As Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Jolene’ duet with Dolly Parton drops, daughter shares last words

A blond woman sings into a microphone onstage
Olivia Newton-John, who died last August, performs in Chile in February 2017.
(Esteban Felix / Associated Press)

Olivia Newton-John had some sweet words shortly before her death, her daughter Chloe Lattanzi shared Friday on “Today.”

“The last words she could say to me was, ‘My sunshine,” Lattanzi said, sitting down to talk to Hoda Kotb with Newton-John’s widower, John Easterling, six months after the “Have You Never Been Mellow” singer’s death at age 73. “And right before she lost her ability to speak, she was making jokes.”

Newton-John, who famously starred as Sandy in the 1978 movie “Grease,” died last August after battling breast cancer off and on for 30 years.


‘Grease’ actor and acclaimed singer Olivia Newton-John died Monday at age 73 at home at her Southern California ranch surrounded by family and friends.

Aug. 8, 2022

Her loved ones were both visibly emotional talking about her death and her continuing presence in their lives, but Lattanzi said that the wave of love expressed for her late mother has been “a life raft” and “a big hug from the universe.”

“I’m very grateful for all of the people who reached out to us and extended their heart and their connection,” she said.

Easterling said he feels Newton-John everywhere, all the time, whether he’s waking up, going to sleep or throwing a ball with the dog. And he still speaks to her out loud.

From country to disco, Newton-John sounded persuasive in a variety of settings, her voice providing a sultry undercurrent to her songs’ gentle promises.

Aug. 9, 2022

The loss is still new for Lattanzi as well.

“I love my mom more than anything,” she said, choking up. “She’s my mama, you know? She’s not Olivia Newton-John to me, but I’m so glad that she was Olivia Newton-John for so many people.”

On Friday, a new recording dropped of the Aussie singer performing “Jolene” in a duet with longtime pal Dolly Parton several months before her death. Easterling, who Newton-John married in 2008, called it “a gorgeous duet.”

“I’m excited,” Newton-John says in the YouTube incarnation of the song. “I’ve always wanted to sing with Dolly.”


John Travolta, Oprah Winfrey, George Takei and Kylie Minogue are among the many paying tribute to Olivia Newton-John after the ‘Grease’ star died Monday.

Aug. 8, 2022