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Dolly Parton and Keith Urban Remember Olivia Newton-John at Memorial Service


A memorial service for Olivia Newton-John took place on Sunday, Feb. 26, in her home country of Australia, and two of country music's biggest stars shared messages in remembrance of the famous singer/actress. Dolly Parton and Keith Urban addressed the attendees and reflected on memories of Newton-John in a video that included other celebrities.

Parton, whose friendship with Newton-John goes back decades, expressed the pride Australians should feel as Newton-John was "one of their own." She also shared a brief message about her experience with the late star.

"She's one of your own, and as a country, you should be very proud and know that the whole world mourns with you," Parton said (quote via Taste of Country). "I had the honor of singing with her several times and I considered her a great friend, as well as a fellow entertainer. And Olivia, to quote one of your songs, 'I Honestly Love You.' Thank you for shining your light on us."

One of Parton and Newton-John's collaborations was a duet version of Parton's "Jolene," which was released this month. An accompanying music video -- which would become Newton-John's last -- was also released.


Urban, who was born in New Zealand but grew up in Australia, also shared his memories about Newton-John, reflecting on the first time he met her at a songwriting retreat in the '90s.

"The first thing that struck me about her was, she was exactly as I imagined she'd be as a person," he said. "No pretenses, no facade, just the real deal. Warm, friendly, kind, interested. Just a light, a real light."

Urban also explained that Newton-John had a role in one of the most important nights of his life. She introduced him to the stage at the 2005 G'Day Australia Gala, which is where Urban met his now-wife, Nicole Kidman.

"And there she was, part of our very, very beginning," he adds. "So for that and many more reasons, she's always gonna play a very, very special role in our life."


The singer continued, commenting on the "legacy" Newton-John left on the world.

"But the really really extraordinary thing about Olivia is the legacy she's left, not only in music, not only in film, but her humanitarian legacy is extraordinary," he shared. "And that's the kind of thing that will go on for generations and help millions and millions of people."

Kidman was also present at the event and spoke about her admiration for Newton-John while she as growing up in Australia.

"I grew up with her, listening to her. I would perform her songs at school," she said. "I remember when I first saw Grease, I was like, 'I wanna be Olivia Newton-John!' So to be able to pay tribute to her tonight is incredibly important to us."


The memorial service also featured tributes by Mariah Carey, Elton John, Pink, Hugh Jackman and more. Newton-John's husband John Easterling and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi were also reportedly in attendance. The memorial was held at Hamer Hall in Arts Centre in Melbourne, and it will be available to stream through March 5. Newton-John passed away on August 8, 2022 at the age of 73.

READ MORE: How Olivia Newton-John Changed Country Music