After the tragedy

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Loss and tragedy have tainted many of her relationships but Olivia Newton-John still believes in the power of love.

Olivia Newton-John dropped a bombshell on the world on August 22 last year. In a carefully worded statement, the multimillionaire singer revealed that her lover of nine years, Patrick McDermott, 48, had vanished nearly two months previously during an overnight fishing trip off the coast of Los Angeles. “I am hopeful that my treasured friend is safe and well, and I am grateful to the officials who are working so hard to find Patrick, whom I love very much,” Olivia said. “I ask anyone with information that could help to please, please come forward. For those of us who know and love him, it has been a truly heartbreaking experience.”

Olivia’s desperate appeal shocked her millions of fans, not just because it emerged that she had known of his disappearance for weeks and had said nothing, but because the case — soon shrouded in mystery and scandal — opened the tiniest of cracks in the sugar-coated armour with which Olivia has surrounded herself most of her life.

Was her beau the victim of a tragic accident or had he, as the papers were soon to speculate, faked his own death to escape a bitter ex-wife chasing child support?

“I love you,” Patrick McDermott had declared to Olivia on This is Your Life a year before. “The whole world loves you ... You are the epitome of the word woman.”

However, within days of Olivia’s statement, some newspapers claimed that the couple had split months before Patrick disappeared.

How, one wondered, could Australia’s sweetheart — a woman who has faced divorce, the death of her parents and breast cancer with the greatest courage and dignity — find herself entangled in such a sensational mess?

Find out in the April issue of The Australian Women's Weekly when we investigate the tragic love life of Australia's evergreen sweetheart and tell why she's always been unlucky in love.

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