Marie Osmond on Betty White, female friendships: 'As women, we're supposed to complete each other'

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The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

After working in the entertainment industry for six decades, Marie Osmond knows a thing or two not only about performing with legends, but also about being one. But recently, it's the passing of iconic actress and her Maybe This Time co-star Betty White that has the 62-year-old singer, actress and author thinking about her own place in the world.

Osmond tells Yahoo Life that White, who passed away in December 2021 weeks before her 100th birthday, "was like a second mom" to her. During one of their last conversations, Osmond says she and White spoke about getting nervous before a performance and how to use those feelings for good.

"She always had those nerves behind her," Osmond says. "And both of us said that when people lose that, then [they] lose [their] passion, right? You have to want — you have to have that energy behind you to make you go out and do a good job. She always had that, and we both had said when you lose that you should retire and try something new."

Osmond, who spoke with Yahoo Life as part of her work as a Nutrisystem ambassador, says her key to not losing her passion for performing comes from finding a good work-life balance.

"I've been very blessed to see my work as work and my life as life," she says. "I think that's where in show business a lot of people get lost. Maybe their self-worth is invested only in their work. But I love life and I don't have to be on stage to be happy. I can always be happy."

Osmond hasn't always felt happy, though. The former talk show host wrote openly about her struggle with postpartum depression in Behind the Smile: My Journey Out of Postpartum Depression and says that when her then 18-year-old son, Michael Blosil, died by suicide in 2010, she found fulfillment in serving others. She's learned to share her stories with the world and has heard first-hand how her candor has helped others.

"I felt sharing might help people," she says. "And you know, it was really touching to me when I did my book signings: I would close down Barnes and Noble — I would stay there for hours because I really wanted to help people sincerely."

During an emotional encounter with two of her readers, Osmond received confirmation that she was right.

"They had me sign a book and she said, 'Can I hug you?' And I said, 'Of course you can hug me,'" Osmond recalls. "She said, 'I wish you would've written this a year ago because maybe be our daughter would still be alive. She took her life because she had terrible severe postpartum depression and nobody knew anything about it then."

"When we can [speak] of those kinds of things and maybe just help one person, it's worth it," she adds. "So that's why I have shared things in my life — whether it's the loss of my son or whatever — because I feel if it can help one person, then that's what we're supposed to do. As women we're supposed to complete each other, not compete with each other."

As women we're supposed to complete each other, not compete with each other."Marie Osmond

When it comes to her own mental health journey, Osmond says she's learned the importance of practicing mindfulness, setting boundaries and knowing when to take a moment for herself. She's also not afraid to let go of toxic relationships.

"As you become and evolve every decade so does the group around you, and you go, 'You know, you are kind of a blood-sucker, you need to go away' or, 'You know, you bring me energy, I want you around more,'" she explains. "I'm never afraid to close the door. And I believe that God — whatever you want to call it, to me it's God — will help you walk and find a better path."

Still, one of Osmond's most cherished relationships is the one she has with herself. The mom of eight (three biological, five adopted) says she's found peace with her body image through the years after growing up in what she calls "the worst era possible" for women's self esteem.

Osmond credits Nutrisystem for helping her get
Osmond credits Nutrisystem for helping her get "healthy, not skinny." (Photo: Nutrisystem)

"I call it the 'Twiggy era' where if you weren't under a hundred pounds, you wouldn't have a job," she says. "That's literally the era I grew up in. So you grow up with head trips and because of that I have dieted my entire life — or I did."

Now, Osmond serves as a Nutrisystem ambassador and credits the meal plan with helping her become "healthy, not skinny."

"I do healthy because long-term health is what you wanna have, especially at my age and older," Osmond shares. "And that doesn't come from just being OK with whatever — it comes by making sure that you're heart healthy, body healthy and mind healthy."

Osmond's healthy mind comes from embracing the joy in her life.

"Joy is a choice," she says. "You choose it. We've all been through horrible things in our lives — I know I have — but you can have it make you better. Better is joy. Better is a choice. Better is saying, 'What can I take from this experience that I've been through that took my breath away and how can I help other people that may be going through it know that they're gonna be OK?'"

Osmond continues, "You've gotta surround yourself with joy. Get rid of the negativity, because the negativity is a spiral."

—Video produced by Olivia Schneider.

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