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 to be broadcast on "CBS Sunday Morning" September 29.
Newton-John, 71, is battling breast cancer for the third time. She learned in 2013 that it had spread to her back. As she told King, marijuana helps ease some of the excruciating pain, which 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 living it," Newton-John said.
Known for her work in the film "Grease," and for such hit songs as "Have You Ever Been Mellow" and "Let's Get Physical," Newton-John said that she's never felt angry about the recurring illness.
"No, 'Why me' has never been a part of it," she said. "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, 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 talked 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 two years ago when she learned she had stage 4 cancer. Newton-John said she does not dwell on details of the prognosis. "In my opinion, if they give you a percentage – you know, 'This many women get this and they live this long,' you can create that and make it happen," Newton-John said. "I think I know what the statistics are. 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 told 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.
"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," she said.
READ AN EXCERPT:
For more info:
- "Don't Stop Believin': A Memoir" by Olivia Newton-John (Simon & Schuster), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon
The Emmy Award-winning "Sunday Morning" is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. ET, and is rebroadcast on Pop TV at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. "Sunday Morning" also streams on CBSN beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET and repeated at 1 p.m. ET, and is available on cbs.com, CBS All Access and On Demand.