Kirstie Alley and John Travolta’s Complicated Friendship

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Kirstie Alley and John Travolta played on-screen lovers in the late ’80s classic Look Who’s Talking. And in real life, Alley wanted to be more than friends… until Kelly Preston shut down Alley’s incessant flirting.

Alley, who passed on December 5 at age 71, opened up about the experience in 2018.

‘Look Who’s Talking’

Kirstie Alley and John Travolta both starred in Amy Heckerling’s Look Who’s Talking: an off-beat family comedy that hugely successful in 1989. It earned $297 million on a $7.5 million budget.

Alley played Mollie, a New York City accountant who gets knocked up by her married boss (George Segal). While pregnant, the fetus begins talking — with the voice of Bruce Willis. Once born, the voiceover continues… then Mollie meets a taxi driver named James. Enter, John Travolta.

A romance ensues, and baby Mikey happily accepts James as a father. At the close of the film, Mollie gives birth to another baby. This time, a girl, voiced by Joan Rivers. This baby-sibling premise became the focus of Look Who’s Talking Too, a fairly popular sequel which premiered the next year.

The franchise eventually expanded further with another movie, Look Who’s Talking Now in 1993, and an ABC sitcom called Baby Talk which featured Tony Danza. (We can forget about that.) It also inspired a real-life friendship between fellow scientologists Alley and Travolta. And maybe more.

Kirstie Alley and John Travolta

While filming Look Who’s Talking, Kirstie Alley was married to her second husband, the actor Parker Stevenson, with whom she would adopt two children. But that didn’t stop her from pining over her sexy co-star.

In 2013, she told Howard Stern: “It took me years to not look at John as a romantic interest.”

Then, in a 2018 episode of Celebrity Big Brother U.K., Alley raved about Travolta, saying, “I did love him. I still love him. If I hadn’t been married, I would have gone and married him.” She also gushed about their would-be wedding:

“It would have been in an airplane. Because he has his own. And let me tell you girls, it doesn’t seem like it’s important that someone has a private jet, but it is. As you get older, you do not want to hang out in airports.” 

— Kirstie Alley on Celebrity Big Brother U.K. via Us Weekly

The same year, Alley shared more details about the apparent obsession on the Dan Wootton Interview podcast. In that discussion, Alley revealed that Kelly Preston told her outright to stop flirting with her husband. Preston and Travolta tied the knot in 1991, amid all the baby fever of Look Who’s Talking.

“Kelly came up to me, and they were married then, and she said, ‘Erm, why are you flirting with my husband?’ And that was sort of when I had to make a decision and that was pretty much the end of that,” Alley said.

But it seems like Preston and Alley buried the hatchet. Preston appeared in several episodes of Alley’s 2005 sitcom Fat Actress. And clearly, the awkward moment didn’t stop Alley and Travolta from remaining lifelong friends.

After the news of her death yesterday, Travolta shared this touching tribute on Instagram. “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again,” the caption read.

Travolta recently lost another dear friend and co-star, Olivia Newton-John. He also lost his own wife, Preston, from breast cancer in 2020.

The Death of Kirstie Alley

The news of Kirstie Alley’s death shocked the world on December 5. The actress had been battling colon cancer, privately, and sought treatment in Tampa at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Alley’s grown children, William “True” Stevenson and Lillie Stevenson, shared the news on social media. “We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” they wrote on Alley’s official Instagram page.

Since the sad news broke, many stars have publicly shared their condolences and memories of Alley, including her ex-husband Parker Stevenson, Jamie Lee Curtis and her Cheers co-stars Kelsey Grammar, Rhea Perlman, and Ted Danson.

READ MORE: Remembering The Friendship of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

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