The 'Grease' Gal Who Got Physical: Olivia Newton-John, Then And Now

By | February 7, 2019

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September 1976, Olivia Newton-John. Source: (ABC via Getty Images)

We'll always remember Olivia Newton-John for Grease, the 1978 musical film in which she played the wholesome Sandy (well, wholesome until the end) opposite John Travolta as Danny. But Grease is just part of her story. In the 1970s and '80s, there was a lot more to Olivia Newton John: "Physical" was a worldwide hit and landmark music video, and in the '70s she had a string of seven consecutive #1 hits on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.

Olivia Newton-John, then, as now, is a beautiful woman and acclaimed celebrity. But that moment around the turn of the '80s, between Grease and "Physical," clearly demonstrate the two sides of the Olivia Newton-John coin. The sweet, goody-two-shoes movie character is more frequently seen today (thanks to frequent airings of the film on TV). And what about the other side of the coin? Read on...

Olivia Newton-John Was A Massive Sex Symbol In The Late '70s And Early '80s

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A poster touting the success of Olivia Newton-John's 1981 album 'Physical,' with dates for the ensuing world tour. The photo, like the album art, was shot by Herb Ritts. Source: Pinterest.

Take a look at her suggestive, spandex-wearing performance in the "Physical" video, and album covers and posters from that era, and you'll see why Olivia Newton-John was also a sex symbol. The real Olivia Newton-John is somewhere in the middle. She is a talented, dedicated artist with a passion for advocacy and an entrepreneurial spirit, with a diverse and complex past and a challenging future. Here’s a glimpse into the life of Olivia Newton-John.