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Donny Osmond's Parents 'Were Told to Stop Having Kids' after Their Two Sons Were Born

Monica Otayza
Sep 21, 2021
04:21 P.M.
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The Osmonds are known for being a talented family in the music industry. However, Donny once revealed that if his parents had listened to advice early on in their life, he and some of his siblings wouldn't have been born.

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Donny Osmond once had an interview with Chet Cooper and Dr. Gillian Friedman about growing up in their family. It was no secret that Donny’s two oldest siblings, Virl and Tom, were born deaf, and such impairment was seen very differently at the time. He once said:

“My oldest brother was born 85 percent deaf, and the next was born worse with almost total deafness. My parents were told by everyone, doctors included, to stop having kids.”

Donny, Olive, Jimmy, George, and Marie Osmond on "Donny and Marie – Christmas Show" on December 17, 1976 | Photo: Getty Images

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RAISING THEM NORMALLY

Because they were not born entirely deaf, Olive and George Osmond decided not to treat them any differently, and they learned to talk and communicate verbally. Even though their parents’ indifference aided Virl and Tom in many ways, it also had its drawbacks.

Their impairments weren’t discovered until Virl turned 2 and Tom, 1. Their parents refused to accept it and made adjustments as they actively participated in their learning.

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BEING PROVIDED CARE

Virl once opened up about dealing with the handicap, saying that they spent many hours in a day just working on their speech, and encouraged them to try experiences that some educators of the deaf considered foolish or ineffective.

Tom, whose disability is worse than Virl’s, got sent to Utah School for the Deaf, while Virl attended a regular public school which he described as a “mixed blessing.”

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THEIR EDUCATION

Virl explained that it was a mixed blessing because, in public school, he faced the harsh reality that he was different from other people. He was often bullied for his hearing aids, which were a lot bigger than the ones we have available now. He said:

“Not today’s subtle, behind-the-ear models, but ones with big plugs and wires. I was taunted and mocked, and the plugs were pulled out of my ears again and again.”

Donny and Marie Osmond on April 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

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A TOUGH LIFE

Virl found refuge on their farm in Ogden, Utah, among his family, the only place he felt “free from criticism and embarrassment.” They had to live under the shadow of their famous siblings, Donny and Marie.

When people met Virl and Tom and learned of their deafness, it ended in humiliation for them as Virl elaborated: “The fans will politely shake our hands, usually speak to us too loudly, give us a look of pity and then quickly go back to our brothers and sister.”

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THEIR PERSONAL LIFE

For Tom and Virl, the hardest part was the fact that their impairments were not their fault, or anyone’s for that matter as they were born that way. Tom became a printer at the family’s television production center in Orem, while also teaching sign language at Brigham Young University. He has four children.

Leading a nearly normal life, Virl became a father of seven and joined the IT industry as a graphic designer while he studied further in video editing and animation.

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IN THEIR GENES

Their nephew, Justin Osmond, was also diagnosed with 90% hearing loss at the age of 2. He benefited greatly from modern-day technology and 12 years of intense listening and speech therapy.

He can both hear and speak and astonished everyone when he, against all odds, learned to play several instruments and even received the prestigious sterling scholarship in music award.

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DONNY'S FAMILY

As he came from a big family himself, Donny went on to have five sons and has a total of 12 grandchildren. Of all the things he's achieved in life, the crooner is proud of his family the most.

He and his wife Debbie are doting parents to Don Jr., Jeremy, Brandon, Christopher, and Joshua. Their children have families of their own, and they've spent recent times trying to make the most out of their lives together.

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HIS MOST RECENT SURGERY

Not a lot of people knew that in 2019, Donny underwent back and neck surgery that left him temporarily paralyzed. In fact, he was worried, at the time, that he may never get to walk again.

His health issues began when he was at the final performance of his and sister Marie's Vegas residency. During the concert, his arms and legs went numb. Speaking about it, he said:

"I didn't tell anyone what was happening to me. I just kept dancing and finished the show."

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DIAGNOSING THE PROBLEM

It turns out, his spine shifted thanks to dancing injuries that he swept under the rug. While recovering in Utah after the surgery, he then found out that he had a secondary infection that affected his ability to move.

Overall, it took months for Donny to get back up on his feet. He credits his Mormon faith and his wife Debbie for helping him recover faster.

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BALANCING CAREER AND FAMILY

When Donny told his father that he wanted to get married, his dad warned him about how it would affect his career. However, at 19, he knew he was in love and he wanted to do something that felt right for him.

True enough, he has been married to his wife Debbie for decades. While he found out his dad was right about his career, he acknowledges that without his wife, he would be a mess.

Ultimately, Donny credits his parents for everything he learned about loving your own children, respecting them, and allowing them to have their own voices. He compliments these learnings with his religion, and that's how he and his family have remained close.

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