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'I wanted to show mum." Olivia Newton-John’s cancer diagnosis inspired her daughter to go on DWTS.

Six months on from her mum’s announcement that she had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, Olivia Newton-John’s daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, is dancing on national TV.

In fact, she’s competing on this year’s season of Dancing with the Stars. The mother-daughter-duo appeared on The Project on Thursday night, after Sunday’s DWTS season premiere where Newton-John, 71, held back tears after she watched her daughter perform the foxtrot with her dance partner, Gustavo Viglio.

Speaking to the panel, Lattanzi, 34, said performing on the show was her “ultimate fear” and shared the steps she took to prepare herself.

“I have been in the business since I was young and I got a record deal at 18 and when it was all done and ready to go and, OK, let’s push you out, I was like, ‘oh my God, I don’t think I like this. Or I’m not ready – I’m 19, what?'” she told panellists Lisa Wilkinson, Peter Helliar, Waleed Aly and Em Rusciano.

“I had to pull myself out of it and find myself and be ready to actually take something like this on. You have to know who you really are and be comfortable in who you are to do this.

“And then finally, I’m at that place in my life where I’m like, I’m ready to get on TV and dance and not care what anyone thinks, and put my album out again and just do everything and anything creative. And my mum is well and healthy and that has made me feel so much stronger.”

When Lattanzi later spoke about her reasons for going on the show, she once again mentioned her mother’s health.

“I did it for loads of reasons but a big bit of it was to show my mum that I’m ready, that I’m healthy and she doesn’t have to worry about me.”

Newton-John also had some personal news to share. Tonight, she confirmed her health is better, after battling stage four breast cancer.

I believe your belief system is part of the healing, and all I can know is that my last MRI, which is an exam where they look inside, things are shrinking and going away, or staying the same, and I’m living well with it and feeling great.”

In August 2019, Lattanzi opened up about the painful reality of her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis on 60 minutes.

“It was a weird feeling,” the former Grease actress said of the rumours about her health. “I mean, to read that you’re dead, or that you’re dying, is a very strange experience… and then you think, maybe they know something I don’t.”

 

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Her daughter Chloe, has had her own well-documented struggles with addiction and a battle with anorexia. On 60 minutes, she shared her mum’s ill-health has “helped me heal my illness.”

“We say we all have our cancers. You know, mine is my battle with addiction,” Lattanzi told Hayes.

“I have to keep myself sober the rest of my life and that’s a fight and it takes work. And we all have our cancers… I’m not trying to make her struggle sound small, I’m trying to say, I think it makes it easier to deal with when you go, ‘Oh yeah, everyone has a cancer’.”

When asked how her mum’s health battle has changed her, Lattanzi replied: “I wanted to be bright and happy and available and around for my mum when she was struggling with this and I thought I was okay but I wasn’t, I was still struggling with severe depression and I faced it head on.”

Chloe Lattanzi Olivia Newton John
Olivia Newton-John with her husband John Easterling and daughter Chloe Lattanzi. Image: 60 minutes.
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Newton-John agreed that her daughter has changed as a person, telling Hayes of Chloe, "I've seen a huge change in growth in her, she's just the most beautiful being and has a huge heart and great compassion and understanding,"

As for how the pair deal with the health issues every day, Lattanzi's answer was simple: "We don't talk about it."

"We don't need to talk about it," she clarified. "If she's having a day where she needs to talk about it, I'm there to listen and to always reassure. I'll never bring it up unless she wants to."

Lattanzi said dealing with her mother's cancer in the public eye made it all the more difficult, admitting, she "didn't really like that everyone knew".

"It annoyed me," she added.

Lattanzi, who is also a singer and actress, said the constant attention from the public meant she felt a responsibility to protect her mother, as she didn't want her to be always reminded of her illness.

She continued: "I have days where I don't deal with it and I'm in denial and I don't think about it."

In late 2018, Olivia came into the Mamamia offices to discuss everything from why she never had a relationship with John Travolta after Grease to how she was dealing with being diagnosed with cancer for a third time. Post continues after audio. 

The singer-songwriter was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, just days after her father’s death. She received eight months of treatment and remained in remission for years.

She was diagnosed for a second time in 2013, when a new cancer spread to her shoulder, and then again in May 2017.

As for her personal strength, Newton-John said, "I don't think about myself and go, 'Oh, you're being strong', you just live your life and you do what you have to do to get through."

"And just when you're looking back, you go, 'Gosh, that was- that was pretty gnarly what I went through there'."

Feature image: The Project.

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