Larry King 2006 Transcript
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE and welcome to this program to the delightful, beautiful and talented Olivia Newton-John. The four-time Grammy winner, star of "Grease," the top money making movie musical of all time. She's a cancer survivor, an advocate for breast cancer awareness, her new album is called "Grace and Gratitude." There you see its cover. It's available exclusively at Walgreen's. I know we have to ask some of these and we'll get through them. Does this album, is it a kind of therapy over the disappearance of your boyfriend?
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: It was a healing for me, definitely. I wanted to -- music is healing for the spirit and healing for the soul. It definitely is for me. So -- yes Patrick inspired a lot of the music in here, but in a good way, in a positive way. Out of my love and for him and I'm moving forward in a positive way with the CD along with my breast self exam kit and the supplements at Walgreen's and we're partnering to help some wonderful charities with the money that we're raising from it.
KING: And we'll get to the album in a little while. And by the way, Olivia will sing a song from it at the end of this program. Is loss difficult when there's no closure? We don't know. Is he dead, is he alive? Isn't that harder?
NEWTON-JOHN: It's very hard to live with that.
KING: But missing in action.
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes. I've never experienced anything like it. But I think it's probably the hardest thing I've ever experienced and I've been through a lot of things. I've been through a divorce, I've been through breast cancer. But this was the hardest thing, because it's ongoing, there's no answers and you'd have to live with that. So it's amazing how we as humans find strength. I know there are lots of other people out there suffering and going through a lot of things just as difficult. But you do find strength through it and I'm lucky I have my music.
KING: Do you guess about it? Do you sit up and think, he's here, he's there, what happened? Did you blew out of that?
NEWTON-JOHN: I've gone through many scenarios but I just have to find an inner peace and whatever is, is and I hope one day I'll have the answers.
KING: Do the police keep you informed?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, they do.
KING: This happened where?
NEWTON-JOHN: This happened in California, in San Pedro area.
KING: On a fishing trip?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, he went on a fishing trip, yes.
KING: Weren't there reports somewhere that he turned up or was that totally misleading?
NEWTON-JOHN: There have been reports and of course, I always pray that they're true but on the other hand I also believe that he would never leave his son deliberately. So we don't know what happened. I hope one day we have some answers because it would be wonderful.
KING: I feel contact in this because I have a 7 1/2-year-old boy named Chance.
KING: And I love that name. Patrick's son is named Chance, right?
KING: Do you see Chance at all?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, I've become very close to his ex-wife Yvette who is a wonderful person and we've become good friends and I see his son and he's thriving, he's doing well.
KING: Don't want to dwell on it anymore. One other thing, there were reports that he had a tough time financially and that he either might have gone away just to escape that or harmed himself.
NEWTON-JOHN: Again, I don't know, Larry. But he was a very proud man and a very private man. I would like to honor that with him and I don't know. I really don't know the answers to those things. But I don't believe he would leave his son. I really don't.
KING: You were very much in love, right?
KING: And do you ever get -- does the phone ever ring where you run to it and you think this could be it or is that past now?
NEWTON-JOHN: I went through that in the beginning. You know, in the early part of it. And now your heart leaps too many times so I'm kind of centered now. And if it happens, I'll be thrilled but I'm not thinking that way anymore.
KING: And you hired our good friend Gaven Debecker to help, right?
NEWTON-JOHN: I did, he was wonderful.
KING: He's a good guy, old friend of mine. Is he still running down leads?
NEWTON-JOHN: No, Gaven's there if I need him. But you know there haven't really been any.
KING: Let's all hope.
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes. I hope that -- we have some peace out of it for everybody's sake.
KING: When did you discover you had breast cancer?
NEWTON-JOHN: That was 1992. And --
KING: How did they tell you?
NEWTON-JOHN: I got a phone call. Actually it was on holidays. It was July 4th weekend and I was in -- away on vacation.
KING: Were you married then?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, I was married then. My husband told me -- husband at the time, we're still good mates, Matt and I, that the doctor wanted to see me. So I kind of had a feeling something was up.
KING: Had he done a biopsy?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, he'd done a biopsy. And I had had a mammogram and I don't say this to scare people. But I had a mammogram that was negative and I had a needle biopsy that was negative. But the doctor had a feeling there was something up so he did a proper biopsy and found the cancer.
KING: And he was right.
NEWTON-JOHN: He was right.
KING: And what did he do?
NEWTON-JOHN: I had a radical modified mastectomy and I had chemotherapy for about eight months.
KING: Was that tough emotionally when a so strong, a physical part of the woman's body is the breast?
NEWTON-JOHN: You know, I was just grateful that I was going to be ok. I mean, I -- that's just a part of me that's not who I am. And I try to tell women that, you know, that it's just -- that's a piece of us but that's not who we are. So luckily I wasn't that attached and I was also very fortunate that they did some reconstruction right away. So I didn't have to wait for a long time so it was -- you know I lost some pieces but it's ok, I'm here. That's all that counts.
KING: And no chance of recurrence after this long time, it's fine?
NEWTON-JOHN: It's 14 years. In my mind it's gone. You know, I don't -- people talk about remission but, nah, it's gone, I'm fine. Now I want to help other women because it was early detection that helped me and I want to encourage women to self examine on a regular basis. That's why I was so thrilled when I was approached with this self exam kit which carries my name, I'm very proud to say.
KING: And I want to take a break and come back and discuss it. It's the Olivia breast self-exam kit. As we go to break, much happier time in Olivia's life. One of the great moments in movie history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
tell me about it, stud.
NEWTON-JOHN: I love the end of the movie, especially, because it was so much fun.
JOHN TRAVOLTA: I like the end, too.
NEWTON-JOHN: The end when he switched for me and I switched for him and it's like this total reversal, we're both trying to be what the other one wants.
TRAVOLTA: I think that last number is truly American.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I watched "Grease" 100 times. Did you hear from John Travolta through the years when you had breast cancer, when Patrick went missing, have you heard from him?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, he's a good friend and he's there. I don't see him very often but when I do it's great, it's like no time's gone by.
KING: He's doing "Hair Spray", he's playing a woman?
NEWTON-JOHN: I heard that. It's fantastic. He's so funny. He's the funniest guy. So I'm looking forward to seeing him.
KING: All right tell me about this Olivia breast self-exam kit which you get at Walgreen's, right?
NEWTON-JOHN: You get at Walgreen's.
KING: How does it work?
NEWTON-JOHN: Do you want to take it out the box I can show you.
KING: Go ahead.
NEWTON-JOHN: It's two layers of thin plastic with some oil inside. It's a special kind of oil that makes -- it's like a magnifying glass for your fingers. So when you put it on your breast and you go in circles it makes anything feel bigger than it is. So you can detect lumps --
KING: So it'll spot something.
NEWTON-JOHN: Now every woman is different. So her breasts are different, too. A woman needs to get in touch with what is normal for her and then what isn't. She'll notice more quickly, especially with this kit. It's just a great reminder. It's pretty. It's pink. It's easy to use. And you use it once a month. It has a little kit that you carry it in and a little box and a little -- here, carry it in this cute little bag so you can take it with you wherever you go as a constant reminder to do self exams.
KING: What do you do if you find a lump?
NEWTON-JOHN: Well you should get it checked out. This is not to replace your mammograms or your exams by your practitioner. This is an early indicator and reminder to do it.
KING: And what's the breast health dietary supplement?
NEWTON-JOHN: This is a wonderful thing because this is a new phase in breast health. And you know women have taken a multi-vitamin for our overall health but this is for breast health.
KING: Specifically for breast.
NEWTON-JOHN: Specifically for breast health. They've discovered through clinical trials that vitamin D, folic acid, the (INAUDIBLE) mushroom and green tea, those four key ingredients are very beneficial to breast tissue. So we've created this supplement and I take it. It's great.
KING: And you usually buy it in tandem?
NEWTON-JOHN: You can buy all these three things are in it --
KING: The album --
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes. This is the heart of the whole thing, is my music, but these things are to help women.
KING: Do you take special care of yourself in view of that?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, but I always did. I was always healthy and I exercised and I ate well. So, you know, there's no -- it can strike anybody.
KING: Did you ever go through a why me period?
NEWTON-JOHN: No, I didn't -- I didn't actually. I wrote an album so I don't say why me. But talking of why me, there's a wonderful organization that I'm giving 10 percent and Walgreen's, we are partnering to give them 10 percent to a group called why me. They're a group who's mission statement is that no woman should go through breast cancer alone. And they have a 24-hour hotline. They have people that speak -- they not all speak 130 languages but between them there are 130 languages spoken and every person is a survivor that picks up the phone. So any time, night or day, there's a woman out there who's just discovered she has breast cancer and feels alone she can call the why me hotline. It's on the box, it is 800-221-2141. There will be somebody there to help you. So I think it's fantastic. So I'm giving some money to them and also to the City of Hope, there are a wonderful organization.
KING: Some more moments with Olivia Newton-John. We'll touch on some other bases on some things Australian, if we might. And then we're going to hear her sing a song from the album.
Right now though, let's check in with John Roberts in Washington. He will host "AC 360" as I believe Anderson heads home from Africa. John, what's up tonight?
ROBERTS: Hey Larry, thanks very much. And please pass along to Olivia that "Grease" is my son's girlfriend's favorite movie, she knows every word.
NEWTON-JOHN: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Tonight on "360," a dire warning about Iraq from a top senator who supports the war. We'll tell you why he's sounding the alarm now and we'll take you on the ground to show you what U.S. troops are really experiencing there. Plus, more of the fallout from the Mark Foley scandal and the so-called velvet mafia allegedly operating on Capitol Hill. Are gay Republican staffers actually going out of their way to cover up the sexual preferences of certain lawmakers, we'll investigate that. Plus a "360" special "The Killing Fields", a personal look at the crisis in Africa. Stories that you'll never forget. All that coming up ahead on "360." Larry?
KING: That's with John Roberts hosting "AC 360" at the top of the hour. 10:00 eastern, 7:00 pacific and we'll be right back with more. I love this word, queries.
KING: Let's touch some other bases. Did you know the late Steve Irwin?
NEWTON-JOHN: Unfortunately I didn't. But what a loss. What an amazing man. He did so much for the environment, he had such passion and he created such passion in other people for the environment.
KING: Great guy. Mel Gibson, any thoughts? Your fellow Australian?
NEWTON-JOHN: I think he's a really good person who just had a few problems. But I think he's a good man. He's a great actor, great director.
KING: You know him well?
NEWTON-JOHN: Not very well but I know him. Yes, he's a nice man.
KING: Did that get a lot of publicity in Australia do you know?
NEWTON-JOHN: Well, I was here. May I extend an invitation from Australia for you to come visit us, because you're saying before you've never been. You've got to come down.
KING: I can't believe I've never been. Never heard a bad thing. The people are wonderful.
NEWTON-JOHN: You would love it, come and do a special down there. That would be great.
KING: Tell them. I'll do it.
KING: When you help the "American Idol" team how difficult was it to tell an aspiring singer whether she was bad or not?
NEWTON-JOHN: I found it really difficult because I know that the moment they step up there all their dreams are in that moment when they step in front of everybody. And I found it very hard to not give them something positive. Sometimes you had to say, you know, you shouldn't be doing this. But most of the time you want to give them something positive.
KING: Are there thoughts of bringing you back?
NEWTON-JOHN: I don't know. It would be fun. I enjoyed it.
KING: Some of the press is saying that they might bring you back.
NEWTON-JOHN: Well, I had a good time. Yeah. I enjoyed it. KING: Do you do Vegas anymore? Do you do concerts?
NEWTON-JOHN: I do. I'm actually on a big tour, starting next week all around the country and I'm going to Vegas for three days. And I go there quite a lot. So yeah I do quite a lot of road stuff. I'm going out to promote the new album and I'm excited.
KING: This album is unusual in that it's continuous, right?
NEWTON-JOHN: Yeah, this whole album is one piece of music and it's healing and it's peaceful, it's meditative. And we've incorporated chants from Betten Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism. We have a song attributed to St. Francis (INAUDIBLE), we have some Islam, we have Hebrew. I believe that we're all looking for something, we all see God from a different way, there's a billion ways to find God but I think we're all poles on a chain, we're all attached somehow.
KING: What led you to all of that?
NEWTON-JOHN: Just from my searching and these songs are about an inner search, my relationship with myself, my relationship with others, my relationship with my spirituality and the more I explore it the more I realize how we're all really looking for the same thing, which is love and compassion and we could find it through music maybe. That would be a good way to heal and find peace.
KING: Do you still love singing?
NEWTON-JOHN: I do. I really do. I really found that it's been a wonderful solace for me and I really feel so lucky that I get to do what I really love because I thought to myself if I could do anything else, what would I do? And I realized there's nothing else I'd really rather do than what I do. So how lucky am I.
KING: Were you always a good dancer?
NEWTON-JOHN: No, I wasn't. I had two left feet when I was younger.
NEWTON-JOHN: Yeah, Pat Carol used to have a double left and I was pretty hopeless when I was younger. I couldn't dance. But through time and through people helping me I got to be able to move quite well. It was more about confidence I think.
KING: Was it easy to dance with John?
KING: You would think someone that good might make it harder?
NEWTON-JOHN: No, no, he was great. He made it really easy, he's a natural. He wasn't really trained either. He's just a natural dancer. He's just got a natural gift. I don't think he's really trained as much as he's just like a Fred Astare, he's just a natural dancer.
KING: Boy, was he.
KING: He is something though.
NEWTON-JOHN: Yeah, he's fantastic.
KING: Didn't that make it a little imposing on you to --
NEWTON-JOHN: No, because when we made "Grease" John wasn't -- he was just on his way to becoming a huge star that he was. Because "Saturday Night Fever" was just coming out and so I wasn't yet intimidated. Maybe later.
KING: They came out back to back.
NEWTON-JOHN Yes, pretty close.
KING: Thanks, Olivia.
NEWTON-JOHN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: We have a special treat for you, the show ain't over yet. Because when we come back, Olivia Newton-John will sing a song from her new album which you can get at any Walgreen's. We'll be right back.
KING: To close things out from the album, Olivia, here is Olivia Newton-John and "Love is Letting Go of Fear."