weight on. You eat when you're tired. You eat inconsistently. And then you try to diet. But you’re also trying to raise a family here. I was the provider for my family, so I had to work. Eating was my way of coping with life. And you justify it, like “My bones are getting bigger.” *laughs*. Or “I’m just going to be my mother.”… Women in my family don’t live much past 60. They put weight around their stomach. They also suffer from strokes and heart attacks. That’s what took my mother’s life. And I’m the only daughter.
I have eight brothers. The last thing she said to me was “Do not do to your body what I did to mine.” Shortly after that, I was going through a divorce and I have eight children. My mother had nine, I'm the underachiever, *laughs*. But I remember my son took me aside on behalf of the kids and told me, “Mom, you’re all we have. We can’t lose you. I don’t want to hurt your feelings but you’ve got to lose weight." That was the killer punch in the gut.
I was doing “Dancing with the Stars” and I thought 50 extra pounds in spandex is not a beautiful combination. I was ready. It took me about four months to lose 50 pounds. People assume I lost it on “Dancing with the Stars” but that’s not true. I started my journey before I did that show. And while I was doing “Dancing with the Stars,” Nutrisystem found me… And it was fantastic. I was going through a divorce, a custody battle, I was dancing – but it helped me get back to my healthier, happier self. I just can’t do steamed chicken and vegetables. It doesn’t work for me… But I wanted to take care of me. And that’s what I did.
Fox News: When it came to your weight loss journey, was there ever a moment where you felt like giving up?
Osmond: There have been many moments. From the time I started "Donny & Marie," age 15 I did starvation. I would literally starve myself for three days before taping, drinking lemon water and cayenne pepper with maple syrup so I can be skinny. One day, I was taken out into a parking lot and one of the studio people told me that if I didn’t drop 10 pounds, they were going to cancel the show. They said I was an embarrassment to my family and I needed to keep the food out of my fat face.
'They said I was an embarrassment to my family and I needed to keep the food out of my fat face.'
I was 103 pounds — I’d kill to be 103 pounds *laughs*. So I got down to 93 pounds. I never realized the mental abuse behind that. I went through other kinds, too. But those leave scars and traumas. I swear to you, every diet on the planet I tried. And when my mother passed away, I gave up on me. I wanted to be home, so I started doing a radio show.
I felt like I could take a break [from the dieting] because I was behind a microphone. But I remember looking in the mirror one day and going, “What did you do?” I knew I had to get back on track. And the thing with diets — they don’t teach you how to keep it off. You just take it off and then have to start all over again. And you’re feeling ravenous all the time. But taking care of yourself, finding the right plan will bring you so much joy. You can’t serve everybody else from a broken shell.
Fox News: You haven’t stopped working since you were a child. How have you managed to stay so grounded?
Osmond: You know, I was raised by beautiful parents who taught me to find the lessons in all of it… I wasn’t a normal child. But I grew up with teachers like Frank Sinatra. Sammy Davis Jr. taught me how to walk on stage. Lucille Ball taught me about lighting. Cyd Charisse taught me how to move and Debbie Reynolds — well, what’s not to love?
I was blessed to have such a fulfilling career. I’ve had an incredible life. I mean, there were some hard things about my life. I’ve had some difficult things happen to me as a child. But do I let that define me as a person? No, I don’t. To move forward in life, you have to thank God for the blessings you’ve been given and give back. I think that’s the secret.
Fox News: You describe yourself as an “odd celebrity.” Why?
Osmond: I guess I’m an odd celebrity because I’ve done everything from honky-tonks to Carnegie Hall. I’ve traveled all over the world, but I’ve also raised my children. I’m a celebrity who likes to cook at home, clean up her house. I get my kids to make their beds in the morning. I’m also a grandma who loves babysitting my grandkids. I remember when we were in the heat of “Donny & Marie,” I would come home after 18 hours of work. Those were hard days. We worked six days a week and memorized 350 pages of script in two and a half days.
Then you had all your dance routines and sketches. You had to go through your fittings. Weeks would double up and you felt like you were going to have an aneurism. It was so much pressure. And on top of that, I was going to school on set. But I remember one day I came home so exhausted. And my mother went, “You still need to do your chores.” I was working. I was doing "Donny & Marie." But I still had to do my chores. I had to do the dishes and clean the toilet. But it was a great lesson. You can’t believe your own press in this business. God doesn’t care if we’re celebrities. He cares about who you are as a person and what you do for others.
Fox News: You ended your Vegas residency with Donny Osmond. How did that experience bring the two of you closer, if that’s even possible?
Osmond: He lives in Utah and I live in Vegas, so sometimes we didn’t see each other until we started to do the show. But we’re still so close. Everybody’s like “Aren’t you going to miss this?” I’m like, “I still have a brother. I’m not going to lose him.” *laughs*. But I think the biggest thing is that we’re moving in different directions as performers. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. There’s a lot of things I want to accomplish on my own as a singer and I think it will just be a new chapter to embark on.
'God doesn’t care if we’re celebrities. He cares about who you are as a person and what you do for others.'
Fox News: You also joined “The Talk.” What made you want to sit at that table?
Osmond: I was ready for a change. Look, I worked late nights. Sometimes I didn’t get to bed until three in the morning. I remarried my first husband and ever since I’ve been in Vegas, this will be the first time since we’ve been married that I’ll be able to go out to dinner with my husband in the evening. I look forward to that.
I look forward to going in the morning and being done by noon. It’s a beautiful schedule. And I love the ladies. There’s really no prep. You just talk. They all have different opinions, and yet we respect each other. I love that concept. And we’re not negative or mean spirited. We’re there to talk through things and help each other. And I don’t have a sister so I looked forward to that sisterhood.
Fox News: Out of all the diets you tried, Nutrisystem seems to be the one that worked best for you. But why stay so dedicated to them now that you’re healthy again?
Osmond: First of all, they taught me how to keep off the weight. That's the most amazing thing that's ever happened in my life. I mean, I'm moving on 13 years of keeping my weight at a consistent rate. That's ridiculous. That’s never happened to me.
And there's no way that I could have ever lived the life I've lived the last decade. It’s not about being skinny. It's about being healthy. It’s about being able to go hiking with your sweetheart, getting on the floor with your grandkids — just participating in life. That's exactly what I want to do.