WITH her wholesome, clean-cut good looks, Olivia Newton-John was the one that we wanted in the 1970s.

And despite turning 61 a few days ago, the Grease star appears to have defied the ageing process.

The Aussie singer looked stunning as she arrived in Bournemouth this week with her husband John Easterling (they married in Peru in June.) Casually dressed in jeans and sandals, with a low-slung belt around a long jersey top, Olivia looked decades younger than her real age.

“I think the secret is being happy and healthy,” she says.

“I have a wonderful husband and I like playing tennis and walking the dogs on the beach.

“John just bought me my first kayak for my birthday too – only a few days ago we were out on the clear blue Florida water looking at all the tropical fish, it was amazing.”

It’s 17 years since Olivia was given the all-clear after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and she says she has never felt better.

She even managed to squeeze in a 10-minute jog along the beachfront before the first conference of John’s health and wellness UK tour.

She said it wasn’t her first visit to the town – she was here singing with Cliff Richard and the Shadows in her pre-Grease days.

“He’s on tour with The Shadows at the moment too,” she adds. “We saw them last night – it was wonderful.

“I’ve always kept in touch with Cliff – we usually play a game of tennis when he’s in LA.”

We chatted in a room near a conference suite at the Highcliff Marriott Hotel, where John was due to talk about his company’s new health drink, Zamu.

Although he seemed relaxed and eager to chat, Olivia was more guarded at first – it later transpired she was disappointed by a recent story in a national tabloid claiming she believed in UFO">UFOs.

“I think it’s because I said we lived in Jupiter, which is in Florida, and they must have thought I’d said Planet Jupiter!” she says managing to laugh about it.

“We had a 40-minute conversation with this guy about rainforests and things, but he just ignored the important stuff. It was just so stupid, I don’t know why I even got into it.”

When we moved on to her relationship with John though, she literally warmed to her subject and snuggled up closer to him.

Apparently the pair had known each other through mutual friends for around 16 years, but it was only when John persuaded her to join him on a trip to the Amazon two years ago that the relationship developed.

“It wasn’t like I can’t wait for a chance to make a move or anything like that,” laughed John.

“I saw her at a concert in Miami singing songs from her CD, and she has such an affinity for the environment and healing that all I could think of was, ‘I have to get out to the Amazon and meet some healers I know’.

“On day two we fell in love. When you’re working in the Amazon it’s hard to find someone who appreciates the same things you do. We’re both passionate about the same things.”

For a man more used to working on his own in such a remote part of the world, I wondered how he had come to terms with the celebrity side of life with Olivia.

“She’s my wife first and foremost, and the rest is part of her history,” he said.

“She’s very talented and has contributed to a lot of entertainment for a lot of people, and it’s really lovely to see how much people appreciate her all over the world.”

Soon our time was up. The couple were on a tight schedule and planning to head to London later that evening for a series of TV appearances, including Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton and Loose Women.

We closed with a brief chat about plans for the rest of their tour.

Olivia clapped her hands with glee and squealed with almost child-like delight – a gesture that reminded me of her character Sandy in Grease – at the thought of going to see the Lipizzaner horses in Austria.

But whereas some stars might tire of being forever associated with a film that is now well over 30 years old, Sandy, I mean Olivia, wasn’t complaining.

“I don’t really mind. That movie makes so many people happy,” she said.

“Not many people are lucky enough to be in a movie that everyone loves.”