Marie Osmond's Remarriage 29 Years Later;
Donny Osmond's 33-Year Union
Las Vegas Weekly
by Robin Leach
May 25, 2011
||It was an extraordinary, candid and heartwarming conversation backstage with Donny and Marie Osmond at their Flamingo showroom. Nothing was off-limits, and their back-and-forth sibling banter helped lighten the teary moments when Marie talked about her emotions in healing from the death of her son and the happiness with the romance of her renewed marriage.
Marie was dressed in a new sparkling black Bob Mackie for the new opening number, and Donny was in slacks and a white bathrobe. The three of us sat at what could have been a kitchen table at any home in America, except we were in their visitors lounge. Part 1 of this exclusive VegasDeLuxe.com interview was posted last week.
The “little bit country” singer who can reach high octaves with her operatic voice said that she’s the happiest she’s been in a long, long time. But her current story really began nearly 30 years ago. That’s when she started a marriage that lasted three years before ending in divorce.
“We were simply just too young back then,” Marie said. “The whole world was watching us as entertainers, and we were trying to hold on to our personal life. This time around, we’re older, wiser, smarter and far more comfortable with each other and our careers. What’s beautiful is what I fell in love with before is still there now -- he is incredibly sweet and caring.”
Former BYU basketball player Stephen Craig and Marie married in 1982.
Their son Stephen James was born in April 1983, and he had a tremendous amount to do with reuniting them. Stephen remained single, while Marie married Brian Blosil in 1986. They had two children, Rachel (now Marie’s wardrobe mistress and designer at the show here on the Strip) and Matthew, and they adopted five children, including son Michael, who died in February 2010 in a depression-related suicide. Marie and Brian split in 2007.
“I thought I’d be single for the rest of my life,” Marie laughed. “Who would even date a girl with so many children? I never thought I’d get married again. Our son Stephen just thought we’d be perfect for each other again, and we truly appreciate him being right! It’s sure nice to go home now and not be alone.”
Marie told me that Stephen didn’t even know at the beginning that they’d started dating again. When she moved here to set up home once the Flamingo concert run was set, it was Stephen who got his father to help with the move from Utah.
“We’d always remained friendly, and about two years ago, we decided to see very quietly if it would work. Up until then, I hadn’t even thought about it. The dates were kept secret from everybody -- not even you, Robin, knew! We just made it look like I was going to remain single forever.”
I agreed that it was the best-kept showbiz secret I’d missed out on in my 50 years of chronicling the stars! Said Marie: “Our son didn’t even know we were dating. We didn’t want anybody to know. If it hadn’t worked out, I think the children would have been more heartbroken than us. We didn’t want to hurt their hopes. Donny knew it had started, but it was only when we told our son we were getting married that the secret came out. I didn’t want to wait any longer. I knew it was right.”
“It’s a real Cinderella story with a very happy ending,” Donny chimed in. So beautiful. It’s fantastic. There were moments after the death of her son when she was truly alone, and I hurt for her. There were nights when she couldn’t do the show. I understood. Over the years, the two of us have shared everything, and I wanted this to all work out so she’d be happy again. I’m just happy she’s now the happiest she’s ever been.”
Several fascinating stories came to light from Marie as she talked about the wedding: Son Steven, who masterminded the resumed romance, served as the official witness at the Mormon Temple Las Vegas ceremony. Donny stood in, too, but Marie used Photoshop to “insert” her late son Michael in Donny's substitute position for the official wedding photo she will keep as a souvenir. Donny will keep his own original version!
Marie also decided to not wear the wedding dress she and daughter Rachel had designed and made because a week before the ceremony, she said that she cried when she found the original one she’d worn nearly three decades ago. She believes members of her family put it in her garage where they knew she would find it. With just one tiny alteration, it still fit in all the right places.
The marriage service took place May 4 -- the same date in 1925 that her mother Olive was born and the same date in 1991 that her late son Michael was born. She said it was a deliberate choice because Michael and her mother always celebrated their birthdays together. It also was on the one break Donny and she had from their show. Their next hiatus is in August, when they start separate tours already booked.
We touched on Michael’s death during our conversation, but I didn’t want to reopen Marie’s wounded heart -- so instead we used it as the jumping-off point for just how close Donny and she are. That led to a lot of laughter and joking among the three of us about his eventual demise.
"I’ve just been killed off,” Donny roared. “I’m just making the point how important you are to me,” Marie responded.
In their back-and-forth kidding, it became Donny’s running joke for quite a while. “Now I know the truth of what she’s been thinking all these years,” he laughed. “We do have those brother-sister spats. Quite normal, but we never take it onstage with us. We agree to disagree because we aren’t yes people to each other.”
Turning serious, he added: “It’s so great to see her happy and laughing again. She came back to the show a week afterward. That was a miracle in itself, but she was really sick and emotional, and a week later, she couldn’t go on anymore. I knew she was really hurting. She’s strong, though. She managed to take care of it herself and got through the pain. We really do look out for each other.”
Marie interjected, “He really was my rock through this.”
Donny credits his longtime marriage to wife Debbie for his own stability.
"After 33 years of marriage, we still look forward to going out on dates. We share everything. Debbie has always been my rock. It’s been a very successful marriage, and we’re still chasing each other.”
The duo is celebrating nearly 50 years in entertainment and has just recorded their first album together in 30 years. They were surprised when I pointed out that they’ve outlasted Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and others in The Rat Pack era in Las Vegas: “Wow, we never thought about it in those terms,” Donny replied. “And we appeared onstage with all of them!
|“Neither of us ever thought it would last this long. We are truly blessed and very grateful. Our father taught us the work ethic. We know we always have to work hard and give the audience more than they paid for. We give our heart and soul to every show because the day we stop caring is the day we would quit. There’s too many others nipping at our heels ready to take over the moment we slow down -- and that isn’t going to happen.”
Donny and Marie assured me that with their newly produced show at the Flamingo and a contract that runs through October 2012, they aren’t thinking of leaving Las Vegas any time soon.
“We’re looking at offers from all over the world,” Donny said. “We’ll see what they lead to, but the Flamingo and Vegas will be our mother ship for as long as we’re wanted here. We’ll change up our Christmas show this year for a week in Detroit, three in Chicago and a visit to Toronto.
“We’ll find pockets on the calendar to go off and do other things, but in the end, it will always promotes Vegas and our show here. We love performing in Vegas, and that will never change. But we also love doing shows elsewhere because it always brings more people back to Vegas afterward!”