Interview: Olivia Newton-John can't slow down

Olivia Newton-John will co-host the "Pink and Blue for Two" cancer awareness event Saturday at Rams Head Live.
(Michelle Day)

After selling more than 100 million albums, starring in one of America's most beloved films and finding time to be a wife, mother and author, Olivia Newton-John has earned a break.

But don't tell her that — she's as dedicated as ever, focusing on philanthropy and raising cancer awareness.

Newton-John, who's 62 but looks 40 and has been breast cancer-free since 1992, continues her fight against the disease Saturday as she co-hosts the "Pink and Blue for Two" cancer awareness event with former NFL star Terrell Owens at Rams Head Live.

Calling from her kitchen, Newton-John spoke about her focus on philanthropy, her "Glee" cameo and what she's most proud of in her career.

You've done extensive work for cancer and cancer awareness for decades now. What keeps you going on days you'd rather sleep in?

[Laughs] That's a good question. Really, [it's] gratitude that I'm able to wake up and face another day because it could have been another scenario. I feel very lucky and at this point in my life. It feels really good to give back. I'm opening the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Centre in Australia. We're encouraging couples to get exams. [Raising cancer awareness] is just part of my life now.

You and Terrell Owens are hosting this event. Some might think that's an odd pairing. How did you two hook up?

I haven't met him yet. My nephew, who put this event together, managed to get him to be one of the hosts. I think it's great because he's known and he's liked, and he reaches out to men. We want men to come. Prostate cancer is a touchy subject for men but its important to for them to check.

He's been known to not work well with others. Obviously this is for a great cause but did you have any concerns before you agreed?

[Laughs] I've never had a problem working with anyone. We're not playing football so we should be OK.

Very few entertainers have had a career as long and fruitful as yours. Besides the humanitarian work, what are you most proud of professionally?

Gosh, lots. There's pride and there's success. I'm so happy with "Grease" and "Xanadu," particularly because of the music in both films. The films still stand up. Professionally, when I did the Olympic games and sang for my country in Australia. It was a big moment, Sydney in 2000. It was just a brilliant moment in my life. I made an album of healing music called Grace and Gratitude that came from my soul.

When you're noticed on the street, what do fans say to you most often? Do they sing "Physical" or shout "Grease" or something else?

The most common is "Grease is my favorite movie!" And that they've seen it 100 times.

Your "Glee" cameo was a huge hit. How was it recreating "Physical"? And how was working with Jane Lynch?

Jane Lynch is a divine lady, very funny and very charming. Very nice in person. When I walked on the set and it was a total recreation — that was surreal.

You have a cookbook, "Liv Wise," that will be released in the States next year. If you had only one nutritional tip for women, what would it be?

Eat lots of greens and try to eat organically as much as you can. Eat a balance diet. There's a lot of tips but everything in moderation is a good one.

What's the main difference between married life now versus being married 25 years ago?

[Laughs] It's a different time in my life. My husband is an amazing person and we share a lot in common, like caring for the environment. My husband that I had my daughter with, that was whole different time but we created [25-year-old daughter and actress] Chloe and that's beautiful to me. They were very different times in my life.


If you go

Olivia Newton-John co-hosts "Pink and Blue for Two" at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place, with Terrell Owens and the Kelly Bell Band at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $45-$500. Call 410-244-1131 or go to ramsheadlive.com.