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EXCLUSIVE Olivia Newton-John: “When they told me they were doing the TV biopic, I was horrified”

ONJ invited The Australian Women’s Weekly into her home this month to talk about why she won’t be watching the TV show of her life.

By The Australian Women's Weekly

As Australian icon Olivia Newton-John approaches her 70th birthday and heals from the return of breast cancer last year, her philanthropic work, love for her husband, John Easterling, and her memoir Don't Stop Believin' have taken centre stage. But there is one re-telling of her life story that she's not so sure about.

"There is also a movie of my life that's been made in Australia with Delta Goodrem playing me." She grimaces as she refers to the Channel Seven biopic, Olivia Newton-John Hopelessly Devoted To You.

Delta Goodrem as Olivia Newton-John and Gyton Grantley as Roger Davies. Photography: Jackson Finter
Delta Goodrem as Olivia Newton-John and Gyton Grantley as Roger Davies. Photography: Jackson Finter

"I probably won't watch it. When they told me they were doing it, I was horrified, because despite the fact that I'm well known I'm kind of private and my private life, even though it gets into the papers, is not something I want to talk about."

"I worry about the people in my life. It's not their fault they were married to me or were my boyfriend, so I didn't want it to happen. But then I realised it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not. So I decided to make something positive out of the negative and I asked that any money that would come to me would go to my hospital so that I can do it and feel I care about it."

Olivia on the Ranch with her husband, John.
Olivia on the Ranch with her husband, John.

The role of Olivia in the biopic will be played by songstress, Delta Goodrem.

"I love Delta. I think she's a really good actress and a great singer so that made it okay, because we're friends", Olivia tells The Weekly. "In the beginning she called me and asked, 'Shall I do it or not?' First I said, 'I'm not sure,' and then I said, 'Oh you do it'."

"I haven't read it and I don't know how accurate it is because it's a movie and people weren't there at every moment of my life but the money will go to the hospital so some good has come of it."

The hospital Olivia speaks of is the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne.

"My dream is that one day the hospital will take off the word cancer and it will be a wellness and research centre because there won't be cancer anymore", Olivia says. "They will have found the answer."

For the May issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, we spend a day at Olivia's ranch just outside Santa Barbara. The same woman who proudly donned leather trousers as Sandy in Grease greets us at the door and hugs us hello like she's known us forever. Then she whips up a lunch of pancakes with eggs from her beloved chickens.

"They're very low in sugar. People say to me, 'How can you go without sugar?' I say, 'When it's about your health, you just make that decision.'"

Because perhaps it's life or sugar?

"Yes, exactly," she says. "An easy choice."

Afterwards, we walk through the paddocks and take some exclusive, breathtaking snaps of Olivia, John, her chickens and the healing place that she now calls home.

Olivia loves 'healing' at home.
Olivia loves 'healing' at home.

In between tending her animals, whipping up wholesome treats and caring for her own health, Olivia has been working on her autobiography, Don't Stop Believin', which will hit bookstores in September.

"It was cathartic. I worked with someone who helped me because it would have taken me at least 10 years if I'd had to do it by myself. It's stories from my life, positive ones", she says.

The full interview with Olivia Newton-John can be found in the May issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, on sale on April 26. 20c from every copy of the issue sold will go to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre.

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