John Travolta Defends Tom Cruise
01/21/2008 AT 02:10 PM EST
The much-discussed clip, still making the rounds on the Web, shows the Mission: Impossible megastar praising the Church of Scientology and saying that followers have "the ability to create new and better realities." (His rep says the footage was filmed for a private church event in 2004.)
Travolta, 53, claims the intense media scrutiny has gone too far. "[Tom] has – we all have – the right to practice how we feel," he told PEOPLE Saturday at Australia.com's G'Day L.A. gala celebrating Australia Week 2008. "It finally becomes unfair."
Travolta's tone lightened considerably, however, when asked about Olivia Newton-John, who was on hand to perform at the event (which honored Kylie Minogue for her humanitarian work). "We see each other a couple of times a year," he gushed of his Grease costar. "I love seeing her. She's awesome."
Later, the Aussie singer wowed the crowd with a selection of her greatest hits, including "Hopelessly Devoted to You," "I Honestly Love You" and a stripped-down version of "Physical."
After Newton-John's show-stopping set, Travolta declared from the stage: "Olivia, I love you. I honestly love you."