Hopelessly devoted to her. Olivia Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, was one of a few family members by her side when she passed on August 8, 2022.
Dame Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, when she was six years old. Newton-John’s music career started in 1966 when she released her first single, “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine.” She released her first album, If Not For You, in 1971. The album peaked at number 14 on the Australian album charts and 158 on the American album charts. Newton-John went on to release three more albums—Olivia, Let Me Be There and Long Live Love—before her breakout record, Have You Never Been Mellow, in 1975. The album became Newton-John’s first number one on the Billboard 200 charts and featured hit singles like “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “Please Mr. Please.” Newton-John went on to release a total of 26 albums throughout her career, including bestselling records like Clearly Love, Come on Over, Totally Hot and Physical, which featured Newton-John’s 1981 smash single of the same name. The song, which is seen as Newton-John’s biggest hit, has since sold more than two million copies in the United States and spent 10 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Along with her music career, Newton-John was also a successful actress, having starred in films like Toomorrow, Xanadu and Two of a Kind. Her most well-known role was as Sandy Olsson in 1978’s Grease, a movie adaptation of the 1971 musical of the same name. The film, which co-starred John Travolta as Danny Zuko, made history as the highest-grossing musical film ever at the time of its release and even earned an Oscar nomination for the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” performed by Newton-John.
After almost 60 years in the entertainment industry, Newton-John died of breast cancer on August 8, 2022, at her ranch Santa Ynez, California. She was 73 years old. Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, confirmed her death in a post on her social media accounts. Easterling is Newton-John’s second husband after her divorce from her first husband, Matt Lattanzi. Newton-John and Lattanzi were married from 1984 to 1995. They welcomed their first and only child, a daughter named Chloe Rose Lattanzi, in 1986. Newton-John married her second husband, John Easterling, in 2008. They remained married until Newton-John’s death in 2022.
So who is Olivia Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, and how did they meet? Read on for Newton-John and Easterling’s love story, and how they found each other after her first divorce.
John Easterling (2008 – 2022)
Olivia Newton-John’s second husband was John Easterling. They were married from 2008 until Newton-John’s death in 2022. Easterling confirmed Newton-John’s death in an Instagram post on August 8, 2022. “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.” the post read. “Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation.”
The post continued, “Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall. – via John Easterling, husband, Olivia Newton-John.” Newton-John’s Grease co-star, Didi Conn, also confirmed to Good Morning America at the time of her cast mate’s death that Newton-John was surrounded by her friends and family, including her husband and daughte, when she passed. “Her husband, John, and her daughter, Chloe, were there all the time and she told me that they were just so hopelessly devoted,” she said.
Newton-John and Easterling met through a mutual friend in the early 1990s but didn’t start dating until 2007 when they fell in love during a trip to the Amazon, according to People. Easterling is the founder and president of Amazon Herb Company, a natural health brand. The two shared an interest in spirituality and holistic cures. Easterling also helped Newton-John manage her cancer symptoms with medical cannabis he grew himself.
Newton-John and Easterling went public with their relationship at the opening of the Xanadu Broadway musical—based on the 1980 movie where Newton-John met her first husband, Matt Lattanzi—in 2007. They married in 2008 in an Incan spiritual ceremony on a mountain in Peru. They had a second wedding nine days later on a beach in Jupiter Island, Florida, with their close friends and family. In an interview with People at the time, Newton-John revealed that she wanted to keep her relationship private from everyone but her close loved ones. “It was the one thing I could keep private,” she said. “That’s how we wanted it because my life is so public.”
In another interview with People in 2016, Newton-John opened up about dating Easterling after her ex-boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, went missing in 2005. “I dated a little bit, but I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with him — and then bam!” she said. She continued of McDermott’s disappearance, “One of the hardest things is not knowing. I’m very lucky I have a wonderful, beautiful husband who is just so loving and fantastic. I always tell my friends you’re never too old to find love. I found the love of my life at 59 going on 60! I’m grateful.”
Easterling also told People in 2017 about what he admired the most about Newton-John after her breast cancer had returned. “She just has the capacity to love a lot of people like no one I’ve seen,” he said. “It’s just so comforting to see the outpouring of love coming back, the love and the prayer and the healing intentions coming from people all over the world to help complete that circle, that’s in her message that she puts out and that’s what’s coming back so I think before long here in a couple of months she’ll have a real story that will inspire so many people, you have to address this challenge at one point or another.”
Newton-John told People in 2019 about how her husband had helped her on her cancer journey. “My husband hands me all these herbs every morning and makes me a green algae drink,” she said. “He grows the plants and makes them into liquid for me. I take drops maybe four to five times a day.” She continued at the time, “I’ve been working my whole life. Now, I’m getting up in the morning, feeding my cat and my dog and my husband, usually in that order. Just enjoying being a housewife.”
Matt Lattanzi (1984 – 1995)
Olivia Newton-John’s first husband was Matt Lattanzi. The two were married from 1984 to 1995 and share one child: daughter Chloe Rose Lattanzi. After the news of Newton-John’s death, Lattanzi and his current wife, Michelle Lattanzi, took to their Facebook with a joint statement on the news. “Today we lost one of the world’s greats Olivia Newton-John. Matt and I are so overwhelmed with the love and gratitude shared with us by friends, family and a deeply loving community of fans who will all miss Olivia’s presence in this world,” Michelle wrote. “I have heard truly lovely stories and memories from people near and far, and honor in each of you where those feelings and memories come from.”
The statement continued, “Nothing will replace the icon we lost, yet her legacy is alive and well in our hearts and memories, as well as her contributions to our global culture, her beloved daughter Chloe Lattanzi, and her cancer research and wellness center in Melbourne, AU. Please honor your sadness, and then celebrate the joy that Olivia’s heart and lifetime achievements endowed in our world. Sending all kinds of love XOXO ❤.”
Newton-John and Lattanzi, an actor and dancer, met on the set of the 1980 movie Xanadu. They dated for four years before marrying in 1984. They welcomed their daughter, Chloe, in 1986. They divorced in 1995 after 11 years of marriage. Two years after his divorce from Newton-John, Lattanzi married their daughter’s former babysitter, Cindy Jessup, who is 11 years younger than him, in 1997. The two remained married until their divorce in 2007. A source told The Daily Mail at the time of Lattanzi and Jessup’s 1997 wedding that the two didn’t start their romantic relationship until after Lattanzi’s divorce from Newton-John. “It looks bad, because Cindy would often babysit his daughter and she was a friend of his and Olivia’s – but in those days there was no romance,” the insider said.
Along with Xanadu, Lattanzi also starred in movies and shows like Rich and Famous, My Tutor, That’s Life, Roxanne, Blueberry Hill, Catch Me If You Can, Diving In and Paradise Beach. He also played Brad in 1982’s Grease 2, which Newton-John wasn’t a part of. He also appeared in Newton-John’s 1982 special, Olivia Newton-John: Let’s Get Physical, and her 1986 music video for Olivia: Soul Kiss. After Lattanzi retired from acting in 1993, he took a job as a contractor for a home construction company in California.
In an interview with Women’s Weekly in 2019, Chloe opened up about how her parents’ divorce affected her. “My parents split up when I was about nine. It was tough. I don’t remember how I felt, but I remember one of my teachers taking me to the zoo and then taking me home,” she said. “I think they were checking to see where I lived. I was a latchkey kid because Mum had to go to work,” she said. “It was unusual for a teacher to spend the afternoon with you, so she must have been concerned in some way, but I was fine. I was always a pretty happy kid, though I missed my dad and I could tell my mum was unhappy.” She continued, “We went from living in the university to a little apartment, and I would see my dad after school a couple of afternoons a week. That was hard. I remember sitting outside waiting for him. Then he left Melbourne and took a job in Newcastle, and I would go and visit him just twice a year.”
In an interview on the “A Life of Greatness” podcast in February 2021, Newton-John, who had several miscarriages before her daughter, revealed that she came “close to losing” Chloe before her birth. “I went to bed and asked God to save her, and if he did, I would say the Lord’s Prayer every night for the rest of my life,” she said at the time. “And so I have.” Newton-John called the prayer “very powerful.” She was also asked on the podcast if she had ever “contemplated [her own] death” over the years. “I have quite a few times that it was a possibility sooner than I wanted it,” she said, referencing her 30-year battle with breast cancer. “We all know we are going to die. I think we spend our lives denying it. It’s extremely personal.” She continued, “It’s almost like we are parts of the same computer and we go back to the main battery. I don’t have a definite definition of what it is. I think there is a great knowingness out there we become part of it.”
Newton-John also told Women’s Weekly about what it meant to have Chloe after years of fertility struggles. “I’m sure I have re-enacted some of the things my mother did because you can’t help it – that’s in your DNA. It’s monkey see, monkey do,” she said. She continued, “When people ask me what is the most important thing that’s happened in my life, I say it was having her. Nothing compares to having a child. She is a young woman now, but those maternal feelings never change. So it’s been just an amazing gift. I wasn’t able to have any more, so she is ‘the lucky egg’, as her dad calls her.”
The mother and daughter also opened up about Chloe’s teenage years were difficult for them but they came out stronger and closer. “I think the teenage years are difficult for everyone, and I think moms are afraid for their children,” Chloe said. Newton-John added, “Like Chloe and I, my teenage years were difficult for my mum – really difficult – but, when I look back, I can see that she was wise and firm and she did the right things.”
How did Olivia Newton-John die?
How did Olivia Newton-John die? Newton-John died at her ranch in Santa Ynez, California, on the morning of August 8, 2022. She was 73 years old. She was surrounded by friends and family, and passed away peacefully. Her husband, John Easterling, confirmed her death in an Instagram post on the day of her death. “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.” the post read. “Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation.”
The post continued, “Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall. – via John Easterling, husband, Olivia Newton-John.”
Newton-John’s niece, Tottie Goldsmith, told A Current Affair at the time that her aunt’s death wasn’t a “shock.” “It’s not a shock — we’ve known how sick she’s been, especially in the last five days,” she said. “It wasn’t just the cancer that got her; it was other complications, being in a hospital and with a very susceptible immune system. She got secondary infections. She really went down in the past five, six days.” Though Newton-John used medical cannabis to deal with the pain of her stage 4 breast cancer, Goldsmith told the news program that the drug didn’t help much toward the end of her life. “It wasn’t enough,” she said. “[She] really struggled with a lot of pain.” Goldsmith also recalled the last conversation she had with Newton-John before she died. “I told her all the things I needed to say,” she said. “She was leaving us, but I feel like she got it…She was really skinny and unwell and I said to her, ‘Are you afraid of dying?’ and she said, ‘I’m not afraid. I’ve done more in my life that I could have ever imagined.’”
Newton-John’s Grease co-star, Didi Conn, also told Good Morning America at the time that her late cast mate “wasn’t walking anymore and that she had full-time care” before her death. “Her husband, John, and her daughter, Chloe, were there all the time and she told me that they were just so hopelessly devoted,” she said.
Newton-John has one child, a daughter named Chloe Rose Lattanzi. She shares Chloe with ex-husband, Matt Lattanzi, whom she was married to from 1984 to 1995. Newton-John married her second husband, John Easterling, in 2008. They were married until her death in 2022. After Newton-John’s death, her Grease co-star, John Travolta, took to his Instagram with a tribute to his late cast mate. Travolta played Danny Zuko to Newton-John’s Sandy Olsson in 1978’s Grease. “My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John,” Travolta captioned a throwback photo of Newton-John.
Newton-John’s cause of death hasn’t been confirmed, but a source told TMZ at the time of her death that she died of metastatic breast cancer. “After a 30-year cancer journey, she lost her battle to metastatic breast cancer,” the insider said. Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in August 1992 when she was 43 years old. “I draw strength from the millions of women who have faced this challenge successfully,” she said in a statement at the time. “This has been detected early because I’ve had regular examinations, so I encourage other women to do the same.”
Newton-John’s announcement came less than a day after she underwent a partial mastectomy of her right breast at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. “She’s doing just fine,” her representative, Sylvi Brown, said at the time.Newton-John declined to talk to reporters as she entered the hospital. “I’m just too upset to say anything,” she said at the time, according to People. “I just want to get well.”
In May 2017, when she was 68 years old, Newton-John announced that her breast cancer had spread after doctors discovered that the cancer had metastasized to the sacrum, a bone at the base of her spine. Newton-John’s announcement came after she postponed the first half of her concert tour at the time due to severe back pain from what she believed was sciatica. Medical tests later discovered that the pain was due to her cancer. Olivia Newton-John is reluctantly postponing her June U.S. and Canadian concert tour dates. The back pain that initially caused her to postpone the first half of her concert tour, has turned out to be breast cancer that has metastasized to the sacrum,” read a statement on Newton-John’s Facebook at the time. “In addition to natural wellness therapies, Olivia will complete a short course of photon radiation therapy and is confident she will be back later in the year, better than ever, to celebrate her shows.”
In her own statement, Newton-John explained that she decided on the treatment for her cancer based on the advice from her medical team at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. She founded the center in 2008.
“I decided on my direction of therapies after consultation with my doctors and natural therapists and the medical team at my Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia,” she said. A source also told People at the time that Newton john hoped to return to her tour later that year. “She plans to be touring in August. They’re all very positive,” the insider said.
Newton John’s first breast cancer diagnosis came after the death of her father, Brinley Newton-John, in 1992. The return of her cancer in 2013 came after the death of her older sister, Rona. Newton-John learned of her cancer’s returned after she was involved in a car accident.
In an interview with The Guardian in 2020, Newton-John revealed that she had to learn how to walk again in 2018 after her cancer had spread so much that she had fractured the base of her spine. “I was so weak. I had a walker, a cane and crutches, but now I’m walking around,” she said. She told the publication that one way she kept her spirits up was by singing a song she created about her health. “I’m healthy, I’m strong,” she said. “I think it’s very important to keep that positive message in your head. You know, if you have a difficult moment, music is always a great healer.”
Newton-John also told the publication that she wasn’t surprised when her breast cancer returned in 2013. “It’s been a part of my life for so long. I felt something was wrong. It’s concerning when it comes back, but I thought: ‘I’ll get through it again,’” she said. Along with surgery, chemotherapy and radio therapy, Newton-John also credited medical cannabis—a drug she was introduced to by her husband, John, who grew the plant at their Southern California ranch as part of his business. Newton-John’s daughter Chloe also owned a marijuana farm in Oregon. “I was nervous of it in the beginning. But I could see the benefits once I started using it. It helps with anxiety, it helps with sleep, it helps with pain,” she said. Newton-John also denied that she was recommending medical cannabis as an alternative therapy for all cancer patients. “I’m not telling anyone to do anything,” she said. “I just want to do the research and find out which things work.”
Newton-John also told The Guardian about what she’s learned form her cancer diagnosis, as well as other experiences she’s had, such as her multiple miscarriages before she had her daughter, Chloe, and her ex-boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, who went missing in 2005 and was never found. “I’ve been through a lot of different experiences, some painful, some difficult,” she said. “As you get older, you grow some wisdom. You realise that you will get through this and you will survive it. Like the pandemic – these things happen, but life goes on. We will all learn and grow a lot from this. I think there’ll be positive things that come out of it.”
She continued, “I don’t think of myself as sick with cancer. I choose not to see it as a fight either because I don’t like war. I don’t like fighting wherever it is – whether it’s outside or an actual war inside my body. I choose not to see it that way. I want to get my body healthy and back in balance. Part of that is your mental attitude to it. If you think: ‘Poor me,’ or ‘I’m sick,’ then you’re going to be sick.”
Newton-John also explained to The Guardian about why she doesn’t view her cancer, which led her to open the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, as a “death sentence.” “I don’t know what I would be without it now,” she said. “I see it as my life’s journey. It gave me purpose and intention and taught me a lot about compassion. It has been a gift. I don’t wish it on anyone else. But for me, it’s been important in my life.” She also told the publication about why she’s no longer afraid of death. “Listen, I think every day is a blessing. You never know when your time is over; we all have a finite amount of time on this planet, and we just need to be grateful for that,” she said.
For more about Olivia Newton-John, read her memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’. The 2019 New York Times bestseller takes readers through Newton-John’s life in her own words, from how she was cast in career-making movies like Grease and Xanadu to how she became one of the world’s bestselling recording artists of all time, with more than 100 million albums sold and four Grammys under her belt. The book also provides an intimate look at Newton-John’s life, including her cancer diagnosis in 1992 and how her strength, courage and grace led her to open the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, and dedicate her life to cancer research. “Warm, candid, and moving, Don’t Stop Believin’ is Olivia Newton-John’s story in her own words for the very first time,” the publisher’s description reads.
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