John Travolta posted a retro photo of the late Olivia Newton-John, accompanied by the caption:
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 first moment I saw you and forever!via Instagram
Your Danny, your John!
The pair met as co-stars on the 1978 hit Grease and remained lifelong friends.
Olivia and John’s Enduring Friendship
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were both stars in their own right when they signed on to film Grease.
Travolta had been a teen idol, starring on Welcome Back, Kotter before Saturday Night Fever marked his big-screen debut. Premiering one year before Grease, the disco classic ushered in the age of Travolta. The actor, and his trademark moves, would define the 1970s. And in Newton-John, Travolta met his match.
The Australia native, too, was a music superstar by 1978. Newton-John found early fame on local TV programs and broke through internationally in 1974 with the hit album If You Love Me, Let Me Know. It topped the Billboard charts and spawned five No. 1 hits, including “I Honestly Love You.”
So, Danny and Sandy were a destined success.
As the star-crossed ’50s teens Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson, Travolta and Newton-John created characters that are beloved generations on. Playing the girlish Sandy, Newton-John imbued her character with an inimitable, sexy innocence. Travolta, meanwhile, brought a lovable quality to Danny, the archetypal bad boy.
The romance of Danny and Sandy inspired a soundtrack full of hits. And it also brought the actors together — as friends. They remained close as the musical became a supermassive success and, though they opted against returning for Grease 2, reunited on-screen in 1983 with Two of a Kind.
Though Two of a Kind was a critical bust, the soundtrack would yield three hit singles for Newton-John: a certified ’80s queen.
Years later, speaking to People on the 40th anniversary of Grease, Travolta reflected on his strong relationship with Newton-John. “When you share that kind of meteoric success — and nothing has been able to exceed it — you share a bond,” he said. “I’ve been through her having a child, getting divorced, losing her sister. She’s been through my getting married, having children. It’s wonderful and full of shared memories.” Tragically, Travolta lost his young son Jett in 2009. “[In tough times] John always reaches out to me,” he added.
Newton-John was also there for Travolta when his wife Kelly Preston passed in 2020. Preston died at age 57 of breast cancer — the same disease which Newton-John had spent decades fighting.
Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 1992, just as she was primed for a musical comeback. Beating the disease, at least for some time, she went on to become a fierce advocate for breast cancer research and founded the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund for the cause.
Newton-John told People that Preston’s death “really strengthened” her resolve to fight the disease. “I’ve lost way too many friends to cancer, family members and friends. Having lived with it, this is my dream. This is my passion to see a world beyond cancer,” she said.
Sadly, it was cancer that would eventually end Newton-John’s life. In 2017, her breast cancer had returned and metastasized. On August 8, 2022, her husband John Easterling announced that she had died at their California home in California. She was 73 years old.
Their Last Interview on E!
John Travolta says that meeting Olivia is the memory that stands out the most from the Grease experience: “Beyond a shadow of a doubt.”