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Olivia Newton-John can now add a new hyphen to her career - cookbook author. The 63-year-old singer has just released a healthy cookbook with all proceeds going to a cancer-wellness centre in Melbourne, the city she grew up in and where she currently resides. Newton-John, who may always be remembered as Sandy in ‘Grease,’ spoke to FoxNews.com about those iconic pants and her prestigious family tree.
Fox411: How did this cookbook come about?
ONJ: I needed to raise money for the wellness centre (at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia) that I’m building. It seemed such a strange idea in the beginning and then I really got into it. I’ve cooked all my life, pretty simple cooking but healthy, so I thought I can throw this together and share my philosophy on eating and here we have it.
The wellness centre opens next month. It’s taken nearly ten years. It was my dream to have it as part of the hospital so when people are going through their cancer treatments they can get support from the wellness centre on the grounds of the hospital. There will be yoga classes, cooking classes, massage therapy, acupuncture, things that are going to help them through their cancer and their families.
Fox411: Are you still touring?
ONJ: I just finished a tour of Asia and Australia. I did three nights at the Sydney Opera House. I have my fundraising life for the hospital and my tour world and my recording world.
Fox411: Where are your ‘Grease’ pants?
ONJ: They’re in a closet. Oprah had them on the show because she asked me to bring them, that’s the only time they’ve been out. One day I’m going to sell them for my cancer and wellness centre, I’m going to auction them off.
Fox411: Ever look at them and think, ‘Oh my God I actually fit in those?’
ONJ: I only looked at them when they were on the show. It’s not like I look at them all the time!
Fox411: They were made from a very unforgiving material.
ONJ: A very tight material. They were made in the 50’s and we made the movie in the late 70’s so they were already 25 years old when I wore them and the zipper broke so they had to sew me into them.
Fox411: How did you use the bathroom?
ONJ: That was a challenge. We took breaks and they had to unsew me.
Fox411: ‘Grease’ is still so popular. Do you get new fans every year?
ONJ: Yes it really is incredible. It always amazing to me when I do concerts. There are kids with their grandparents who’ve just discovered the movie. There’s a new batch of fans every seven years or so.
Fox411: Was there ever a time that you felt the message was a bit problematic? Dress sexier and get the guy?
ONJ: When I was making the movie I didn’t necessarily think [that], I thought she was quite glamorous. I think today, it’s not anything because girls dress like that. In those days it was probably a lot more raunchy.
Fox411: You come from a very clever family. Your grandfather (Max Born) won the Nobel Prize.
ONJ: In quantum physics!
Fox411: And he was friends with Albert Einstein!
ONJ: My mother translated a book of letters between Albert Einstein and my grandfather. It’s mind-boggling stuff. I really think it’s taken me until now to let that sink in, that that is my heritage. It was so part of my life that it never really occurred to me, it’s crazy.
Fox411: Was your family disappointed that you became a singer?
ONJ: I think they hoped I would do something so-called “important” and go to university and get a degree and then my mother was really worried that I had no training. If I was going to be a singer or an actress then I need to go to R.A.D.A or do some sort of course and I fought her on everything. Poor mum, I gave her such a hard time but I’m very grateful to her that she always pushed me to be the best at what I could and work hard so I’ve got that in my genes. I just didn’t do any studying.
Fox411: Are you considered the village idiot of your family?
ONJ: It’s probably between me and my sister. She went into acting. She led the way, it’s all her fault.