The Disappearance Of Olivia Newton-John's Ex Patrick McDermott Explained

Beloved entertainer Olivia Newton-John died on August 8 at 73 years old. Her husband, John Easterling, shared the saddening news, revealing that the actor died in her California home. "Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family's privacy during this very difficult time," Easterling wrote on Instagram. "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer."

Newton-John, rose to fame as a country singer and songwriter in the late 1970's, with hits like "I Honestly Love You" and "Have You Never Been Mellow." However, it was Newton-John's starring role alongside John Travolta in "Grease" that catapulted her into superstardom.

In addition to the public's interest in Newton-John's professional career, the singer's love life was a regular topic of tabloid fodder. In fact, the Grammy-winning singer even found herself in the middle of a tragic mystery surrounding the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend, Patrick McDermott.

Patrick McDermott was presumed dead after a boating accident

Olivia Newton-John found herself appealing to the public for help in 2005, when her then-boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, went missing. "I'm hopeful that my treasured friend is safe and well, and I'm grateful to the officials who are working so hard to find Patrick, whom I love very much," Newton-John said (via National Enquirer). "I ask anybody with information that could help to please, please come forward." Upon revealing the news, Newtown-John explained that McDermott had been missing for a total of two months following an overnight fishing trip.

Months after the accident, Newton-John opened up about the tragedy, as authorities worked to determine how McDermott fell off the boat. "It's really, really painful for me. And it is really, really personal," she told CBS News. "We miss him. We love him. We're still kind of praying that there's a chance he'll come back." The "Two of a Kind" actor went on to reveal that amid the saddening experience, she became very close with McDermott's ex-wife, Yvette Nipar. "Patrick's ex-wife gave me this shirt," Newton-John said. Adding, "It's hard for her, too."

However, speculation about McDermott's disappearance began to grow after reports of the cameraman's financial debt became public. According to CBS News, McDermott owed nearly $31,000 to creditors, and owed Nipar years of unpaid child support payments. The outlet also reports that McDermott filed for bankruptcy in 2000.

Patrick McDermott was allegedly spotted alive years later

Despite a gallant search, authorities were never able to determine what (if anything) caused Patrick McDermott's boating accident. However, 10 years after the incident, a bizarre report surfaced claiming that McDermott had faked his own death and was living in Mexico. Evidence gathered by Woman's Day magazine alleged that there was substantial proof that the cameraman had faked his own death (via Daily Mail). Per the outlet, none of the 22 other passengers on the overnight excursion witnessed McDermott's fall. Investigators also noted that McDermott secured a new passport using his given name, Patrick Kim – and withdrew all of the money from his bank accounts.

The theory that McDermott faked his own death was further supported by private investigator Philip Klein, who took on the case in March 2007. Klein told NBC News that he found very little evidence that McDermott died tragically. "I'll look you in the eyes and I'll say, it's 99.9 to .01. This guy's alive ... There's no doubt in my mind this guy's alive," Klein said. Klein also detailed his findings in a book titled, "Lost at Sea: The Hunt for Patrick McDermott."

Olivia Newton-John was troubled by the claims

Claims that Patrick McDermott faked his own death were reportedly troubling to Olivia Newton-John. "The whys and what-ifs of Patrick's disappearance have troubled Olivia for years," a source told Woman's Day in 2021 (via Now to Love). "She's never really had closure – or lost hope." The publication also reported that the actor was gearing up to write a book about the accident with the help of McDermott's ex-wife, Yvette Nipar. "Yvette and Olivia have become very close over the years," an insider added. "They're bonded by their grief and confusion over the whole thing."

Despite the pushback from McDermott's family, investigator Phillip Klein maintains that the former cameraman is alive and well. "There was no way that he could've fallen off," Klein told "Inside Edition" in 2015. Adding, "There was no way he could've jumped to his [death] ... They would've known immediately." To date, no one has been able to provide photographic proof that McDermott was living in Mexico, but Klein refuses to back down.