‘TODAY Show’ Host Hoda Kotb Recalls Unforgettable Interview With Late Olivia Newton-John

by Suzanne Halliburton

So many celebrities have cherished memories of Olivia Newton-John. TODAY show co-host Hoda Kotb shared an anecdote Monday of the time she interviewed the international superstar. And the two bonded over both being breast cancer survivors.

Kotb’s memory also had to do with Newton-John’s grace and curiosity. She posted on her Instagram page:

“I am heartbroken. Olivia Newton-John touched so many people… including me. She radiated hope and love… I’ll never forget my interview with her….– but she kept asking questions about me. As I steered the conversation back to her… she turned it back again. That never happens. She was always all about shining the light on someone else. Now that light is all yours Olivia. Rest In Peace.”

Last October, Kotb interviewed Olivia Newton-John about the song “Physical.” Why? The Grammy-award-winning song was hitting 40 years old. So Kotb and Newton-John talked about the vintage 1980s hit as it broke into middle age. But Kotb also chatted with the singer/actor about other things. That’s when Kotb mentioned that like Newton-John, she survived breast cancer and now was thriving.

Newton-John didn’t know about Kotb’s cancer battle. So she immediately turned into a cancer advocate.

“I’m really sorry you went through that,” Olivia Newton-John told the TODAY Show co-host. “I didn’t know that about you. So you’re well now, you’re doing good?”

Hoda got emotional. “Yes, I’m doing good. By the way, I’m just going to pause for a second. Another wonderful thing about you is what you just did there. Thank you. Thank you for asking.”

Newton-John then told her: “Oh, of course. We’re sisters. Anyone that has gone on this journey with cancer, it’s unknown destinations and surprises and turns.”

Here’s the interview Kotb did with Olivia Newton-John.

At the time, Newton-John was living with stage four breast cancer. Doctors first diagnosed her in 1992 when she was only 42. The disease returned in 2011, then in 2017. She used every sort of treatment for the cancer including chemotherapy and radiation. She also used medical cannabis. By the second recurrence, the singer said it was important to treat a cancer patient in a “kinder” way. That’s why she founded a research and wellness center in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.

Kotb asked how she was faring in her cancer battle.

“Right now I’m feeling pretty good,” Olivia Newton-John said. “I have my days, I have my pains. But the cannabis that my husband grows for me has been such a huge part of my healing, and so I’m a really lucky person.”

Newton-John’s husband is John Easterling. He announced his wife’s death Monday afternoon. Newton-John’s daughter, Chloe, also survived her. She bravely fought the battle for decades. But she impacted so many people, including the likes of TODAY Show co-host Hoda Kotb.