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October 19, 2021

Olivia Newton-John First Fiancé Was Found Slowly Dying from Pills Days after Their Break-Up

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Olivia Newton-John is happily married to her second husband now, but her love life hasn't always been like this. Her first relationship with the musician Bruce Welch nearly ended up in suicide. 

The "Grease" costar had a tumultuous relationship with the musician Bruce Welch years before her breakthrough in the musical film. The pair were together for five years and even became engaged.

However, Newton-John was beginning her career as a singer and actress, and their relationship felt the strain. When the actress broke up with him, he attempted suicide. 

Olivia Newton-John attends The Build Series Presents Olivia Newton-John, on October 3, 2016 in New York City. On the right: Olivian Newton-John with former boyfriend Patrick McDermott, below her first boyfriend Bruce Welch | Source: Getty Images

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OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN BUMPY RELATIONSHIPS

The talented British singer and actress Olivia Newton-John emigrated to Australia with her family when she was a child. At 16, she won a talent show called "Sing, Sing, Sing."

The prize for the winner was a trip to England. Newton-John went back to her homeland and got a great offer — a deal to her debut, "Till You Say You'll Be Mine."

At this time, she met the guitarist of the rock band The Shadows, English Bruce Welch, and they began a relationship. The couple got engaged in 1968, and she was 17.

Australian actress Olivia Newton-John with her musical accompanist Bruce Welch of the Shadows., circa 1975. | Source: Getty Images

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Newton-John was focused on her career as a singer, and with a fixture in the British music scene, she landed another deal, this time for a full album titled "If Not For You." The title track, a Bob Dylan cover, became a massive success in 1971 and reached both UK and US charts. 

As her career was taking off, Welch was already a big star in Britain. In the 1970s, The Shadows had already scored five number one hits in the UK.

Olivia Newton-John with Bruce Welch of The Shadows, at their home in Hadley Common, Hertforshire, June 1970. | Source: Getty Images

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Newton-John Amid broke off her engagement with Welch in 1972 amid rumors that she was seeing someone else, and as she decided to move to LA to pursue a career as an actress. The guitarist grew devastated and attempted suicide. Luckily, he survived. He told an interviewer in 2004:

“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 found me on Tuesday... I had taken the pills on Sunday.”

WHEN SANDY WAS BORN

Newton-John knew that Hollywood was the place to be if she wanted to go after the acting path. When she moved to LA, she met the wealthy shoe importer, Lee Kramer, who later became her manager and boyfriend.

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Olivia Newton John and Lee Kramer sighting in London circa 1979. | Source: Getty Images

When the opportunity to star in "Grease" with sitcom actor John Travolta showed up, the actress admitted she almost refused the role. 

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She said that her career as a singer was rocketing, and she didn't want to bother with a "movie that wasn't good." That's what she thought. However, she knew that she was the one to play Sandy and Travolta agreed:

“‘There was only one person on this planet who could be Sandy and I was hell-bent on getting her in the movie.”

Olivia Newton-John and American actor John Travolta as they appear in the Paramount film 'Grease', 1978. | Source: Getty Images

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"Grease" was released in 1978, and it instantly became a box office hit — it remained the highest-grossing musical for 30 years. 

The musical film changed her life. Newton-John collected many accolades in both careers, including three Grammys, seven platinum albums, and eight gold singles. 

But her relationship with her manager and lover Lee Kramer started to fall apart. After six years together, they part ways due to "personal differences," as she told People in 1982. 

English born Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, 23rd August 1972. | Source: Getty Images

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FIRST MARRIAGE AND CHILD

In 1979, the actress and singer met the actor Matt Lattanzi while filming "Xanadu." Lattanzi was 11 years her junior, and they kept their relationship secret for nearly a year. The 30-year-old actress was afraid of people's reaction to Lattanzi's age. 

The actor's youth, however, brought a sense of mystery and freshness to her life. She shared with People how her personal life improved with her younger partner. 

Her diet, lifestyle, fitness routine, and health changed as the outdoorsy Lattanzi made her more aware of those things. The couple tied the knot in December 1984, and two years later, they welcomed their first daughter, Chloe. 

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Olivia Newton-John and Matt Lattanzi attend the ABC Television Fall Season Kick-Off Party on September 19, 1984 at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

LIFE EVENTS TURNED THINGS AROUND

In 1992, Newton-John had two unanticipated life events that would turn things around for her. The first was the early demise of her beloved father and her diagnosis of breast cancer at 44. 

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The "Grease" star opened The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Victoria, Australia, during her fight and recovery. Three years later, she and Lattanzi decided to divorce.

By 2004, when Chloe was 18, Newton-John faced further personal challenges with her teen daughter. Chloe was battling anorexia and was admitted for treatment. She got better, but things worsened when Chloe, in her twenties, resorted to drugs. 

Chloe Lattanzi and Olivia Newton John attends the Olivia Newton-John Wellness Walk and Research Run on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. | Source: Getty Images

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Chloe has recently spoken up about her challenges throughout her youth and blamed her mother's celebrity status for her issues. She admitted suffering from body dysmorphia which led to a series of plastic surgeries. 

ANOTHER CHANCE

Olivia Newton-John has battled cancer three times. The "Grease" star has been holding on with the help of her daughter and second husband, John Easterling, founder of the Amazon Herb Company.

Easterling and Newton-John met in 1993 but only got romantically involved in 2007. In 2008 they tied the knot twice. The first ceremony was secret in the mountains of Peru, and a few weeks later, they made the union legal in Malibu. 

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Olivia Newton-John and husband John Easterling at the Steve Irwin Gala Dinner on May 21, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Last year, in an interview with The Guardian, she kept her positivity high and said that "cancer has been a gift to her," but that's something she doesn't wish for anyone. 

At 72, the British-born star lives on a ranch near Santa Barbara in California with John Easterling. The couple seems to be more in love than ever, and Easterling has been by her side since the pair hit it off.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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