Marie Osmond has experienced grief that no other parent should ever have to endure. In 2010, she lost her adopted son, Michael, who died by suicide at the age of 18.
“You know, I don’t think you’re ever through it,” Marie told CBS Sunday Morning in 2019. “I think God gives you respites, and then all of a sudden it’ll hit you like the day it did. The ripple effect is so huge, what you leave behind.”
November is National Adoption Month, and in honor of it, this past November, Ken Smith of WRAL News in Raleigh, NC, sat down for an interview with Marie to discuss how she has handled her grief nearly 13 years after losing her own adopted son.
“The pandemic created a real opportunity to open it up for discussion,” she pointed out, stating how she has been able to recognize her own mental health struggles in recent years. “God gives you respites in between, a little bit. I also believe that by sharing, you don’t feel alone. You feel like other people understand.”
Osmond goes on to acknowledge that grief doesn’t get any easier, but “healthy coping comes with time”. And her way of coping was to get back on stage not long after Michael’s death, a decision that she received immense backlash from.
“What people don’t understand is I had seven other children that were hurting, that needed to see their mother keep living,” she told Smith.
Marie has spoken out about her own mental health struggles in the past, writing a book in 2002 titled, Behind the Smile: My Journey out of Postpartum Depression. She explained to Smith that although she doesn’t find joy in sorrow, she finds joy in bringing others hope by acknowledging and understanding their grief.
“God says, there’s joy in sorrow; I don’t think there’s any joy in sorrow,” she explained. “I think the joy that is spoken of, the way I believe it means, is that, I can look at somebody and say, I understand and they know I do.”
In November 2010, Marie opened up about her son’s battle with depression on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and shared the final conversation she had with him, which was via a phone call.
“When I heard him say to me, I have no friends, it brought back when I went through depression because you really feel so alone,” she said. “I’m not a depressed person, but I understand that place, that darkness.
“I told him Mike, I’m gonna be there Monday and it’s gonna be okay,” she continued. “But depression doesn’t wait till Monday.”
Michael entered a rehab facility in 2007, telling People, “My son Michael is an amazing young man, shown through his courage in facing his issues.” By 2009, a year before his suicide, Michael was back in school and “thriving”.
While talking with Oprah in 2010, she explained why she had to get back on stage, calling it her “safe place”.
“It was really hard,” she said. “It was a calculated decision. I’m unique, I guess. I’m a female in the entertainment business who has been working 48 years consistently. My stage is my safe place. It doesn’t scare me, like I guess it scares some people. And I knew that if I didn’t get back on stage that I may never get back on stage.”
Marie made headlines recently regarding her inheritance, but besides that, hasn’t really been in the spotlight much. She keeps busy on Instagram, including a post tributing the late dance icon and DJ, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, in which she sent her condolences to his wife, Allison Holker, keeping true to her belief that there is joy in understanding others’ grief and giving them hope by assuring them they are not alone.