Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 | 1:38 p.m.
To get away, Marie Osmond often does just that. She gets away. One of her favorite getaways has been to load up her Toyota Prius, slip an inspirational CD into the stereo and make the four- or five-hour drive to visit her son Michael in Los Angeles.
"I'm always eager to see him, and I listen to my inspirational books," she said earlier this month during an interview backstage at the Flamingo, where the Donny & Marie Show regularly plays to capacity audiences. "It's time I take for myself, to go and see my son."
One of Marie Osmond's eight children through two marriages, and one of five who were adopted, Michael Brian Blosil committed suicide Friday night in L.A. by leaping from a downtown apartment window. He was 18, and had long suffered from depression and had been admitted into a substance-abuse rehabilitation facility in November 2007, the same week the patriarch of the Osmond family, George, died at age 90 and during Osmond's fainting-marked appearance on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."
A son of Osmond and her second husband, Brian Blosil, from whom she divorced in March 2007, Michael left a note behind saying was ending his life after a long battle with severe depression. He reportedly wrote that he felt as if he had no friends and could not fit in.
In a statement issued by a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles public relations firm Rogers & Cowan, Osmond said, "My family and I are devastated and in deep shock by the tragic loss of our dear Michael and ask that everyone respect our privacy during this difficult time." Donny Osmond's statement: "Please pray for my sister and her family." Donny & Marie's show went on as scheduled last night, as it starts at 7:30 p.m. and the tragedy in Los Angeles was reported at around 9 p.m.
Reached earlier today on the phone, Osmond's longtime assistant Darla Sperry said with a catch in her voice that Osmond could not talk at that time and information about Marie and the Flamingo show would be handled through PR reps. Donny & Marie are expected to remain on the Flamingo stage through 2012, but have not signed a formal contract committing to that schedule, according to Marie, who said earlier this month, "Nothing's been signed."
In that backstage interview, Osmond spoke of how she was proud to have been the first prominent person to speak publicly about suffering from postpartum depression, a condition she detailed in her 2001 book, "Behind the Smile." She was then asked about Michael's 30-day rehab stint, the reason for which has never been made public, and she said only, "He's so good. He's good. He's going to college right now. I'm very proud of him. ... But I don't speak on behalf of my kids. They speak for themselves."
After being released from rehab, Michael returned to high school in Las Vegas and had earned a 3.90 grade-point average at one point.
At about the moment Osmond spoke of her son, personal assistant Greg Sperry, husband of Darla, was walking through the room to hand Marie her car keys (Greg Sperry has since suffered fractures in his spine during a ski accident at Mount Charleston but is recovering). She asked him, while laughing, "Have I ever had so much stress in my life than I have now?" Sperry laughed back and said, "No. But I've never seen you happier."
"I've been through many, many challenges in my life," she said, turning back to the interview. "What I really believe is, to get through life, you have to know what makes the world tick. What frames the heavens. I call it God."
Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.