John Travolta has suffered numerous losses that hit home over the years, including those of his girlfriend and, decades later, his wife.
In 2020, actor John Travolta suffered the tragic death of his beloved wife, Kelly Preston, after a secret battle with breast cancer. The loss was a heart-breaking one for the actor, who took to Instagram to honor her in a touching tribute depicting what a great woman she was.
Many fans and celebrities joined in mourning the significant loss, extending heartfelt condolences to Travolta. However, what most did not realize was the extent of his grief, especially when likened to his previous losses.
Forty-three years prior, the actor faced the same grieving seat after losing his then-girlfriend and first love, Diana Hyland, to the same condition. While these losses may seem so much of a coincidence, they remain the reality of John Travolta’s life, which has become a waltz with tragedy.
Who Was John Travolta’s Girlfriend, And When Did She Die?
In the sixties, John Travolta fell in love with a much older woman, Diana Hyland, who soon became his girlfriend. Hyland, born Diane Gentner on January 25, 1936, was eighteen years his senior.
Like Travolta, she found fame as an actress, making her acting debut in a stage drama as a teenager. After graduating high school, she moved to New York to further her acting career. The actress landed one of her first gigs in an episode of “Montgomery presents” in 1950.
Thereafter, she snagged more gigs and made a name for herself in the fifties and early sixties. Around that time, she adopted her mom’s maiden name, Hyland, in favour of Gentner as her professional moniker.
Some of her most notable roles include “Smoky,” “Eight Is Enough,” “Burke’s Law,” “Kojak,” “Harry O,” “Mannix,” and “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” which earned her a posthumous Emmy, accepted n her behalf by Travolta.
Before becoming girlfriend to John Travolta, Hyland married actor Joseph Goodson in 1969. Their short-lived union yielded a son Zachary Goodson, born 1973, before their split.
Three years after her son’s birth, the icon geared off her romance with Travolta, then a new name in the industry. They met while co-starring in the 1976 TV movie, “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” soon becoming inseparable.
John Travolta Lost His Girlfriend To Breast Cancer
Diana Hyland and John Travolta dated for barely a year before death came calling. Years before meeting the actor, the mom of one was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy to curb it.
Sadly, the cancer returned in December 1976 and began spreading fast. She died three months later, on March 27, 1977, leaving her then-23-year-old boyfriend heartbroken. He once said of the late actress:
“I have never been more in love with anyone in my life. I thought I was in love before, but I wasn’t. From the moment I met her, I was attracted. We were like two maniacs talking all the time on the set of Bubble. After a month, it became romantic.”
Travolta revealed her death was a shocker, as when he first knew her, she was in good health, with no possibility of her ailment returning. She had no idea her death was looming until two weeks prior. The couple got to spend their last moments together to the fullest.
Travolta once disclosed that a day prior, they had taken a walk together around a garden. He was also by her side when she breathed her last, marking the sad end to their beautiful romance. She was 44.
How His Girlfriend’s Death Impacted Him
Following the loss of his girlfriend, John Travolta became a global sensation with his role in “Grease.”
His “Grease” co-star Olivia Newton discussed the impact of that loss in her memoir. She explained how they met on set to begin filming around the time Travolta suffered his loss.
Despite his effort to hide behind his charms and unmatched singing, dancing and acting talent, the ever-present pain beneath his blue eyes betrayed him. She wrote:
“Tragically, he had just lost his beloved girlfriend, actress Diana Hylan, to breast cancer. He remained sweet, open, very sincere, and vulnerable.”
As their days working as onscreen sweethearts extended, Travolta and Newton became closed off the screen. Yet, they never acted on the chemistry that formed between them, as they were both committed to other people at the time.
Travolta’s Wife Died Four Decades Later
Twelve years after losing his Girlfriend, John Travolta met his to-be wife, Kelly Preston. They connected on the set of “The Experts” in 1989 and tied the knot two years later.
The couple welcomed three children, including daughter Ella and sons Jett and Benjamin Travolta. Death struck the actor another blow in January 2009, claiming the life of his older son, Jett, at sixteen.
About a decade later, the grim reaper visited again, this time ending the 29 years strong love story between John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Preston died of breast cancer in September 2020 after secretly battling the ailment for two years. She was 57.
Following her demise, Travolta, 68, took to Instagram to announce he was taking time off from his career to focus on his kids. Seven months later, he put up their Isleboro home for sale, perhaps in an attempt to help his family move on.
Olivia Newton Met The Same Fate
Having lost his wife and girlfriend, nothing could have prepared John Travolta for the loss of his onscreen sweetheart, Olivia Newton, in August 2022. Even worse, she died of breast cancer, the same ailment that claimed the lives of the two other women he ever loved.
Expressing his grief over losing his beloved friend, the 68-year-old wrote on Instagram:
“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.”
The tragic coincidence of the loss of all three women that won a place in his heart was undoubtedly a hurtful one—almost like death played a dirty, dirty joke on him. While his infamous dance with the late Princess Diana would forever remain etched in the halls of history, John Travolta’s heart-breaking waltz with tragedy has gradually taken root in the walls of his heart.