Olivia Newton-John may be battling cancer for a third time, but the 71-year-old star is determined to beat the odds.
On Sunday’s episode of CBS This Morning, Newton-John took co-host Gayle King on a tour of her California ranch, where she showed off everything from her pair of miniature horses ("Harry and Winston — they're my little jewels!") to her collection of marijuana plants.
“Here are the little babies,” said Newton-John, as she showed King her smaller marijuana plants growing in cups.
That marijuana is part of what’s helped Newton-John through her health issues. Though she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, on the same day as her father’s death, the cancer spread to her back in 2013. While it later went into remission, the cancer returned again two years ago. Physicians told Newton-John that it was Stage 4, and she says the pain can be horrific.
"Crying kind of pain,” Newton-John explained. “Tears pain."
Still, Newton-John said she never felt victimised by her diagnosis.
“I don’t discuss prognosis, because if they give you a percentage or ‘this many women get this and live this long,’ you can create that and make it happen. I know what the statistics are, but I put them away. I’m going to live longer than that,” she told King. “I’ve made that decision.”
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While she “tries not to” think about death — “I could die tomorrow, a tree could fall on me,” she noted — Newton-John said she prefers to meditate and be peaceful knowing the people she loves are surrounding her.
“It’s a decision, how you choose to feel about something. So I’ve chosen that path,” she told King. “I’m happy. I’m lucky. I’m grateful. I have much to live for, and I intend to keep doing it.”
Now retired from performing, Newton-John enjoys a quiet life on her ranch with her husband John Easterling, whom she married in 2008. An advocate of the healing power of plants, Easterling keeps a flourishing grow house filled with cannabis for his wife.
She has since created the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, and will be auctioning off some of her most famous outfits and costumes, including several from films like Xanadu and Grease. That includes the iconic leather pants she sported as Sandy in the beloved 1978 film, which Newton-John was willing to put on one last time with a little coaxing from King.
“Only you could get me to do this,” she told King.