Donny and Marie Osmond have seven brothers: Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy
The iconic sibling duo have seven brothers: Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy. All nine children were born to George Virl Osmond and Olive May and were raised in Utah as active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After their two oldest sons, Virl and Tom, were born almost completely deaf, George and Olive were told to stop having children. However, they dreamt of having a large family and went on to welcome seven more kids, with Donny and Marie being their seventh and eighth children, respectively.
“[My parents] decided they were not going to treat my brothers differently [or lower their expectations.] My brothers talk and communicate verbally,” Donny told ABILITY Magazine. “They also sign and do have that down quite well. As a matter of fact, we used sign language when we were performing together as a group.”
Donny may have made his own name for himself outside of his famous family, but the singer owes his roots to his brothers’ band, The Osmonds. Comprised of Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay and later Donny, the group skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s.
“I was the next one in line of four Osmond brothers. I remember writing a letter home to my mother when I was 7 years old, from Sweden,” Donny told ABILITY. “I had spent six weeks over there touring and I just wanted to be home in my sandbox playing with trucks.”
He added, “I wanted to get out, but I couldn't. At around 12 or 13 years old, when I had my first hit record, I thought 'Okay this is good. I like this business. This is what I want to be when I grow up.' ”
Later, Donny and Marie grew their own careers separate from their siblings when they had their own variety show, Donny & Marie. In 2008, they started their Las Vegas residency show, which ran for 11 years.
Here’s everything to know about Donny and Marie Osmond’s relationship with their brothers.
They grew up in Utah
George and Olive welcomed their first child, George Virl Osmond, in 1945. They continued having children until they gave birth to their last son, James “Jimmy” Osmond, in 1963.
The family were all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah. As they grew older, many of the Osmond siblings kept their roots in Utah and built homes next to each other.
The family even had their own street called “Osmond Lane,” complete with nine lots and nine houses for each sibling.
“Wayne started first, I built next to him, Donny’s was next to me and Marie’s and they sold them,” Alan said as he pointed out the homes in 2003’s Being the Osmond Brothers documentary. “This is where Merrill built and he always loved pillars. We had a massive racket club, golf club, swimming pools.”
Donny was in a band with four of his older brothers
Before Donny was born, four of his brothers — Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay — performed in a barbershop quartet, The Osmond Brothers, on The Andy Williams Show. When he was 5 years old, Donny joined the group and they changed their name to The Osmonds.
While the band found massive success, selling out crowds and finding a major fanbase, especially with young women as they became teenagers, the brothers struggled under the pressure of their father and a demanding industry.
“My main memory of The Andy Williams Show was sadly to say was very, very nervous. I was a nervous young man and I wanted to please Andy Williams so much,” Merrill said in the Being the Osmonds documentary. “And sometimes things just didn’t go very well in rehearsal or even the taping and when they didn’t go well, I felt guilty, I felt nervous. Everything had to be like perfect, one take Osmonds is what we were known for.”
“We all had that same emotion, that same nervous feeling of having to measure up to something, that can’t be measured up to,” Merill continued.
Alan was the leader of the band at just 8 years old, and his brothers called him "No. 1."
Donny and Marie’s two eldest brothers also partook in the family business
Though they weren’t in the band, Virl and Tom took part in the musical side of their family as well. Virl explained in the documentary that he taught his brothers to tap dance and that both he and Tom learned to play the saxophone.
Tom, who is fully deaf, even learned to play the piano by feeling the vibrations of the keys. “I was fascinated with music, I like music,” Tom said. “I adored every minute of it when I was 5 years old.”
Virl added that when Tom attended a school for the deaf, his teachers questioned why he wanted to play the piano, making their mother more determined to teach Tom so he could prove them wrong.
Marie is beloved as the only sister
As the only girl in a family of nine, Marie has a whole brood of brothers looking out for her. In honor of Marie’s 60th birthday in 2019, her brothers made a sweet video that aired on The Talk where they wished their little sister a happy birthday and reflected on her birth.
“There were seven brothers at the time and we went to the hospital after we found out it was a little girl and we sang outside the hospital,” Alan said in the clip. “My mother held Marie out the window as we sang, ‘I want a girl. Just like the girl that married dear old dad.' ”
The brothers went on to express how proud they were of who their sister grew up to be.
“I think the greatest compliment I can give my sister is that she’s so much like our mother. She’s not only a wonderful wife but she’s a great mother to her kids and a wonderful grandmother,” Jay said.
They all have large families of their own
Between all the Osmond siblings, there are 55 children. Each sibling went on to have big families of their own, including Tom, who has nine kids, and Alan and Marie, who each have eight children. On top of their own kids, the Osmond siblings are now grandparents as their families continue to grow.
Alan’s children even continued the family business as they created the second generation of The Osmond Boys. They, too, woke up at 5:45 a.m. and followed a regimented routine as their father helped them learn their harmonies and choreograph dances for their own barbershop quartet, per the family's documentary.
They are there for each other in hard times
The Osmond clan has each other’s back, especially when they’ve undergone difficult life changes. In 1994, Wayne was diagnosed with a brain tumor but recovered six months later. Later, Alan was diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative disease that weakens muscles.
When Marie’s son Michael died by suicide in 2010, her brothers rallied around her during his funeral, and she thanked them for their continued love and support.
“I’d just like to say thank you to everybody,” she said. “As you see I have amazing support from great men, my family, my brothers. God was very wise when he put me into a family with honorable men because they have served as examples for my children.”
In 2018, Donny and Marie posted about Tom’s quadruple bypass surgery and asked fans for their prayers.
“As you may know, my brother Tom underwent quadruple bypass surgery on Saturday. He is on life support right now and fighting to hang on. It’s been an emotional and challenging few days for all of us, so I hope you’ll understand the radio silence from my end,” Donny captioned a childhood photo of the two a few days after the surgery.
“We don’t know what the future holds for Tom, but it’s in the Lord’s hands now,” Donny continued. “The whole Osmond family would appreciate your thoughts and prayers on behalf of my sweet brother.”
Marie penned a sweet tribute in her own Instagram post, sharing how Tom was fighting on life support.
“Tom is so full of life and love!” she wrote. “I’ve always seen his enthusiasm through his Christ-like [heart]. He just has a way of warming hearts with his big smile and tender hugs. He has such great love for all people, including strangers. His ♥️is so tender that at times, I swear, it even breaks when he sees others struggling.”
Tom has since recovered from the surgery and returned to his private life.
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