John Travolta Says He’s ‘Very Proud’ of Grease Costar Olivia Newton-John as She Faces Cancer
Former Grease stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John have remained close friends since starring together in the iconic 1974 movie musical
On Thursday, the 65-year-old actor was at the red carpet premiere for his new film The Fanatic when he was asked about Newton-John, who has spent the past few years facing cancer.
“She looks incredible,” Travolta told Entertainment Tonight at the event, held at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre. “She doesn’t look any different than [she did] years ago, and I’m very proud of her.”
Travolta and Newton-John, 70, remained close friends since starring as a young couple in the beloved 1974 film adaptation of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s 1971 musical of the same name.
They later shared the screen in the 1983 romance, Two of a Kind, and have reunited many times in the past — including, most recently, last August for Grease‘s 40th-anniversary screening, where they hugged and posed together on the red carpet.
That same summer, in PEOPLE’s Grease! 40th-anniversary special edition issue, Travolta and Newton-John discussed their enduring friendship.
“When you share that kind of meteoric success—and nothing has been able to exceed it—you share a bond,” said Travolta, adding that he still texts with Newton-John. “I’ve been through her having a child, getting divorced, losing her sister. She’s been through my getting married, having children. It’s wonderful and full of shared memories.”
“We did something life-changing, making that film,” Newton-John remarked. “[At the premiere] you got the feeling from the energy that something was happening. It was a huge response. I feel grateful to be a part of that and to have worked with him. We’ve stayed friends ever since.”
Newton-John is treating stage 4 breast cancer, her third time facing the disease. She was first diagnosed in 1992 and also secretly overcame it again in 2013. But in May 2017, she was told the cancer had metastasized and spread to her bones.
Earlier this month, she sat down with 60 Minutes Australia where she opened up about how cancer has taught her to live every moment to the fullest.
“I’m so lucky that I’ve been through this three times and I’m still here,” Newton-John said. “I’m living with it. It’s just reinforced my gratitude.”
“We know we’re gonna die at some point and we don’t know when it is,” the actress continued. “When you’re given a cancer diagnosis or a scary honest diagnosis, you’re suddenly given a possibility of a time limit. The truth is, you could get hit by a truck tomorrow. So every day is a gift, particularly now.”
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Though the cancer is now more aggressive than ever, Newton-John said she still believes she can “win.”
“I’m getting strong again, so I’m good,” she said on 60 Minutes Australia. “I’m back to full force again.”
Part of keeping a positive outlook means ignoring estimates about her life expectancy from doctors.
“I don’t read statistics,” Newton-John said. “If you believe the statistics, you’re going to make it happen. If somebody tells you, you have six months to live, very possibly you will because you believe that. So for me, psychologically, it’s better not to have any idea of what they expect or what the last person that has what you have lived, so I don’t — I don’t tune in. It’s just better for me. ”
To that end, cancer, Newton-John said, is not a fight.
‘It’s something I’m living with,” the singer said on 60 Minutes Australia. “I see it as something in my body I’m getting rid of. I don’t talk about a battle or a war, because I think that sets up that kind of feeling in your body like you’re battling something strange inside you. I let it go and tell it to leave and talk to my body to heal itself and don’t try to make it that. Because that takes up your whole life and your whole being.”
“I kind of have a way of dissociating and compartmentalizing it,” she added. “Otherwise, you become a victim, which I don’t want to be and am not. Or you become a slave to it, and talk about it all the time, which I try not to do either.”