"When this opportunity was presented to me, I figured it was like riding a bike," says Marie Osmond, the showbiz survivor who has made a career of reinventing herself and bouncing back. "I remember how to put in those kinds of hours. I just hope that my feet can pedal fast enough to keep up at my age."
The age in question is 47. Twice divorced, Osmond is a single mother raising eight children, some of them biological, some adopted. She makes no bones about the fact that she's in no shape for the grueling dance marathon that is Dancing with the Stars. "I'm not at my fighting weight," she says. "I should be 20 pounds thinner. But come on — I have eight kids and I'm 47 years old! Who cares?"
Now completely recovered from a serious and well-publicized bout with postpartum depression first revealed in 1999, Osmond seems to have a renewed zest that cannot be contained. She's just wrapped up recording her first Christmas album. In 2006 she was a judge on Fox's short-lived Celebrity Duets. She remains a staple on QVC, where her porcelain-doll collection has been a hit for 16 years.
And now she takes on Dancing with the Stars, which will force Osmond to commute weekly to Los Angeles from Utah, where her children are in school. Her partner will be Jonathan Roberts, who worked wonders last season with amputee Heather Mills. "I am so excited!" says Osmond, but she knows it's going to be an uphill waltz. "Am I a professional dancer?" she says. "Absolutely not. When Donny and I did our show [the original Donny and Marie, 1976-79], we had a lot of bells and whistles around us, and that included ice-skating and dancing and sketches. They had it choreographed and plopped you in doing moves here or there. But I haven't had any formal training. Heavens, no. I danced with Donny. How can you 'La Bamba' with someone who's had a lobotomy?"
Despite the digs, her support remains steadfast for her brother, who sat in the studio audience watching Dancing last season. "I think the producers would do really well to have him on the show," she says. "Because I think he's just as competitive as I am." And just how competitive is that? "I don't think anybody starts this thinking they don't want to make it to the finals," says Osmond. "I mean, what's the point? Do I think I can? I have no clue. Will I give it my best shot? Absolutely. We're going to have fun and buy lots of tubes of Ben-Gay. In fact, I want to do my next interview with you in a Jacuzzi tub. It'll be fabulous."
Check out memorable Dancing with the Stars moments in our Online Video Guide.
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