A final sendoff. Olivia Newton-John was honored with a state memorial service in her native Australia on Sunday, February 26, with tributes from her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, and her husband, John Easterling.
"I stand here before you so desperately, wanting to feel strong and confident and speak eloquently, but the truth is I feel like a little girl lost without her mother," the "Play With Me" singer, 37, told the audience, standing with her husband, James Driskill, by her side. "She was my safe space, my guide, my biggest fan and the earth beneath my feet."
The Los Angeles native continued: "I know she's here, standing beside me and within me. I can hear her voice, [saying], 'You're safe, my darling. Don't be afraid. You're so much stronger than you think. Speak from your heart. That's all you have to do.'"
Lattanzi added that her mother "could find the beauty in everything," and she loved watching Newton-John appreciate nature. "My favorite thing to do was watch her watching the birds and the flowers, smelling her roses and the joy it brought to her face was a thing of beauty," the Rock the Cradle alum said. "I loved making her tea and then making it five times again until I got it right."
In his own speech, Easterling, 70, said that he and his late wife often discussed how "lucky" they were to have found one another. "I mean, [it was] an order of magnitude we thought maybe we should feel guilty [about], because we were so happy," he said, noting that he wasn't a fan of her music before they met. During one of her live performances in Miami, he finally understood her appeal.
"People around me were crying, and I got it," he recalled. "It hit me like a laser beam in the chest, that Olivia was a healer. And this is one of her mediums of healing."
The Grease actress died at age 73 in August 2022 after a battle with breast cancer. The "Physical" artist was initially diagnosed in 1992, undergoing a partial mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Her illness returned in 2013 and for a third time in 2017.
Two weeks after Newton-John's death, her daughter shared an emotional quote about coping with grief after a loss. “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot,” read the Jamie Anderson quote that Lattanzi posted via Instagram in August 2022. “All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
The Grammy winner shared Chloe with ex-husband Matt Lattanzi, whom she married in 1984 after they met on the set of Xanadu. The pair divorced in 1995 after a decade of marriage.
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Newton-John and Easterling wed in June 2008. "Olivia, our love for each other transcends our understanding," he wrote in an Instagram tribute to his late wife shortly after her death. "Every day we expressed our gratitude for this love that could be so deep, so real, so natural. We never had to 'work' on it. We were in awe of this great mystery and accepted the experience of our love as past, present and forever."