Just Marie

The cake would hold 53 candles if it could, or if the recipient would allow it.

The say there's a light on Broadway for every broken heart. In Marie Osmond's case, there might be a candle on her birthday cake for every heartache.

Not literally, of course. Marie, the kewpie doll, only girl of the Osmond entertainment clan, turns 53 tomorrow. She hasn't had 53 heartaches, though sometimes it has seemed like it.

An entertainer entertains. Period. It's what they do. The show must go on and all that rot. Marie Osmond is a shining example of that adage.

It hasn't always been easy to keep smiling and keep knocking them dead on stage for Osmond, who's back on the airwaves with Marie, a variety show that debuted October 1 on the Hallmark Channel.

You can't keep a good girl down.

You can say the odds were always with her. And you can also say that the odds were always against her. Depends on how you look at it.

For being the only girl among a gaggle of boys, in a family hellbent on putting on a show, can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because you have an "in." Bad, because who wants a stinking girl around when the boys seem to be doing just fine? Plus, what if mom and dad had decided to protect their only daughter from the glare of show business?

But Marie was tossed into the fire, with all that testosterone around her. And she's had to pick herself up a few times along the way. More than a few, actually.

There was the cancellation of the Donny and Marie Show in the late-1970s, at a time when she was told in a not-so-subtle way by show producers that she was getting chubby. She was all of 20 years old.

There was, along with brother Donny, a lull in her career that encompassed pretty much all of the 1980s and some of the '90s, too. That lull included a marriage in 1982 and a divorce by 1985.

But it's been in the last 15 years where Marie Osmond has felt the most pain. And has shown the most resiliency.

In 1997, she was divorced from second husband Brian Blosil after 11 years of marriage.

In 1999, she suffered severe postpartum depression. She would tell stories of driving along winding roads along the Pacific Coast, and fighting the urge to turn the vehicle toward the ocean.

The early-2000s saw a brief run on TV, again teaming with brother Donny in a talk show format. But the show went bust after a couple of years.

In 2009, Marie revealed that her oldest daughter, Jessica, was a lesbian. That wasn't easy to deal with, as an avowed Mormon.

Then, the worst of all: son Michael committed suicide in February 2010 by leaping from the eighth floor of his apartment building in Los Angeles. This was getting ridiculous now. Michael's death was the culmination of years of depression, which started as early as age 12.

But then, some brightness: Marie remarried first husband Stephen Craig in March 2011, wearing the same dress she donned in the 1982 original nuptial. You know how many women would kill to fit into the same dress they wore 29 years previous?

And now she's back on TV with Marie, though it's far too early to tell if that show will make it or not.

Maybe all that dollmaking and hawking was a way for Marie Osmond to escape the demons that were threatening to destroy her.

All this, while she was trying to be a wife and a mother to eight kids---three biological and five adopted.

Marie's birthday is tomorrow. She might be the oldest 53-year-old in the world.

But you can't keep her down, or from entertaining her fans. Good for her.


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