'I consciously make an effort to take a back seat and just be grandpa, not a celebrity," Osmond tells PEOPLE about bonding with his grandchildren
Donny Osmond may be one of the biggest names in music, but at home, he’s just grandpa.
The singer, 65, and his wife Debbie have 14 grandkids from their five children: Don, Jeremy, Brandon, Christopher, and Joshua.
“It's such a wonderful warm feeling to see your child become a parent and to see them raise their own children and to take on the kind of family traditions that Debbie and I have started,” Osmond says about his sons. “It's such a great dynamic to see your children grow up to be parents. They graduate into that echelon of life just finding their own feet, finding their own wings.”
In fact, Osmond says he’s created a special tradition of planting a fruit tree for every one of his grandchildren in his orchard, including his recent grandson, Dune Tyler Osmond, whom his son Chris welcomed with his wife Alta in June.
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“I just planted Dunes' and Aussie Rae's is starting to get all the peaches on,” he says about Chris’ daughter, who was born in 2020. “In fact, they're almost ready to be picked. So it's fun to have them walk out to the orchard with me to their tree and pick their fruit that their grandpa grew for them.”
As his grandchildren range from 2 months to 18 years old, Osmond notes that watching them grow up has made him reminisce on when he was their age.
“What's really fun is that now I've got an 18-year-old grandson, and I remember doing the Donny & Marie show when I was his age,” he says. “For instance, I started singing at 4, professionally at 5 and when I look at these grandkids of mine, I think to myself, ‘How in the world did I get on stage and perform with my brothers at that age?’”
He adds that he’s excited to share his career with his grandchildren as he embarks on his upcoming arena tour in the UK.
“In the UK, my career is so much different,” he explains. “I’m more of an artist than a television personality here in the United States. But in the UK, it's bedlam, it's absolutely crazy. And they've never seen grandpa in that kind of an atmosphere.”
“The show I'm putting together, I'm using effects that Coldplay did, but I'm taking it to a whole other level. So my grandkids are going to be able to witness all this,” he continues, recalling his grandchildren’s reaction to seeing his Las Vegas show in 2021.
“Just before the show started, I'm wrestling 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 says. “Especially the young ones [were like], ‘Wait a minute, is that grandpa out there?’ And then when I come back and they just can't quite put two and two together that, ‘Grandpa was the one on stage and now he's wrestling with me.’ It was kind of interesting.”
While Osmond and his kids often join together for big family gatherings, including their recent watch party for the season 2 finale of Claim to Fame, Osmond notes that he tries to take a backseat in those moments so that he can just enjoy being a grandpa.
“I'm the head of the family with my wife, but I kind of take a backseat when we're all together because I let my boys take over,” he says. “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. It's just like grandpa's in the corner playing with the grandkids. That's what I like to do.”
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