What Does Olivia Newton-John Think About the New Lifetime Movie About Her Life?

On February 16, Lifetime will air Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You. But the subject of the film won’t be tuning in to see her life dramatized on screen. The Australian singer and actress wasn’t exactly thrilled when she learned that filmmakers were giving her the biopic treatment.

Newton-John said she was “horrified” when she learned of the movie

Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John | Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Hopelessly Devoted to You is airing in the U.S. for the first time on Saturday, but it’s not a brand-new film. It was actually broadcast for the first time in Australia last May.

The movie, which stars Delta Goodrem as Newton-John, chronicles the singer’s “remarkable personal and professional journey.” It covers five decades of Newton-John’s life and explores both her public persona and her private struggles, including her battles with cancer. (The 70-year-old performer has been diagnosed with cancer three times in the past three decades.)

In an April 2018 interview with Australian Women’s Weekly, the Grease star expressed some serious reservations about the movie.

“I probably won’t watch it,” she said. “When they told me they were doing it, I was horrified, because despite the fact that I’m well known I’m kind of private and my private life, even though it gets into the papers, is not something I want to talk about.”

“I worry about the people in my life,” she added. “It’s not their fault they were married to me or were my boyfriend, so I didn’t want it to happen.”

Newton-John wasn’t involved in making the film

Given her reaction to the movie, it’s not exactly surprising to find out that the filmmakers apparently didn’t bother to get Newton-John’s input on the project.

“What’s upsetting is the way it’s been done,” Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi told Woman’s Day last year. “Not one part of it has come directly from our family, it is completely unauthorized. Nobody asked us to take part or consulted us about accuracy.”

“We didn’t want people to see some of the toughest periods we have endured as a family and view them simply as lighthearted TV,” Lattanzi added. “We are people with feelings like anyone else, and it’s weird that some of the heaviest and saddest times of our lives have been turned into a fictional TV miniseries for the sole purpose of entertainment.”

Newton-John reached a compromise with the filmmakers

While Newton-John didn’t embrace the idea of the film, she apparently reached some kind of compromise with producers before it aired in Australia.

“I realized it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not,” she said in the interview with Australian Women’s Weekly. “So I decided to make something positive out of the negative and I asked that any money that would come to me would go to my hospital so that I can do it and feel I care about it.”

Newton-John created the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne, which provides care and therapy to cancer patients and also conducts research into new cancer treatments.

Newton-John also praised Goodrem, the actress who portrays her in the film. “I think she’s a really good actress and a great singer,” she said. “So that made it okay, because we’re friends.”

Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You airs February 16 at 8/7c on Lifetime.

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