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“I needed to come home” – Olivia Newton-John has made an emotional return to Australia

The Grease star has come home for a cause close to her heart - and to cheer on her daughter's Australian reality TV debut.
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There’s no shortage of admiration for Olivia Newton-John.

Since embarking on a music career in the 1960s, the Aussie icon has become popular around the world for her personality, achievements and support of those in need.

Six decades in the spotlight hasn’t seemed to weary her.

Instead, Olivia, 71, has used her platform to help others “any way I can”.

Olivia Newton-John is coming home for an emotional reason.

(Michelle Day)

The singer-songwriter has supported several charities and is the founding patron of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Institute. And soon, she will step up once again to perform at Fire Fight Australia, a national concert appeal to help those suffering as a result of the recent national bushfire crisis.

“I’m pretty much retired, but when I heard they were doing this, I had to be part of it,” Olivia tells TV WEEK from her home in California.

“It’s so important, and I feel privileged that I’m able to help in some way. Australians are tough. We have a wonderful sense of spirit and humour, and those things will get us through.”

Olivia has always stayed true to her Aussie roots.


The concert, which will see Olivia join friend and collaborator John Farnham, has given the star reason to return home, a move she desperately wanted. She and husband John Easterling divide their time between California, Florida and Australia.

“It [the bushfires’ devastation] has had an impact on a global scale and it breaks my heart,” she says. “I had to come back and be part of it [the concert].”

While the nation is in the throes of a crisis, Olivia has had a decades-long fight of her own. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, the four-time Grammy Award winner has faced a lot.

WATCH: Olivia Newton-John opens up on her cancer battle. Story continues below…

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Over the years, as her cancer receded and reappeared, she has undergone a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction, while also trialling natural remedies and medical cannabis.

In a recent update to the Herald Sun, Olivia updated that her tumours, which were discovered in her lower back three years ago, are “receding or they’re going away or staying the same on a Stage-4 metastatic breast cancer.”

Now, she adds that her recovery has been aided by having a positive mindset.

“I have my moments, of course, but 99 per cent of the time I’m positive. You have to make that decision within yourself to be glass half-full,” she says.

“I’ve lived the most amazing life and career, with beautiful people around me. I can’t lose sight of that. There are people much worse off than me. I couldn’t be happier at the

moment – and, health-wise, I’m doing exceptionally well; I feel great.”

Olivia hopes to inspire others to do the same, even in the darkest moments.

“The thought that ‘This too shall pass’, has gotten me through difficult times,” she explains.

“When I speak to people who are suffering, I can speak only from my own experience, but I’ve been in grief and loss – it’s a hard thing to go through.

“One morning, though, you’ll wake up and see the sun again. You’ll come out the other side.”

The Aussie starlet and her Grease co-star John Travolta have remained close over the years.

Olivia will also use her time in Australia to cheer on her daughter, Chloe, 34, who’s competing on Dancing With The Stars. But the performer was careful not to offer any advice.

“I encouraged her to just be herself,” Olivia says.

“She’s in her own dancing shoes and they’re beautiful – she’ll do great.”

While fans are hoping to see Chloe replicate her mother’s timeless hits as Sandra Dee in Grease, Olivia is happy for her carve her own path. Although, she’ll always be grateful for the 1978 film that made her a star.

“Forty-one years on, it’s still phenomenal,” she says.

“John [Travolta] and I still can’t believe it. I’m so grateful to have been part of that movie and to feel all that love – it’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?”

Fire Fight Australia will air on Sunday, February 16 at 1pm on Channel Seven, FOX8 and Channel V.

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