Olivia Newton-John's Complicated Love Life Fully Explained

While some might know her as Sandy from "Grease," and others as Kira from "Xanadu," Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) was, amongst other things, America's adopted sweetheart. But while men the world over imagined how they might reply to Sandy's iconic line "... Tell me about it, Stud," love turned out to be an elusive thing for the Australian beauty.

Born to Cambridge professor Brinley Newton-John and wife Irene, on September 26, 1948 in Cambridge U.K., Olivia Newton-John was the youngest of three children. In 1954, the Newton-Johns moved to Melbourne, Australia where Brinley Newton-John worked at the University of Melbourne, teaching German (per Vogue). Olivia showed an early talent for singing, and she went on to form the all-girl singing group, Sol Four (per Only Olivia), which propelled her to her first real break: taking home the title from a popular local talent show known as "Sing Sing Sing" in April 1964 (via Daily Mail).

Sadly, Olivia Newton-John died on August 8, 2022 from cancer. Here are the partners and husbands she shared her life with.

A star on the rise

Winning an early talent show earned Olivia Newton-John a contract for a regular appearance on Australia television's Channel 7 "Time for Terry" (per Daily Mail). Everything after that continued to come up "Olivia," with the singer-actor continuing to earn accolades for her vocal talents. Then, in 1966, Newton-John made the move from Australia to the bigger and brighter lights of London, England (per Only Olivia). 

Newton-John's first single released in the U.K., "Till You Say You'll Be Mine," bombed handily, leaving the singer dejected and homesick for her then-love, Ian Turpie. An actor who appeared alongside Newton-John in 1965's "Funny Things Happen Down Under," Turpie and ONJ had an off-set romance that spilled into real life. So smitten with Turpie was Olivia, she attempted to get a return ticket home from London to Melbourne, without the consent of her mother, who was living with her in London.

Trouble begins

Olivia Newton-John would later admit that Ian Turpie was indeed the first love of her life, going so far as being by his bedside as he died of cancer in 2012 (via Now to Love). Turpie and Newton-John's relationship wasn't a very long one, however. As her star continued to rise in London, a then-17-year-old Olivia Newton-John caught the eye of Shadows guitarist Bruce Welch in 1968. A whirlwind romance ensued, with the pair getting engaged shortly thereafter. And while the relationship would last five years, the couple never actually made it down the aisle (per New Idea) with ONJ breaking it off in 1972.

According to Marie Claire, though, the breakup wasn't a clean one. Welch attempted suicide just days later. "I told everyone that I was going away for the weekend and not to bother calling me, but I forgot about the window cleaner," he said in an interview in 2004. "[He] found me on the Tuesday ... I had taken the pills on the Sunday." Welch would go on to recover, but not before Newton-John would be totally out of his life.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Chemistry with John Travolta -- but no romance

Meanwhile, Olivia Newton-John's career continued its upward trajectory, with the singer releasing her fourth studio album in 1974. And it was around this time that Newton-John began a relationship with Lee Kramer, a shoe importer turned manager (per Marie Claire). After a chance meeting between the two while vacationing in France in 1973, the pair began dating almost immediately. In a 1978 interview with Rolling Stone, Kramer described their meeting this way: "We met, and that was that. I hustled my way back on the same airplane as hers at any cost."

Kramer and ONJ were together through Olivia Newton-John's image transformation from wholesome to sexed up, when the actor signed on to play Sandy Olsson in 1978's "Grease." Initially anxious about accepting the role of Sandy, due to her music career gaining her more and more popularity, Newton-John rolled the dice and dove into the part. And while the on-screen chemistry between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John is palpable, she cleared up rumors of a supposed romance, saying, "We had a bit of a crush on one another, but I was with someone else [Kramer] and John was going through a difficult time in his personal life. In truth, nothing was going on."

An odd couple

Fueled by the overwhelming response to Sandy's transformation at the end of "Grease," Olivia Newton-John took a gamble on her next album, "Physical." Backed up by a music video featuring the singer working out with overly shiny bodybuilders (and some rather average Joes), Newton-John felt like she could do anything, saying of the time: "Suddenly, if I wanted to be outrageous, I could" (via Marie Claire). Her relationship with Kramer, however, wouldn't survive the filming of 1980's "Xanadu." During the filming of the roller skating epic, ONJ fell in love with 19-year-old backup dancer Matt Lattanzi (via HITC).

The then-30-year-old Newton-John fell head over heels for the extra, with the pair getting hitched in 1984. Chloe, Olivia's only child, was born to the couple just two years later in 1986. And while the marriage lasted about a decade, it seems as though the pair was a regular odd couple, according to a 1995 People article. He liked outdoorsy activities with his guy friends, while she preferred quieter pursuits like meditation. And while their relationship started out grand, it wouldn't survive long into the '90s with trauma after trauma causing undo strain on the marriage. ONJ's niece, Tottie Goldsmith, said that he was supportive of her throughout her cancer diagnosis, but it wasn't long before their differences became too much. "The people she chooses to mix with now are very spiritual," Goldsmith said. "She needs to find her equal." 

Devastating setbacks for the Aussie singer

In July of 1992, Olivia Newton-John was dealt a devastating one-two punch. According to Marie Claire, the singer's father passed away which was unfortunately quickly followed up by an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis for her. Newton-John quickly underwent a partial mastectomy along with breast reconstruction. During her recovery, the singer founded The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Victoria, Australia, using the experience she was undergoing to help others.

Her marriage to Matt Lattanzi wouldn't be able to stand the strain of her recovery, however. In something straight out of a soap opera, Lattanzi fell in love with the couple's 23-year-old babysitter, Cindy Jessup, in 1994 (per Daily Mail). Newton-John later confronted Lattanzi about the situation. Admitting to the whole fiasco, Lattanzi moved in with Jessup, with Newton-John quickly ending the marriage. Lattanzi would go on to marry the sitter two years later.

Olivia Newton-John's ex lost at sea?

And while that bit of soap opera drama would be enough for anyone, no one could prepare Olivia Newton-John for what would happen next. Shortly after the divorce from Lattanzi, the singer began a relationship with cameraman Patrick McDermott. The pair dated on and off for the better part of a decade, until on June 30, 2005, McDermott ... disappeared (per Daily Mail).

While on a promotional tour of Australia that year, ONJ got word that McDermott had disappeared during a fishing trip. According to the Daily Mail, McDermott, while on a boating excursion with 22 other people, just up and vanished. It wasn't until nearly a week later that anyone realized he was gone, when McDermott failed to show up to a family function. A search of the boat turned up McDermott's passport, wallet, and car keys, but nothing else. His car was found at a San Pedro marine in Los Angeles, were he had parked it before leaving for the trip.

Where in the world is Patrick McDermott?

As to what actually happened to Patrick McDermott, that is still up in the air.  According to the New York Post, a year-long Coast Guard investigation proved no wrongdoing. In fact, they "did not find any evidence of criminal action, suicide, accident, or hoax in the disappearance of McDermott." Another, separate investigation at the time concluded that the cameraman was lost at sea.

Not everyone believes the company line, however. With debts mounting upwards of $31,000 and child support arrears in the range of $8,000, conspiracy theorists maintain that McDermott is not only alive, but living out his days in a little fishing village in Mexico. Leaving Olivia Newton-John in a state of bewilderment over the situation until her dying day.  And while it would've been easy, even justifiable, for ONJ to throw in the ol' towel, love would once again find its way to America's sweetheart.

Olivia Newton-John found love again

In 2007, Olivia Newton-John began dating John Easterling, a businessman dealing in natural health, and currently CEO of Amazon Herb Company (via The U.S. Sun). The pair initially met each other back in the early '90s (per People). It wouldn't be until a decade and half later that the two would make it official, however. According to Us Weekly, Newton-John and Easterling became an item when he, after spending the night at her place, got into a car accident, injuring his spine. Refusing medical care at the hospital, Easterling simply returned to ONJ's place and never left.

The pair married in 2008 and had been together ever since, with Easterling by the singer's side through her decades dealing with breast cancer. Just three days before her death, ONJ posted a final picture of the two of them on Instagram (via Page Six), a beautiful epilogue to a life spent searching for love.