The recent deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the other seven passengers aboard the helicopter that crashed is, for most people, an unimaginable tragedy.
But for some, including Marie Osmond, tragic life experience has made what the Bryant family is going through just a little bit easier to imagine. “I have maybe an unusual perspective on it, because I’ve lost a child [and] it’s different when it’s your child,” Osmond tells Yahoo Entertainment.
In 2010, her son Michael committed suicide. It was dealing with that heartbreaking loss that gave Osmond a glimpse into what Bryant’s surviving family might be going through. She said of Vanessa’s public statement, “My heart was right there with her because I remember having to write my son’s... and to lose a sibling, that’s rough.”
In the wake of Bryant’s death, Osmond highlighted something observers might have learned, as a personal takeaway, from the news. “I don’t know anybody who didn’t take a minute to pick up the phone and call somebody they loved... that was the power in all of it,” she says.
Just last September, Bryant was a guest on The Talk, on which Osmond serves as a co-host. In the episodes following Bryant’s death, Osmond and the other hosts discussed how the media covered the helicopter crash. Osmond specifically took issue with TMZ’s prompt reporting, although the outlet’s founder Harvey Levin said they had dealt with “Bryant’s people” for an hour before publishing.
The initial swirl of rumors surrounding Bryant’s death led Osmond to recall her own past death hoax. “One of the websites did a story [saying] that I had died,” she recalls, explaining that she was, in fact, alive and on a plane — though her daughter Jessica didn’t know that at the time.
“It popped up on her phone and she was just devastated,” Osmond says. “She couldn’t get ahold of me. And she was just in the fetal position when I called her.”
Osmond thinks that being more cautious in these situations would avoid unnecessary trauma. “We have to be accountable for what we say, we need to be kinder, more compassionate,” she says. “It’s like feathers in the wind. You can’t take back your words just like you can’t take back those feathers.”