celebrity

Olivia Newton-John's husband hadn't seen Grease. Until John Travolta intervened.

The phrase ‘I’ve never seen Grease‘ is something one ought to be careful admitting in public. I mean gosh, among certain crowds, it’d be considered straight-up pop culture blasphemy.

Yet the man closest to its star did just that.

Speaking to Mamamia‘s No Filter podcast, Olivia Newton-John shared that when she met her husband, American-born businessman John Easterling, he’d never seen the 1978 classic. The film that cemented Olivia’s status an international star.

grease
In 1978 Olivia cemented her career as Sandy in Grease. Image: Polydor Records.

"He thought I was just some Hollywood Chick. He didn't know my music. He'd never seen Grease," she told host Mia Freedman.

"And when you ask him [why] he goes, 'Well, I was in the Amazon, up the river in a canoe.' He had no clue."

At the height of the film's success, John was at the helm of a self-made company that sold Amazonian herbs - a venture that left him somewhat detached from the happenings of the American entertainment industry.

But he's since caught up. And it seems his first viewing of the movie-musical phenomenon was worth the wait...

The couple knew each other for more than two decades before they got married. Image: Getty.
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Shortly after the couple married in 2008, Olivia's Grease co-star and long-time friend John Travolta asked them for dinner. A pilot and aeroplane enthusiast, Travolta has a private airport attached to his home, Olivia explained.

"My husband is a pilot too, so John [Travolta] said,'My plane just came back, I'd love you guys to come see it.' He just had it refurbished," she continued.

"So we're having dinner and my husband mentions he's never seen Grease, and John Travolta, of course, says, 'Where were you?' So John says, 'Lets go onto the plane, and have dessert on the plane.' So we go on the plane and we're sitting there, and Grease is playing on the screens. And that was the first time he saw it, with both of us on John's plane.

"He loved it. He said, 'That's a really good movie.'"

How Olivia Newton John met her husband.

Olivia and her husband met 20 years earlier, when friends invited her to a talk he was giving at an environmental show.

"I thought he was handsome, but I was married [to first husband Matt Lattanzi] at that time so I wasn't looking sideways," she said.

Image: Getty
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They ran into each other at various charity events in the years that followed, but nothing progressed. Ultimately, two events brought them together.

The first was when Olivia approached him about collaborating on a skincare range for a major US pharmacy.

"He said, 'No, I don't want to cheapen my product and put it in plastic bottles.' At the time I was taken aback, but I really respected his integrity," she said. "So that always stayed with me."

A short time afterwards, Olivia invited John to one of her concerts in Florida,

"He said when he saw me singing - and this is his quote, not mine - he knew I was a healer and he wanted to take me to the Amazon to meet the other healers down there... So that's when it all happened."

To hear the rest of Olivia's chat with Mia Freedman, listen below or in your favourite podcast app.

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