Leeza Gibbons shares emotional final words that friend Olivia Newton-John texted her just before her death: ‘I’m such a lucky person’
Leeza Gibbons, the longtime correspondent and co-host of Entertainment Tonight, is among the many loved ones mourning the loss of Olivia Newton-John, who died on Monday at the age of 73.
And as Gibbons still grapples with the loss of the Grease star, whom she considered among her best and dearest friends for more than 30 years, she is now sharing the very last communication she had with her just before her passing.
‘Her last text to me was, “I’m grateful for all the love in my life. I’m such a lucky person,”‘ Gibbons revealed during an interview with People.
Last words from dear friend: Leeza Gibbons, 65, shared the very last communication she had with her deal friend Olivia Newton-John, who died on Monday at the age of 73 after being diagnosed with breast cancer three times
Gibbons, 65, went on to share how even in the face of cancer, Newton-John never lost her ‘grace and goodness’.
‘No artifice, no affectation, just an authentic, beautiful and unending source of generosity and love. There will never be another like her — a true angel on Earth.’ she said of her friend, before sharing how the Physical singer had the ability to change lives.
‘Not just an iconic artist, but a humanitarian and game-changing voice for empowering women to show up for themselves. Like with so many others, she changed my life and encouraged me to reach higher and be better.’
Gibbons also revealed that she and her husband, Steven Fenton, got to spend one last weekend with Newton-John and husband, John Easterling, at their ranch.
Dear friends: The former Entertainment Tonight co-host confessed she grew up admiring Newton-John, and eventually they became fast friends after meeting for an interview for ET in the late 1980s; the friends are seen during an interview
And while she confessed her friend’s physical reactions ‘may have been slightly slower’, the television personality maintained that her spirit and loving optimism still shined through.
‘That radiant smile and generous heart was on full display,’ she said of their weekend together.
‘Olivia is whip-smart and always engages others in conversations about them, rarely talking about herself. She would quickly deflect any discussion of herself or her illness. It just seemed like she had beaten the odds for so long that she could somehow be immortal.’
Born in Cambridge, England and raised in Melbourne, Australia from the time she was six years-old, Newton-John would go on to score five number one hits and another ten top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, en route to four Grammy Award wins; she’s pictured in 1969
Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1992. And in the wake of her recovery, she became an advocate for breast cancer research and other health issues.
More than 25 years had gone by when she made the shocking announcement that she had again been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was during this time that she revealed she had a previous recurrence of the disease in 2013, but had decided to keep the news private.
The If You Love Me, Let Me Know singer revealed that her third diagnosis in 2017 had metastasized, spread to her bones, and progressed to Stage IV.
Newton-John ultimately died at her beloved ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley of California on Monday, August 8.
Iconic: The singer and actress scored her biggest hit in film with the musical romantic comedy Grease (1978), alongside co-star John Travolta
It turns out, like many people around the world, Gibbons grew up admiring Newton- John, in the wake of her many successes which began with the release of her debut solo album, If Not for You, in 1971. The title track, written by Bob Dylan, was her first international hit.
Born in Cambridge, England and raised in Melbourne, Australia from the time she was six years-old, she would go on to score five number one hits and another ten top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, en route to four Grammy Award wins.
And then there was her successes in film and television, which was highlighted by her role as Sandy, alongside John Travolta’s Danny, in the hit musical romantic comedy Grease in 1978.
It was during an interview for Entertainment Tonight in the late 1980s that Gibbons got to meet Newton-John, and the two became fast friends.
Over the years, they would support each other during some of the most important moments in their lives. In one instance in 2008, the I Honestly Love You star invited Gibbons to join her on a trip to walk the Great Wall Of China to help raise money for a cancer and wellness center in Melbourne.
Seven years later, Gibbons would be on hand for the official opening of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre.
Supportive: Gibbons shared how she and Newton-John would support each other during some of the most important moments in their lives, including when the singer and actress invited Gibbons to join her on a trip to walk the Great Wall Of China to help raise money for a cancer and wellness center in Melbourne; the friends are pictured at the Great Wall Of China in 2008
Love of her life: Gibbons revealed Newton-John got ‘everything she wanted’ in life, including ‘her happily-ever-after with her husband John Easterling, whom she married in 2008
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, one day after Newton-John’s death, Gibbons wrote how her friend ‘got everything she wanted’ in life.
The South Carolina native first rolled off some of her many accomplishments, including being ‘a beloved star’ to millions of fans with her movies and music and an ‘original entrepreneur and influencer’ with her store Koala Blue and spa retreat Gaia. And then she followed up by disclosing what really mattered the most to her.
‘And in the end, she got her happily-ever-after with her husband John Easterling; her close relationship with the light of her life, her daughter Chloe; her lasting legacy in cancer prevention and wellness through plant medicine and her final days at the beautiful, secluded ranch she loved grounded in grace and gratitude,’ Gibbons wrote in the post.
‘Olivia never gave up, she never lost hope, and she felt the love of those who adored her,’ the 2015 Celebrity Apprentice winner continued.
‘She told me once, when I was heartbroken, to “keep my heart open and be gentle with myself.” I’m using her advice now. Thank you , Olivia, for blessing us with your huge talent and your small acts of caring.’
‘Olivia never gave up, she never lost hope, and she felt the love of those who adored her,’ Gibbons said of her friend in an Instagram post one day after her passing
Friendly advice: Gibbons said she’s taking Newton-John’s advice to ‘keep my heart open and be gentle with myself’ when heartbroken, as a way to cope with the death of her friend. ‘Thank you , Olivia, for blessing us with your huge talent and your small acts of caring’