At 49, Marie Osmond has endured a lot of public and private pain, most notably her postpartum depression. Born Olive Marie Osmond in Ogden, Utah, into the Osmond family of entertainers, she debuted with her singing and dancing brothers on “The Andy Williams Show” at the tender age of 3. When she was just 12 years old, she recorded her first single as a solo artist, “Paper Roses.” It became a No. 1 country hit and was a great crossover success.
Along the way, she married and divorced twice and had eight children. At the same time, she and brother Donny embarked on “Donny & Marie,” a variety show that ran from 1976 until 1979, and a talk show that aired from 1998 to 2000.
The actress, singer, doll designer and best-selling author made a splash on last season’s “Dancing With the Stars,” coming in third place. It was also during her “Dancing” run that Osmond’s father, George, died at age 90, but she continued the competition in her dad’s memory.
Now, Osmond is in the middle of a two-year contract to entertain and perform at Las Vegas’ Flamingo after the April release of “Might As Well Laugh About It Now.” It follows “Behind the Smile,” her 2001 book chronicling her experiences with postpartum depression. Here, she talks with Bankrate about her life.
Bankrate.com: Hitting the 50-year mark in October, do you think there are pros and cons to aging?
Marie Osmond: Well, as you age, hopefully you gain more wisdom. But I think the minus there is that you age (laughs). You have to be comfortable in your skin to age properly. I see friends who are so panicked because the media gives this illusion that unless you look 20, especially in Hollywood, you’re over the hill! That is so wrong to me because there are so many brilliant women out there. If you stop growing in your 20s and you try and stay there, you’ll never age right. … A lot of my stuff that I hold valuable in my life — and you can call it “stuff” — is the basic common sense that a great mother taught me. People ask, “Did you have a stage mother?” and I say, “Absolutely. She was a stage mother. She was there for every stage of my life.”
Bankrate.com: Your career is on a grand level once again. Do you feel financially stable at this point in your career?
Marie Osmond: A prenup would have been a good idea (laughs). So no, absolutely not. I’m the breadwinner. I have eight children. So when can you ever say in this economy — and me, in my work — that I’m financially stable? I’m grateful that I’m still working, are you kidding me? I’m like a lot of women out there. And with my tax situation, 60 percent to 70 percent of my income is gone from the minute I get it. That’s the way it is. Am I complaining? No. My life is wonderful, and I’m very blessed. But I do understand women out there who are struggling, and I do understand why women stay in a bad relationship, because, financially, it’s better to stay in one than to get out of one.
Bankrate.com: In these economic times, what would you tell women about how to make it through financially strapped times?
Marie Osmond: Teach your kids to work. We don’t owe them anything except to teach them to work. The reason I had the courage in my life is because my mom and dad taught me to work and never be afraid to fail. What’s the big deal? So you tried something and you failed. The bigger failure is in the fear that builds up inside of you of never knowing if you could have succeeded. (The biggest thing) I did wrong with my older children, because I was a working mother and I was the provider for the family, is I would buy them things to compensate for my insecurities of being gone. That is the stupidest thing we can do as mothers because you cannot buy your children’s self-esteem. We have to work to earn it.
Bankrate.com: How are you helping women become educated on being independent and gaining self-esteem?
Marie Osmond: Part of the reason I did “Dancing With the Stars” was to let them know I had to lose weight and wasn’t afraid to get out there and fail. … This book that I’m writing (uses humor), and I think humor is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. But I say to women who say, “Oh you look so good,” or whatever, you have to realize that I’m at peace in my life, and I lost weight. And to gain independence and self-esteem, you have to know what you are doing financially. Don’t let anybody take your financial responsibility away from you as a woman. You need to have your own bank accounts and credit and understand tax deductions, benefits and putting funds away for the future. You’re never too busy to own your own financial freedom.
Bankrate.com: So when do you find some time just for you?
Marie Osmond: Right now, it’s very hard to find that time, but it’s mandatory that I get a massage once a week, so that’s just for me. The other thing I’m doing for me is that I’m going to a nutritionist and have learned about good foods, nutrients (and) energy. I’m very much into homoeopathy and all kinds of remedies for emotional issues. So I probably spend more money on nutrition than I should, but that’s how I know I’m physically coping with the right-nows in my life.
Bankrate.com: Who or what is the last person or thing that made you laugh out loud?
Marie Osmond: I have a new puppy called Lola, and she’s a teacup Maltese. My daughter has a toy poodle who’s a bruiser, so I had to send him off to puppy boot camp because he wasn’t being very good. I just spent, and I hate to say this, but almost $1,800 because he was such a brat. I love this animal, and I’m very loyal to my pets. And my daughter, who’s 19, would just die without this dog. He’s the funniest thing. He gets home, and the first thing he does, after I spent $1,800, is (he) goes over to my lamp and lifts his leg (laughs).
Bankrate.com: Tell me how your new book, “Might As Well Laugh About It Now,” came about.
Marie Osmond: I have been quoted as saying, “Tragedy plus time equals humor,” and with that being the scenario, you might as well laugh about it now. When my house burned a couple of years ago, I lost all my journals, so I called up the writer who helped me with my earlier book and said, “I lost all the years of ‘Donny & Marie,’ and the memorabilia, my mother’s and grandmother’s things.” But what I was saddest about was I was afraid I wouldn’t remember a lot of the things that I would like to pass on to my children — just memories. So I started writing some things down and sent them to her. She mailed them off to my book person without me knowing, and he loved them.