Tracy Grimshaw was forced to abruptly end an interview with Olivia Newton-John’s niece after admitting she’d pushed her grieving relative ‘too much’.
The iconic Grease star died peacefully at the age of 73 at her home in southern California on Monday, surrounded by her family and friends.
Tottie Goldsmith, 59, revealed her aunt Olivia’s health had deteriorated in the days leading up to her death after decades of fighting breast cancer and was ‘really skinny and unwell’ in the days before her passing.
The former Neighbours actress broke down when asked what Olivia was ‘most proud of’ after more than eight minutes of intense grilling from Grimshaw.
‘Hang in there, are you OK,’ Grimshaw said after Goldsmith burst into tears.
Goldsmith replied that Newton-John was proud of her 36-year-old daughter Chloe Lattanzi.
‘She loved her girl so much, and her husband, and all of us. And the hospital, the work she did, but Chloe, she loved her girl so much.
‘Chloe is doing it really tough, but she is amazing. I’ve been in touch with her a lot, and she is incredible.’
Grimshaw replied: ‘I’m going to let you go because I think I probably pushed this too much with you.’
Emotional: Olivia Newton-John’s niece Tottie Goldsmith broke down in tears during an interview for Australia’s A Current Affair on Tuesday, as she revealed the singer was ‘really skinny and unwell’ before her death aged 73
Tracy Grimshaw was forced to abruptly end the interview after Tottie burst into tears, saying: ‘I’m going to let you go because I think I probably push this too much with you’
However, the A Current Affair host threw in one last question, asking if the family would accept Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’ offer for a state funeral.
‘We will on behalf of the family, but I think Australia needs it, she’s so loved. I think our country needs it, so we are going to accept it, but I won’t cry at that. I’m so sorry, it’s just happened today’ Tottie said as she broke down again.
‘Darling, you can cry. I won’t let you cry anymore, but it’s good to see you, and it’s a terrible day,’ Grimshaw finished the segment.
Earlier in the interview, Tottie revealed Olivia’s final days when the legendary singer’s health had taken a turn for the worse.
‘It’s not a shock, we’ve known how sick she’s been, especially in the last five days,’ she told host Tracy Grimshaw of her passing.
Tottie then went on to reveal her heart-wrenching final moments with Olivia, continuing: ‘I couldn’t get to America in time and I wanted to say goodbye, so I asked [her husband John] if he could hold the phone up to her ear… But he got me on FaceTime so I managed to see her.’
‘I told her all the things I needed to say,’ Tottie continued. ‘She was leaving us… but I feel like she got it.’
Happier times: The singer (pictured with the actress in January 2020) said the actress’ health had deteriorated in the days leading up to her death after decades fighting breast cancer and was ‘really skinny and unwell’ in the days before her passing
Heartbroken: Fighting back tears, Tottie said the star’s passing ‘wasn’t a shock’ because she had been sick ‘especially in the past five days’ after her passing was announced on Monday following a decades-long battle with cancer
Tottie went on to reflect on Olivia’s decades-long battle with cancer.
‘There was one day at the Olivia Newtown John Centre and she was really skinny and unwell and I said to her, “Are you afraid of dying”, and she said, “Plonker, I’m not afraid. I’ve done more in my life that I could have ever imagined.”‘
‘She’s struggled with a lot of pain and it’s been a tough road,’ Tottie added.
‘It wasn’t just the cancer that got her. It was other complications and being in a hospital with a very susceptible immune system.’
Breaking down: Tottie then went on to reveal her heart-wrenching final moments with Olivia, which took place over Facetime as she was unable to fly to the US in time to be at her bedside
‘I couldn’t get to America in time and I wanted to say goodbye, so I asked [her husband John] if he could hold the phone up to her ear…’ Tottie continued. ‘But he got me on FaceTime so I managed to see her’
Tottie is best known for her turn in the pop group, Chantoozies, who had hits with their songs Witch Queen, He’s Gonna Step On You Again, Wanna Be Up, and Love the One You’re With in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Her father Brian Goldsmith, a renowned night club owner and restaurateur in Melbourne, died in 2020. Her mother is Olivia’s sister, Rona.
Tottie appeared with her aunt at G’day USA in LA in 2020 – where Olivia candidly spoke about beating her cancer.
‘Gosh, life is a gift and I’ve had an amazing life and I intend to keep going with it and I want to help other people with cancer of course,’ she told DailyMail.com in the January 2020 interview.
‘I have my wellness centre in Melbourne and I want to see an end to cancer in my lifetime so other people don’t have to suffer.’
Olivia was first diagnosed with the disease in 1992 but announced she had overcome the cancer in 2013, the year after her Wellness Center first opened, but in May 2017, she was told cancer had metastasized and spread to her bones.
Reflecting on her fight to beat the condition, she admitted: ‘I don’t see it as a battle. I don’t think about it a lot, to be honest.
‘Denial is a really good thing and I’m getting stronger and better all the time! I am doing well!…I am feeling wonderful.’
Farewell: Olivia Newton-John shared a final, throwback heartbreaking Instagram post with husband John Easterling on Friday just three days before she passed away from cancer aged 73 – as tributes poured in from Hollywood
She also admitted that she had hope for her future, adding: ‘I’m winning over and living with it well and that’s how I see it.’
Newton-John also reflected on her delight at still being remembered for Grease more than four decades after its release.
She confessed: ‘We did something very special together. That movie is still loved.’
She recalled how caring co-star John Travolta was during the filming of the musical romantic film.
Asked about her favourite memory on set, she relied: ‘His kindness to me. When there was one scene in the movie – it was my close up, when Rizzo pulls me forward in the bonfire scene – and in the middle of my take, he stopped it and came over to me and whispered in my ear: “I think you can do better.”
‘So that’s really generous. For an actor to do that for another actor. I wasn’t as experienced as him. He was very nurturing and sweet.’
During that same event, lifelong friend Travolta praised her positive outlook on life, despite her health worries.
He said: ‘Olivia is a survivor and she’s smart and she’s got a lot of life in her and I think she looks at it from the glass half full always and that’s her beautiful, natural approach towards life and I think we all need to do that.’
In memory: Newton-John’s Instagram was mostly made up of flashback posts from throughout her career, but on April 18 the star shared a rare candid photo of herself with a beaming smile beside a bed of sunflowers
Sad news: Olivia’s husband announced her death on her Facebook page on Monday. She was 73
Olivia’s death was announced by her husband John Easterling on Monday morning on her social media pages.