Donny Osmond Reveals How Wife Helped Him Overcome Anxiety

Photo from Donny Osmand’s Instagram

Donny Osmond Reveals How Wife Helped Him Overcome Anxiety

By Movieguide® Contributor

Singer Donny Osmond recently talked about overcoming anxiety and being okay with making mistakes.

Osmond’s anxiety began when he was 12 as his singing career started to pick up with his family band, the Osmonds.

“[It was] when the pressure really stared mounting, especially when we had a hit record, and I started having my own career,” he told Yahoo! Life.

“It was horrible,” Osmond continued. “I went through it because, in my opinion, adversity builds strength, if you allow it to. I had lost my career, and I was really trying hard to get back on the charts.

“’Soldier of Love’ hit real big, then ‘Sacred Emotion’ hit real big,” he explained. “And then I did JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. I’m doing standing-room-only business, and you would think it would fix [my anxiety].”

Instead, it worsened, and as his reputation grew, he became hyper-focused on delivering perfect performances.

“It’s like you’re standing in the middle of an intersection, and here comes a massive semi right at you at 90 miles an hour, and you can’t do anything about it,” he said, describing his anxiety. “I would walk on stage knowing I was going to die. It was horrible.”

“The problem with anxiety [is that] you put arbitrary expectations on yourself,” the singer said. “It’s all in your mind.”

“I had some great psychiatrists, but I’ve read a lot of books,” Osmond said. “You can [take] medication, whatever you want to do. This might be discouraging for some people to hear, but it’s down to you. You got to do the work.”

Ultimately, though, he credits his wife, Debbie, for encouraging him to rethink how he approached performing.

“My wife looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t you do yourself a favor and do the audience a favor, and why don’t you go out there tonight and just do an average show? It’s the best show I ever did,” he recalled. “I gave myself the license to make a mistake. You don’t want to do too many, because then you have a reputation of not being good. But for a Type A personality, average is pretty darn good.”

For Osmond, his wife and finding a work-life balance keep his career on track and help him focus on what’s most important. 

“Thank goodness I have a wonderful wife who knows how to help me balance my life,” Osmond said. “I’ve watched people destroy their personal life, because there’s so many wonderful opportunities. There are times in my life where I have turned down things I know would have been successful. But it would have compromised my time with my children, my wife, my grandchildren.”

“I consciously make an effort to take a back seat and just be grandpa, not a celebrity, not the head of the house with my wife, none of that,” he explained. “It’s just like grandpa’s in the corner playing with the grandkids. That’s what I like to do.” 

Movieguide® previously reported:

This is just one of many ways Osmond connects with his grandchildren, something he prioritizes so that they see him as their grandpa rather than as a celebrity.

To illustrate what happens when his grandchildren realize he is famous, Osmond recalls their reaction to seeing him perform in Las Vegas in 2021.

“Just before the show started, I’m wresting with them on the ground, playing with them. But it’s really interesting what takes place is that after the show, they treat you a little bit differently,” he said. “Especially the young ones [were like], ‘Wait a minute, is that grandpa out there?’ And then when I came back and they just can’t quite put two and two together that, ‘Grandpa was on stage and now he’s wrestling with me.’ It was kind of interesting.”