Olivia Newton-John had that happy glow of the newly married, and, at the age of 59 after multiple collisions with heartbreak, she declared herself a very happy woman.
She attributes it to John Easterling, founder and CEO of Amazon Herb Co., whom she married recently in a private ceremony in Peru.
“I’m so happy and so fortunate to have met a wonderful man,” the Aussie singer told TODAY’s Natalie Morales Tuesday in New York. “I’m just very lucky. We got married a couple of weeks ago. We did it quietly, just the two of us.”She said that she and her new husband have been longtime friends who share a concern for the environment. “I’ve always respected what he does for the planet and what his company does to give back. Love his herbs,” she said. “He’s just a wonderful person.”
It is Newton-John’s second marriage. Her first ended in divorce, and she had been unlucky in love for years before finally seeming to find happiness in 2004 in the person of Patrick McDermott, a Hollywood lighting technician.But then McDermott went on a fishing trip in California in February 2005 and simply disappeared. Although some people think he’s alive and there have been unconfirmed sightings, he remains officially missing.
Music for a cause
Newton-John was in New York to promote the July 29 release of her newest CD, “A Celebration in Song,” a compilation of duets, the proceeds of which she will donate to her own efforts to promote cancer awareness.
Those singing with her are Jann Arden, Jimmy Barnes, John Farrar, Barry Gibb, Delta Goodrem, Sun Ho, Richard Marx, Cliff Richard, Melinda Schneider, Amy Sky and Keith Urban. Many of them accompanied her on a nearly 150-mile walk along the Great Wall of China that she completed on April 29 after 23 days. She took on the project to raise funds for cancer awareness and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia.
“It was absolutely incredible,” Newton-John told Morales. “We raised a couple of million dollars for awareness. It was an unbelievable experience.”
The 59-year-old pop icon, who became a superstar 30 years ago when she starred opposite John Travolta in “Grease,” was diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago. After defeating the disease, she has devoted her efforts to spreading awareness and saving lives. What she went through fighting her cancer came back to her during the walk.
“I liken the walk actually to the cancer journey,” Newton-John said. “It was the unknown. It was sometimes scary. It was difficult. It was strenuous, it was challenging. But when you got through it, it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I’ve never done anything like it before in my life, to be in another country where you don’t speak the language and to do something challenging.”
‘Totally in the now’
At times, she and her companions had to climb 40-degree slopes. “You can’t look up, and you can’t look down, so you’re totally in the now, which is where we want to be,” she said. “For that, it was incredible.”
Morales asked the star why she is so outspoken about cancer when many other stars choose to keep their bouts with the disease private. Newton-John said she’s just doing for others what a woman once did for her.
“Sixteen years ago, when I was first diagnosed, I ran into a woman in a ladies’ room in Australia,” Newton-John said. “And she goes, ‘Oh, luv, I heard you have cancer, and I’m 20 years on and I’m fine.’ And that moment was a defining moment for me. Like, ‘Wow, she did it, I can do it.’ Now I can say to other people, ‘I’m here and you can do it.’ If I can help in some way, I want to do it.”
In addition to promoting her CD, Newton-John got in a few words about her latest role — as Bitsy Mae Harling, a country-western singer in Texas, in “Sordid Lives: The Series,” premiering July 23 on LOGO.
“It’s a very dysfunctional Texas family,” she said, offering the briefest of plot synopses. “It’s very, very funny.”