'We both wanted it' Olivia Newton-John confirmed 'sexual tension' with John Travolta

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The Aussie pop and movie queen will be remembered forever as the not-so-sweet and innocent Sandy who transformed spectacularly into a sassy and spandex-clad vixen at the end of the iconic movie. Newton-John’s own public image was equally wholesome, although she finally confessed to how she and John Travolta really felt about each other behind the scenes. And they weren’t the only ones. Their co-star went on to marry Newton-John’s sister.

Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson remain one of the great movie musical romantic pairings. From innocent puppy love on a beach all the way to leather-clad raunch by the end, their chemistry didn’t just give us chills, it was electrifying. And, it seems, the two stars themselves also felt the same way.

Travolta and Newton-John have both spoken out about how they were hot for each in real life too. She also said in her autobiography Don’t Stop Believin’: “Yes, we really liked each other and there was an attraction.”

A passionate kiss at the film’s after-party fuelled the rumours even more.

Travolta had actually been a driving force behind his co-star being cast as Sandy, saying at the time: “There is only one person that should play this role and it’s Olivia Newton-John… She’s every guy’s dream.”

Newton-John remembered him persuading her to take the part despite her misgivings about her age and previous movie missteps: “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. That day, he greeted me with a big hug like we were already lifelong friends. How could you say no to John Travolta?”

Their immediate connection was visible to everyone and lasted their entire lives. But, of course, everybody also wanted to know if there had ever been more between them.

In 2019, Travolta was asked directly whether there was sexual tension between the two of them and, as well as confirming it, told the crowd that you can see it come to a head during one iconic number. WATCH THE Q&A BELOW – THE SEXUAL TENSION QUESTION COMES AT 8.10.

He said: “I think you saw that in You’re the One That I Want. There’s almost resolve of that tension right there.”

The song reveals Sandy in her new incarnation as a confident, sexy man-eater after a make-over from the Pink Ladies. When she purred, “Tell me about it, stud”, Danny, and most of the audience, understandably went wild for the sizzling new look.

But what really happened behind the scenes? What about that kiss photographed at the Paramount Studios after-party? And the one on camera revealed in 2018?

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What fans didn’t know at the time was there had already been a rather passionate kiss on camera that would not be seen for decades. Director Randall Kleiser had filmed a slightly different version of the ending which he had not been able to use but finally revealed in 2018. In this one, as they fly away, Sandy and Danny smooch.

Co-star Did Conn, who played Frenchie, revealed that the kiss was very real and not scripted: “You see for a moment she’s surprised and then she responds. It’s juicy and it’s great. 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.”

WATCH THE ALTERNATE ENDING AND KISS BELOW

Cute kisses on screen and at parties aside, both stars have always denied anything went beyond the mutual attraction and it developed into the deep friendship that they maintain to this day. Newton-John opened up in 2018 and explained why she was happy that they never acted on their passion: “We were both with other people when we were filming and I think, respectfully, it just didn’t happen.”

She was still with her manager boyfriend, Lee Kramer, in a tumultuous relationship that would fizzle out by 1979. Travolta was with actress Diana Hyland, who was battling breast cancer and would die in March 1977.

Newton-John added: “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. So I think it was just as well that it didn’t happen. But we’re still great friends.

“The truth is, it never went beyond friendship with John despite the fact that the fans wanted for us to become a couple in real life. We left the making out to Sandy and Danny, but the deep feeling of sisterly love I have for John continues to this day.”

Newton-John clarified in her autobiography Don’t Stop Believin’: “We would never date because we were both involved with other people at the time, and both of us have a loyalty streak that runs deep.”

However, her sister found love with another cast member. Jeff Conaway, who played Danny’s sidekick Kenickie, was also smitten with Newton-John but too nervous to approach her for a date. But then he saw her talking to a beautiful woman at a party during the film shoot.

He later said: “I looked across the living room and saw this terrific-looking lady talking to Olivia. I decided to go over and take charge before the pack of wolves descended.”

It was the star’s older sister Rona, who was visiting the set from England in 1977. She later said: “I liked him straightaway.”

They married in 1980 and were together for five more years before it ended in divorce.

Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, of course, remained extremely close for almost 45 years, until her death earlier this year. Their deep platonic love and devotion to each other lasted longer than a high-school summer fling or, in fact, most marriages, in Hollywood and everywhere.  



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