Did Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta ever date? 'Grease' stars reveal what really happened on set

2 March 2021, 17:00

The love story between Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 1978's box office hit movie Grease has kept audiences enraptured for over 40 years.
The love story between Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 1978's box office hit movie Grease has kept audiences enraptured for over 40 years. Picture: Getty

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta's chemistry in hit movie Grease was electrifying, but did the two really date in real life? Here the stars open up about what really happened when the cameras stopped rolling...

The love story between Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 1978's box office hit movie Grease has kept audiences enraptured for over 40 years.

Set against a soundtrack of original Bee Gees hits, the story of two high school students falling in love despite all odds has become one of the most successful movies of all time, clocking up an incredible $396 million worldwide.

See more: Olivia Newton-John dismisses claims Grease is sexist: 'It's just a girl in love with a guy'

The film's two main stars have not only gone on to have wildly successful careers, but have also maintained a friendship spanning over four decades.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in England during the week of release of movie 'Grease' in September 1978.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in England during the week of release of movie 'Grease' in September 1978. Picture: Getty
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta pictured together on August 15, 2018 in Beverly Hills
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta pictured together on August 15, 2018 in Beverly Hills. Picture: Getty

So just what is their secret and did the two really fall in love off camera? Read on from everything you need to know about the pair's relationship...

Did Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta date in real life?

Despite numerous rumours to the contrary – and some steamy pictures of the pair kissing at a party in 1978 (below) – there has been no romance between the two stars.

Speaking on the Mamma Mia No Filter podcast in 2018, 72-year-old Olivia Newton-John revealed why she couldn't date John Travolta during filming and why it helped the chemistry on screen.

See more: Where are the cast of Grease now over 40 years later?

Olivia was 28-years-old and John was 23-years-old when they filmed Grease and the pair were on the edge of superstardom while shooting the movie.

"We were both with other people when we were filming and I think, respectfully, it just didn’t happen," she explained.

See more: The fascinating true story behind Princess Diana and John Travolta's infamous dance

Olivia Newton John and John Travolta kiss at the 'Grease' party at Paramount Studios circa 1978 in Los Angeles, California.
Olivia Newton John and John Travolta kiss at the 'Grease' party at Paramount Studios circa 1978 in Los Angeles, California. Picture: Getty
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta pictured on the set of 'Grease' in 1978.
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta pictured on the set of 'Grease' in 1978. Picture: Getty

"I think it was good, because I think it kept the tension there and the chemistry. It might have been a real disaster had we decided to date or we had a falling out or something.

See more: When Barry Gibb led the Bee Gees in singing ‘Grease’ to a moved Olivia Newton-John

"So I think it was just as well that it didn’t happen. But we’re still great friends."

John Travolta himself has since spoken about the real-life chemistry he had with Olivia Newton-John.

In 2019, when the pair were filming a Q&A session, his answer was a firm "yes!" when asked if there was sexual tension on set.

See more: When Olivia Newton-John and Andy Gibb sang a sizzling duet of Bee Gees hit ‘Rest Your Love On Me’

“I think you saw that in ‘You’re the One That I Want,'” Travolta said, referring to the highly charged duet Sandy and Danny performed at the end of Grease: “There’s almost resolve [of] that tension right there.”

But another cast member from the movie revealed that just because they didn't date, it didn't stop John Travolta having a huge crush on Olivia Newton-John.

Watch John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's chemistry singing ‘You’re the One That I Want' below:

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John pictured at dinner at the Palm Restaurant in Beverly Hills in April 1978
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John pictured at dinner at the Palm Restaurant in Beverly Hills in April 1978. Picture: Getty

Didi Conn, better known as the character Frenchy in Grease, revealed the Saturday Night Fever star had the hots for his co-star.

See more: Moment Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta reunited after 24 years to sing ‘You’re The One That I Want’

“Oh yeah, [he did like her]," she told the Daily Mail in 2018.

"What was so much fun was that most of us were older than the characters we were playing so we just stayed in character all day long. So there was an ongoing improvisation happening so the flirting… was fine."

The actress also made an incredible revelation; that one of John and Olivia's on-screen kisses was 100% real.

See more: Olivia Newton-John releases gorgeous new duet with daughter Chloe Lattanzi

She explained: "Randal Kleiser, the director, thought: 'Maybe I should make an alternative ending', and they fly up into the sky and instead of looking back, Danny looks at Sandy and pulls her closer to him and gives her the juiciest kiss and Olivia."

"You see for a moment she's surprised and then she responds. It's juicy and it's great" – see video below

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John pictured in New York on December 12, 2012
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John pictured in New York on December 12, 2012. Picture: Getty

"They weren't acting in that moment, it was like he had his chance and he was going to take it. It was real, it really was."

What relationship do Olivia Newton-John and John-Travolta have today?

The Grease co-stars are still very close and even famously reunited in LA in 2002 to sing their classic hit ‘You’re The One That I Want’.

John Travolta has also been a huge support to Olivia Newton-John as she has undergone treatment for breast cancer.

See more: Olivia Newton-John pays moving tribute to John Travolta’s late wife Kelly Preston

Speaking in 2018, Olivia said: “He’s been wonderful. He calls and checks up on me."

“He came to one of my shows — right before this happened, actually, right before my diagnosis.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta attend a 'Grease' 40th Anniversary party at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on August 15, 2018 in Beverly Hills
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta attend a 'Grease' 40th Anniversary party at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on August 15, 2018 in Beverly Hills. Picture: Getty

"I saw him and I was hobbling around the dinner table because I was having trouble sitting down. And he was concerned," adding that he “called her up with some ideas of people to see.”

John Travolta speaks very highly of Olivia: “She’s always been an incredible human being and an inspiration to millions,” he said after her cancer diagnosis.

See more: Hugh Jackman pays emotional tribute to Olivia Newton-John after cancer update

“I know her so well. If we all put our intentions for her to get through this, she will feel it and it will support her. We love her and she loves us.”