11 amazing facts about Olivia Newton-John

25 July 2018, 19:46 | Updated: 14 October 2020, 22:23

Olivia Newton John
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Olivia Newton-John is one of the world's most successful female solo artists of her generation.

She has sold over 100 million records worldwide, starred in one of the greatest musical films of all time and is a general national treasure (although we have to share her with Australia).

Here are all the big facts about the legendary singer:

  1. What are Olivia Newton-John's biggest songs?

    In the 1970s and 1980s, Olivia scored many big hits around the world. She started off as a country act, but moved into the pop world after her success in Grease.

    Among her biggest hits are 'Hopelessly Devoted to You', 'I Honestly Love You', 'Please Mr Please', 'A Little More Love', 'Magic', 'Xanadu' (with ELO), and 'Physical'.

  2. How old is Olivia Newton-John?

    Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948.

    She celebrates her 70th birthday in 2018.

  3. Who did she play in Grease?

    Olivia Newton-John famously played Sandy in the 1978 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease.\

    She was offered the lead role of Sandy after meeting producer Allan Carr at a dinner party at singer Helen Reddy's home. As she was concerned that she was too old to play a high school student (she turned 29 the film's creation), Olivia insisted on a screen test with the film's co-star, John Travolta.

    The film used her Australian accent by recasting her character from the play's original American Sandy Dumbrowski to Sandy Olsson, an Australian who moves with her family to the US.

  4. What other movies did she star in?

    In 1980, she starred in the musical fantasy movie Xanadu, for which she sang the title track with ELO. However, the film was not a critical hit, and was actually an inspiration for the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards to recognise the worst films of the year.

    In 1983, she reunited with John Travolta for Two of a Kind, but this was also panned by critics.

    Her most recent film role was 2011's A Few Best Men, also starring Rebel Wilson.

  5. How many children does Olivia Newton-John have?

    Olivia Newton John and Chloe Rose
    Picture: Getty

    Olivia Newton-John is the mother of one daughter, Chloe Rose Lattanzi, with her first husband, actor Matt Lattanzi.

    Lattanzi is also an actor and singer. In 2008, she appeared on the MTV reality competition Rock the Cradle, finishing in third place. In 2017, she had a role in the B-movie Sharknado 5.

  6. Who is Olivia Newton-John's husband?

    Olivia Newton John and John Easterling
    Olivia Newton John and John Easterling. Picture: Getty

    Olivia Newton-John married her long-time boyfriend, actor Matt Lattanzi, in December 1984. They met four years earlier while filming Xanadu.

    Their daughter, Chloe Rose, was born in January 1986. The couple divorced in 1995.

    In June 2008, she secretly married John Easterling, founder and president of natural remedy firm, Amazon Herb Company. They had first met 15 years earlier, but they only became romantically involved in 2007.

    Olivia was previously in a relationship with Patrick McDermott, an American cameraman of Korean descent. However, he disappeared in 2005 while on a fishing trip. The then 48-year-old mysteriously vanished, with personal items, including his wallet, left aboard. Various publications and TV shows have claimed that he is still alive in recent years.

  7. Has Olivia Newton-John recovered from cancer?

    Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, and received her diagnosis the same weekend her father died.

    She later recovered, and has since become an advocate for breast cancer research and other health issues. Proceeds from several of her albums have benefited breast cancer research.

    In May 2017, it was announced that her breast cancer had returned and metastasized to her lower back. In March 2018, she gave an update on her condition, saying she felt "really good".

  8. Did Olivia Newton-John take part in Eurovision?

    In 1974, Olivia Newton-John represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Long Live Love'.

    The song was chosen by the British public out of six possible entries, though she later admitted that she disliked the song.

    She finished fourth at the contest held in Brighton, behind ABBA's winning Swedish entry, 'Waterloo'.

  9. What is Olivia Newton-John's nationality?

    Olivia Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England, to Welshman Brinley 'Bryn' Newton-John (1914–1992) and Irene Helene (1914–2003).

    Her Jewish maternal grandfather, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born, fled with his family to England from Germany before World War II to escape the Nazis.

    Her maternal grandmother was of paternal Jewish ancestry, and she is a third cousin of comedian Ben Elton.

    Her father was an MI5 officer on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park, who took Rudolf Hess into custody during World War II. After the war, he became Headmaster at Cambridgeshire High School for Boys.

    In 1954, when Olivia was six, the Newton-Johns immigrated to Melbourne, Australia, where her father worked as a professor of German at the University of Melbourne.

  10. Does Olivia Newton-John have any siblings?

    She is the youngest of three children, following brother Hugh, a doctor, and sister Rona.

    Rona was also an actress who was married to Olivia's Grease co-star Jeff Conaway from 1980 until their divorce in 1985. She passed away in 2013 aged 72 from brain cancer.

  11. What is Olivia Newton-John's net worth?

    Olivia Newton-John has an estimated net worth of £30.3 million ($40m), according to The Richest.