Grease legend Olivia Newton-John opens up to our sister publication Woman’s Weekly about her cancer diagnosis.
Fans all over the world can take heart that legendary Grease actress and singer Olivia Newton-John is doing well.
The star, who turned 71 in September, revealed in her recent memoir Don’t Stop Believin’, that although she successfully overcame breast cancer in 1992, the cancer returned in 2013 and needed further treatment.
Devastatingly for Olivia, in 2017, tests confirmed that the cancer had spread into the base of her spine. Olivia, who co-owns the Gaia Retreat & Spa in New
South Wales and has lent her name to a Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, used a mix of natural therapies with conventional (intravenous herbal medicine and some photon radiation therapy), to tackle the cancer.
But last year, Olivia faced another setback. While preparing to participate in her centre’s Wellness Walk and Research Run, she was again in agonising pain and was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis, caused by the cancer spreading to her sacrum.
‘I ended up in my own hospital, having more treatment, and came out of the hospital in a wheelchair,’ she says. Olivia is first to acknowledge how much her husband, John Easterling, has helped her through her cancer treatment.
‘My husband is a plant medicine expert and he made some amazing cannabis medicine for me, which is why I believe I am doing so well,’ she explains. ‘That has helped together with a combination of all the other things I am doing. I am working with him to make cannabis more understood. We do a lot of things together. He is an amazing human.’
Olivia, who has homes in Florida, California and Australia, is very much a country girl. ‘We live in a pretty remote area in California, and we have chickens, miniature horses, a cat and a dog. I love it,’ she says.
The singer has had some amazing moments throughout her long career. ‘Dancing with Gene Kelly in Xanadu was incredibly special,’ she recalls. ‘He was such a legend. I learned to tap dance for about three months before we went into rehearsals. It was a wonderful experience.
‘And of course to dance with him and John Travolta in one lifetime. I have done my Dancing with the Stars!’ Olivia also remembers auditioning for a part in Tootsie. ‘I got to spend the day with Dustin Hoffman, which was a fun experience.’
So is she worried about the ageing process? ‘Well, it is inevitable,’ she says. ‘I am just grateful to be getting older. The alternative is that you are not here at all, so
I am very happy. If I continue to feel the way I am and getting better every day then I am just delighted. You know that every day is a gift. You just don’t know, even if you don’t have cancer, when your time is up – so every day is a gift for everyone.’
Family plays a big part in Olivia’s life. ‘I am the matriarch now so I love to get the family together,’ she explains. ‘I have a wonderful family in Australia and in America so I’m very fortunate.’
And what about becoming a grandmother? Olivia has a 33-year-old daughter Chloe, from her first marriage to Matt Lattanzi. ‘Oh, well it is not on the cards yet,’ she laughs. ‘If it happens it will be great but I have granddogs, so that is
great too. My greatest achievement in my lifetime is my daughter, no question. Your children are your biggest achievement.’
While her family is her biggest achievement, what most of Olivia’s fans would say she’s most famous for is undoubtedly her role as Sandy Olsson in Grease.
And next month, Grease fans will be watching on with bated breath to see what price Olivia’s famous leather jacket from the film, will bring at auction.
‘I think it is a joyous event because my Grease memorabilia is going for a wonderful cause,’ says Olivia. ‘A portion of the money raised will go towards my Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, and I want to do more plant medicine research.’
As for the future, Olivia finishes, ‘I’m not thinking too much about music at the moment as I have been focusing on life and living and enjoying being at home. The fund-raising for cancer research continues plus there is my work with Gaia. There is plenty going on without the singing – and I sing around the house, so that suffices right now! I just want to see an end to cancer in my lifetime. That is my dream.’
Don’t Stop Believin’ (Simon & Schuster UK) is available now. For more information about Olivia, visit olivianewton-john.com