Actress, author and singer Olivia Newton-John opens up to CBS THIS MORNING Co-Host Gayle King about her ongoing battle with breast cancer, her plans to beat the odds for her diagnosis and finding a purpose in her illness, in an emotional interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING to be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 29 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.
Newton-John, 71, is battling breast cancer for a third time. She learned in 2013 that it had spread to her back. As she tells King, marijuana helps ease some of the excruciating pain she describes as, “crying kind of pain.”
“I’m happy. I’m lucky. I’m grateful. I have much to live for. And I intend to keep on livin’ it,” Newton-John tells King.
Newton-John, known for her work in the film “Grease” and for a number of hit songs including “Have You Ever Been Mellow” and “Let’s Get Physical,” says that she’s never felt angry about the recurring illness.
“No. ‘Why me,’ has never been a part of it,” Newton-John says. “But I never felt victimized. I never felt, ‘why not?’ Maybe deep down I knew there was a reason or a purpose for it, or maybe I needed to create one to make it okay for myself. Because it’s – again, it’s a decision, ‘how am I gonna deal with it?”
In a wide-ranging interview with Newton-John at her Los Angeles home, she talks with King about her life today, her career, her philanthropy and more. They also visit her clothing and memorabilia vault to try on the famed black leather outfit she wore in “Grease” alongside co-star John Travolta.
She also recalls the moment she learned she had stage 4 cancer two years ago. Newton-John says she does not dwell on details of the prognosis.
“In my opinion, if they give you a percentage, or you know, “this many women get this and they live this long,’ you can create that and make it happen,” Newton-John says. “It’s almost like – I think I know what the statistics are. And if, and, but I put them away. But I’m gonna live longer than that. I’ve made that decision. And I don’t buy into the statistics ‘cause I think they can make you really nervous.”
Yet, given those statistics, does she think about death?
“You have to think about it, I mean, it’s part of life,” Newton-John tells King. “And, of course, if you have a cancer diagnosis – your death is kind of there. Whereas most people, we don’t have a clue when we’re gonna die. And I could die tomorrow. A tree could fall on me. So, it’s just that we have that knowledge that we could die. But I’m not – I try not to think about it too much. But I try to meditate and be peaceful about it and know that everyone I love is there, so there’s something to look forward to.”
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.