Mariah Carey mourned the loss of fellow singer and “Grease” actor Olivia Newton-John, who died Monday at 73 after a long battle with breast cancer, in a series of heartfelt tweets Tuesday. Carey was not only inspired by Newton-John, but once even shared the stage with her.
“I first fell in love with Olivia’s voice when I was a little girl and heard ‘I Honestly Love You,’” tweeted Carey. “Songs like ‘Magic,’ ‘Suddenly’ and ‘Have You Never Been Mellow’ showcased her beautiful airy tone and signature sound. And THEN there was GREASE. I was obsessed.”
Newton-John had indeed established herself as a massive musical talent long before breaking through as an actor. Her song “I Love You, I Honestly Love You” won Record of the Year at the 1974 Grammy Awards, which influenced Carey just as much as Newton-John’s role in “Grease.”
“I dressed up as Bad Sandy for Halloween in 5th grade and thought I was everything,” Carey continued. “Years later, THE Olivia Newton-John walked out onto my stage in Melbourne, Australia and we sang our hearts out together to ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You.’ This is a moment I will never ever forget.”
Carey was in the midst of her “Butterfly” tour in 1998 when Newton-John walked onstage in Melbourne to join her in a rendition of the song on Feb. 16, according to Smooth Radio. They also briefly sang the chorus together after unexpectedly running into each other in Las Vegas in 2015.
“I was also so blessed to be in her presence on many other occasions and she was one of the kindest, most generous and lovely people I’ve ever met,” Carey tweeted. “She will be missed. She will be remembered. She will be loved. Olivia, I honestly love you.”
After Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, she founded the Olivia Newton-John Foundation to fund research.
“I see it as my life’s journey. It gave me purpose and intention and taught me a lot about compassion,” she told The Guardian in 2020, adding: “It has been a gift. I don’t wish it on anyone else. But for me, it’s been important in my life.”