Jane Lynch may have a new leading lady in her life, but there’s another woman who’s always been close to her heart: Olivia Newton John. In fact, the Glee actress admires Newton John so much that she named her dog, a 10-year-old lhasa apso, Olivia in her honor! Now that Newton John is set to appear in an upcoming episode of Glee, Lynch finally had a chance to get physical with her childhood idol. But did she have the guts to spill the truth about how she named her pup?
“I didn’t want to freak her out too much,” Lynch told PEOPLE at the Glee mid-season premiere party in Hollywood this week. “I told her, ‘Olivia is one of my favorite names and I named my dog Olivia,’ ” says Lynch. “She said, ‘Oh, that’s cute!’ ”
But as for the whole story? “I couldn’t do it. At the end of the day, I was going home, and she said, ‘You’re leaving one Olivia for another!’ “
Lynch – who is also the proud owner of Georgie, a Wheaten terrier, and tabby cats Greta and Riley – may not have fessed up to the full extent of her admiration, but she did get a chance to tell Newton John how much the singer’s music means to her.
“ ‘I Honestly Love You’ was a song that broke my heart during my tortured childhood,” says Lynch. “She’s so awesome. She can take that kind of [compliment]; it doesn’t make her uncomfortable.”
In the episode of Glee set to air later this season, Newton John will play herself and will share a saucy dance number to her big hit Physical with Lynch’s snarky Sue Sylvester.
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