On February 26, 2010, Marie Osmond‘s 18-year-old son Michael jumped to his death from his apartment in downtown Los Angeles after leaving a suicide note for a friend on his bed.
“I had spoken with him the evening before and it was concerning to me, because it was the first time I had heard him start to cry and say he was alone, that he had no friends, that he felt despair,” Osmond said on Thursday’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Michael’s words “brought up so many red flags” for Osmond. “When I heard him say ‘I have no friends,’ it brought back when I went through depression,” says Osmond, who suffered post-partum depression, growing tearful. “I told him, Mike, I’m going to be there Monday, and it’s going to be okay. But depression doesn’t wait until Monday.”
]]>Donnie Osmond doing their show in Las Vegas. When he couldn’t reach his mother, he called his sister Rachel, and they spoke briefly. Osmond tried to call her son back after she finished with a meet and greet that night, but he didn’t answer.
She says she had a bad feeling that night, and asked her daughter to stay at the hotel with her. “I believe in a mother’s intuition. I said, ‘I don’t want to be alone tonight.’ At about two in the morning the phone rang.” It was the security guard at the gate of her home, telling her that the coroner’s office had come to speak with her. “And I knew that it was Mike,” she says.
Understandably, she continues, “I’ve been through some tough things in my life, Oprah. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve been through.”
Osmond’s other children have helped her, because she has to be strong for them.
She makes it clear that her son was not outwardly depressed until he began to use drugs at age 12. “When your son says, ‘Mom, I don’t feel good today, I’m sick to my stomach,’ you think he’s got the flu. When they’re sleeping a lot you think, ‘Oh, they’re growing, it’s puberty.’ They’re good at hiding things. We can have all the knowledge in the world but it’s the wisdom that we need to find.”
Osmond shares some of the contents of the suicide note that Michael left for his friend. “He basically said that he knew that morning was the last time he would get up and brush his teeth, eat breakfast, make his bed, get dressed, those kinds of things. He had made the decision, I guess. And that he loved his family, but the pain was so intense,” she says.
Michael’s downward turn was sharp and unexpected. “He was an F student, but he got up to a 3.9. He got into one of the toughest colleges, very artistic. He was in love, knew that it wasn’t going anywhere. One of his dear other girlfriends had just gotten married that day. My son – wow, he was, like, you want the perfect man? That was my son. Chivalrous, loved, honored women, treated his sisters with respect, and his brothers. He’d be the first one to say, ‘Mom’s tired, get the trash out.'”
He had previously tried to kill himself while Osmond was on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“Dancing with the starved,” she jokes. “I’ll tell ya. I was going through a very public divorce, going through a custody battle, my dad died, and my son went into rehab. He had received some very bad news of some things that had happened to his family members and he couldn’t deal with it. He loved his family. He promised that he would never do anything like that again, and I believed him.”
Marie’s brother, Donnie, also spoke with the Oprah show. “My relationship with Marie now is probably stronger than it’s ever been. There are times when I hear her crying across the hall, and then a few minutes later I hear her laughing. She’s trying to pull herself out of this abyss that she’s in.”
Donnie breaks down in tears talking about his nephew. “I had no idea how much pain was in him, but he covered it well. It’s so unfortunate that it had to end like this.”
He ends with a special public message to his sister. “Marie, I just want to say that I love you, I admire you, you are an inspiration not only to the world, but you’re an inspiration to me. The world has beat you up, but your brother will love you forever, eternally.”
Osmond finished the show by performing “Pie Jesu” in honor of her son.
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Photo credits: Harpo