Although “Grease” is John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John’s highest-grossing musical, the movie also gave them a lasting friendship.
Olivia Newton-John’s death on August 8 at the age of 73 rocked the entertainment world because of her status in the industry. The legendary singer and actress dominated the scene for most of her career, inspiring millions worldwide. However, the actress struggled with serious health issues during her last years.
The iconic entertainer was a dedicated and passionate advocate for breast cancer research which she also battled for many years. She had kept her loyal fans in the loop concerning her health before she eventually passed on. Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, announced the sad news of her passing with an emotional post on social media. He wrote:
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumph and hope for over 30 years, sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continue with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund.”
After the sad announcement, many fans and celebrities paid tributes to the late four-time Grammy Awad winner. However, one tribute that got people quite emotional was from her famous on-screen romantic partner and friend, John Travolta. In a post shared on Instagram, Travolta noted:
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road, and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”
The tribute served as a reminder for the fans who watched the duo dominate headlines with ther electric performance in the 1978 musical “Grease.” The pair formed a long-lasting friendship and also what many believe deep feelings for one another. Here’s how their relationship started.
John Travolta Sold “Grease” to Olivia Newton-John
Back in the 1970s, Newton-John was a renowned music star with many famous music tracks, including her number-one charting song “I Honestly Love You.” However, she was at a dinner party when famous movie producer Ala Carr approached her with a surprise proposal. Carr was in the process of making a musical, and he wanted Newton-John to star in it.
However, Newton-John did not feel she could play the role because her two previous attempts at making films resulted in commercial flops. The music also didn’t see how she could pass for a high school student at the age of 28. Newton-John politely refused Carr’s offer by stating she would rather focus on her musical career.
Still, Carr wouldn’t give up, and the producer sent a 23 years old John Travolta, who was the co-lead for “Grease,” to convince Newton-John. Surprisingly the move proved to be a genius one because Newton-John got swept off her feet when she met Travolta. Reminiscing about the moment in her book, the actress wrote:
“I went outside to be greeted by those piercing blue eyes and the warmest smile on the planet. In-person, John Travolta radiates pure joy and love.”
The two hit it off immediately, and Newton-John softened her stance and agreed to a scheduling screen test. The actor and Newton-John looked perfect alongside each other, and their chemistry became evident as the filming of “Grease” progressed.
Travolta and Newton-John Sparked Romantic Rumors
Travolta and Newton-John’s chemistry felt so intense during the filming that the people speculated if they might be dating. The pair displayed sexual tension during their performance that even some of the film crew started noticing their affection for one another.
Didi Conn, who played Frenchie in “Grease,” touched on the pair’s relationship after an alternate version of the ending came out in 2018. In the clip, Travolta and Newton-John kissed as their on-screen characters, Danny and Sandy, flew away. According to Conn, the pair were not acting at that moment, and the kiss was a spontaneous action by the pair.
Meanwhile, Newton-John also confirmed their affection for one another in her biography “Don’t Stop Believin.” The actress declared they liked each other and there was an attraction. However, despite their attraction and fans clamoring for their favorites to start a relationship, Travolta and Newton-John never did.
Travolta and Newton-John’s “Grease” Legacy
Although Newton-John almost didn’t sign up for “Grease” until Travolta’s intervention, the movie became a career-defining one for her. Sandy and Danny became an iconic moniker for on-screen couples years after Travolta and Newton-John portrayed the role.
“Grease” which was produced on a budget of $6 million would end up becoming the highest-grossing musical in Hollywood history, making a whopping $400 million at the box office worldwide. It also made history as the biggest musical movie of the 20th Century cementing Newton-John and Travolta’s legacy in the industry.