Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, who both starred in “Grease,” had a close relationship throughout their time spent working on the film. Fans wanted them to date so much, yet it was difficult for them to get together.
Musical rom-com The movie “Grease” was the most successful film released in the United States throughout the 20th century. Barry Diller, CEO of Paramount Pictures, gave the movie a budget of $6 million despite his doubts about its chances of being a commercial success.
In spite of this unexpected turn of events, the much-anticipated and critically acclaimed blockbuster movie ended up making a remarkable impact on audiences by grossing more than $300 million at the box office.
The story of two high school students, Danny Zuko, portrayed by actor John Travolta, and Sandy Olsson, played by actress Olivia Newton-John, who fall madly in love is the subject of the famous movie Grease.
Showman Allan Carr was the one responsible for producing the successful picture. Once, Travolta was quoted as saying that if it weren’t for Carr, they never would have been able to bring the movie to life:
“We would not have been successful in achieving our goal if Allan had not been the showman. He was like Barnum and Bailey when it came to everything.”
Photograph taken of film producer Allan Carr in Sydney, Australia, on July 31, 1978, at the Australian premiere of “Grease.” The event took place in Sydney. / Images obtained from Getty
Copywriter Jim Jacobs and high school teacher Warren Casey adapted the musical of the same name into the film “Grease.” “Grease” was released in 1978. The first performance of the play took place in Chicago in February of 1971. Carr immediately fell in love with it as it landed in New York City and went on to present the concept to Paramount Pictures Studios.
The production company made the decision to go on with it despite the fact that it did not feel it would have much of an impact. In spite of this, shooting started at Venice High School in the city of Los Angeles in June of 1977.
The movie was released on June 16, 1978, and it was so successful that it set records at the box office. It became a sensation on a global scale, generating a total of 160 million dollars in only that one year.
TRAVOLTA CONVINCED NEWTON TO PLAY SANDY
In the 1978 film “Grease,” stars Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta may be seen dancing in front of a packed gymnasium at a high school. / Images obtained from Getty
It turns out that Travolta was the one who persuaded Newton to assume the classic part of Sandy in the movie. When we met, the singer-songwriter had already achieved a great deal of success in the music industry despite just being 28 years old.
She had some second thoughts about joining the cast of the musical after producer Allan Carr gave the impression that she would be an excellent fit for the group. In her book titled “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Olivia Newton-John discusses her hesitation by stating the following:
“At the age of 28, I’m too old to portray a high school student.”
The year was 1978, and Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were in attendance for the premiere of the musical picture Grease. / Images obtained from Getty
In addition to this, Newton-John had doubts about her ability to speak with an American accent. In addition to that, she wanted to concentrate on her profession as a musician.
In spite of this, Carr did not let up in his efforts to convince her, and he even proposed that he might transform Sandy into an Australian transfer student in order to increase the likelihood that Newton-John would accept the offer. Despite this, he was not successful at all in winning her support.
Carr resorted to sending Travolta, who was 23 at the time, to have a conversation with Newton-John as a last ditch effort, and the latter ultimately gave up. Newton-John, when asked about her encounter with the “Hairspray” star, claimed that it was difficult for her to say no to him, and that the two of them became immediate friends:
“When I got outdoors, I was met with those brilliant blue eyes and the friendliest grin on the face of the globe. In person, John Travolta exudes an abundance of love and unadulterated delight. On that particular day, he welcomed me with a bear embrace as if we had known each other for years. How could you possibly decline an invitation from John Travolta?”
After that, they conducted a screen test to evaluate their chemistry on film, and before the two of them had ever uttered a word, everyone could tell that they were a perfect match for the parts of Danny and Sandy. According to the words that Newton-John penned, “Everyone laughed because the atmosphere was so tangible.”
Olivia Newton-John as Sandy Olsson and John Travolta as Danny Zuko sang “You’re the One That I Want” on June 16, 1978 in the musical “Grease.” John Travolta played Danny Zuko. / Images obtained from Getty
Off-script, at the film’s after-party, the on-screen couple enjoyed a passionate kiss to prove their chemistry off-screen. Didi Conn, who portrayed Travolta’s co-star Frenchie, disclosed the fact that John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John did in fact kiss:
“You can tell that she is taken aback for a second, and then she gives her response. It is delicious and full of flavor. They were not acting at that moment; it seemed as if he had his opportunity, and he intended to take advantage of it. It was not a dream. In point of fact, it was.”
Scene from the film “Two of a Kind” (1983) featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John sharing a passionate kiss. / Images obtained from Getty
Travolta and the native of Australia have both admitted that there was sexual tension between them throughout the time that they spent shooting the movie together. Newton-John confessed that the two of them liked each other and that there was attraction between them.
Meanwhile, Travolta made the following statement in 2019: “It seems to me that you caught a glimpse of it in the song ‘You’re the One that I Want.’ That conflict is getting close to being resolved right there and then.”
In addition to this, there was also emotional support between the two, which was shown when Newton-John revealed how caring and protective Travolta was of her. The business owner retold the incident from the movie that took place at the bonfire, in which Danny behaved strangely with Sandy while he and his friends were there.
Newton-John revealed that she performed the first take for the scene, and that during her close-up, Travolta moved straight in front of the camera. He then apologized to the director, Randal Kleiser. Newton-John did the second take for the sequence. After that, he took her aside to apologize and explain himself as follows:
“I did it on purpose, Liv, because I don’t want them to use that take of the recording. I’m sure you can perform much better than that.”
The star of “Grease” said that Travolta showed her an incredible amount of love and support, and that she felt the same way about him. She said that she will be eternally thankful to him for his thoughtfulness.
As they made their way through the crowds of shouting fans and media on their way to the red carpet event to mark the premiere of “Grease,” the stars were seen addressing questions from the press as they arrived together. At the after-party hosted by Paramount Studios, the two of them also shared a kiss.
THE GENUINE NATURE OF THEIR ACCOMPANYING RELATIONSHIP
Newton-John subsequently claimed that the New Jersey native informed her when they were filming together that it was “every guy’s dream” to have her “as their girlfriend.” However, she dropped a hint by saying, “I don’t know about every man.”
The singer who is well known for her hit song “I Love You, I Honesty I Love You” said that despite the apparent connection that she and John Travolta enjoyed, they never would have dated had they not been connected with other people at the time. Newton-John continued by saying that the two of them had a commitment to being faithful, and that after the film, life continued as normal:
“The reality is that it never went beyond friendship with John, despite the fact that the fans wanted (badly) for us to become a relationship in real life,” she said. “[T]he fans wanted us to become a couple in real life.”
She stated in her biography that she had approached Travolta about it, and he had expressed the same thoughts as her, stating that they both had partners and were polite towards them, and that was it. She remembered that he had told her that it was irrelevant since they both had partners. But it turned out that the two developed affections for one another.
“It came close to happening on more than one occasion between the two of us, but it never did. There will be moments in your life when the timing is all wrong. As close friends, we were forced to part ways with it.”
During a question and answer session with fans, Travolta responded emphatically “Yes” when asked if there was any sexual tension between them. On the other hand, Newton-John said in an interview for the “Mamma Mia: No Filter” podcast in 2018 that it would have been a catastrophe if she and Travolta had acted on their sentiments or had a breakup. She said that this would have been the case if either of them had gotten into a fight.
The year was 1978, and Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were in attendance for the premiere of “Grease.” / Images obtained from Getty
Before beginning production on “Grease,” Travolta had broken up with his girlfriend, the actress Diana Hyland, because she had been engaged with another guy. She had received a breast cancer diagnosis, which ultimately resulted in the loss of her life at the age of 41.
Hyland had had a mastectomy two years before to her passing, and her ex-boyfriend confessed to People in 1977 that “she didn’t realize she was going to die for definite until two weeks before” Hyland’s death occurred in 1977.
In the days before she passed away, John Travolta traveled to the east coast to shoot “Saturday Night,” while Sarah Hyland stayed in Los Angeles to finish filming the first four episodes of the comedy “Eight Is Enough.” Travolta and Hyland both worked together on “Eight Is Enough.”
The shot was taken on December 8, 1976 in Los Angeles, California, and features actor John Travolta and his girlfriend, actress Diana Hyland. / Images obtained from Getty
The pair spent hours on the phone together each night, and when the “Pulp Fiction” actor finally returned, Hyland’s passing was just around the corner. The day before she passed away, she and her beloved took a stroll in the garden together.
On March 27, 1977, when Travolta was holding Hyland, Hyland died away. The A-lister reportedly told People magazine at the time, “I felt the air go out of her.” In the aftermath of the catastrophe, the words of his fiancée and the advice of a Scientology “auditor” were what kept him going. John’s confidence in a parapsychiatric healing modality also played a role.
“I have to go right now, but you are going to be responsible for this task.”
During the 36th Annual Golden Apple Awards, which took place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in December 1976, John Travolta and Diana Hyland were in attendance. / Images obtained from Getty
Newton-John, who co-starred with him, could see from the look in his eyes that he was in excruciating agony. According to her, “he stayed kind, open, extremely honest, and vulnerable” throughout the conversation. Notably, over the years, the two people remained very good friends with one another.
TRAVOLTA AND NEWTON-JOHN’S NEVER-ENDING APPEARANCES ON THE RED CARPET
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were guests at the Town Hall event hosted by SiriusXM on December 12, 2012 in New York City. The event took place at the SiriusXM studios. / Images obtained from Getty
The two were often seen attending gatherings together, where they would embrace and pose for photos. At the G’Day USA Australia black-tie event in 2008, Newton-John and Travolta got together again after a long time apart.
The occasion was hosted in the Hollywood Highland Grand Ballroom in Hollywood, California, United States of America. As posing for the camera, Travolta gave Newton-John a head kiss while they were both holding hands.
Moreover, Newton-John supported the father of three after he lost his beloved wife, actress Kelly Preston, to breast cancer in July 2020. The pair had kept the terrible news under wraps. Newton-John characterized Preston as “a wonderful person.”
During G’Day LA: Australia Week 2006 – Penfolds Icon Gala Dinner – Red Carpet, actress Kelly Preston was seen with her husband John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Source: Getty Images
Thereafter she was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, the Grammy Award winner has been a champion for greater health awareness in the years since. Since September of 2018, she has been going through the sickness for the third time and fighting it.
The next year, speculation spread that Newton-last John’s days were drawing nigh. However, she quickly put an end to the rumors by publishing a video on Twitter in which she said that “rumors of my death have been grossly exaggerated.”
Newton-John said that there were times when she had let fear to get the best of her while she was opening up about her third health issue. Despite this, she did her best to have a positive attitude and pointed out that her spouse was there for support. In addition to that, Travolta was there for her while she was fighting cancer and offered his support.
THEIR JOINT EFFORT/COLLABORATION
The former stars of “Grease” have begun working together on a musical project as a result of their consistent support for one another. Newton-John and Travolta made their collaboration, “I Think You Might Like It,” available on many web platforms, including iTunes, in December of 2012. They worked together on a song video as well.
In December of 2019, the fan-favorite dynamic pair made an appearance at one of the meet and greet performances side by side, holding hands while dressed in their original costumes.
After more than forty years, when the movie was re-released in 2018, Newton-John wore a yellow and white suit, while Travolta wore an all-black ensemble. The movie was released in 1978. In the caption of the post, she wrote:
“The first time we’ve worn our costumes since filming the movie! What a thrill!!”
It was the very first “Meet ‘n Grease” sing-along, and it took place at the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida. The reunion was held there. Newton-John and Travolta donned other legendary outfits from the groundbreaking movie, and they coordinated their all-black ensembles. She donned leather leggings that were skin-tight along with a leather jacket, while he wore an all-black attire and his famed “greaser” haircut.