Olivia Newton-John: Why My Wedding Was a Secret

07/16/2008 at 02:10 PM EDT

Olivia Newton-John: Why My Wedding Was a Secret
John Easterling and Olivia Newton-John
Roger Wong/INF
Olivia Newton-John’s recent wedding to John Easterling came as a surprise to everyone who knows her – except her daughter, Chloe.

"My family was surprised," Olivia tells PEOPLE of her June 21 vow exchange in Peru, "but my daughter knew – I told my daughter."

It wasn't until a July 4 barbeque at her home in Malibu that the singer, 59, shared the big news with the rest of her close family and friends – and by then, she and Easterling, a natural-health businessman, had already said "I do" a second time in Jupiter Island, Fla.

Why all the secrecy? "It was the one thing I could keep private," she explains. "That's how we wanted it because my life is so public."

She adds that the location for the mountaintop Peruvian wedding was "just a special sacred site that we went to. We walked there, it was a beautiful day and it was just something we wanted to do."

The singer-actress, whose first marriage to actor Matt Lattanzi ended in divorce in 1995, doesn’t compare the two relationships. "I don't think of it like that. I don't like to compare people or marriages. It's a different time in my life. I'm very happy and [John] is a wonderful man ... He's just a very special person."

Newton-John was on the red carpet Monday evening at the New World Stages in New York City for the premiere of Sordid Lives, a series that airs on Logo in which she plays a country singer.

Series creator Del Shores was not surprised by Newton-John’s secret. "She is so in love – she's glowing," he said. "It's so exciting to see her so happy. They really do look at each other with extreme adoration, respect and love. I wasn't surprised when she called me and said, 'Guess what you missed?' "

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