John Travolta is one of the best-known names in Hollywood, and one of the most gifted actors in the business. However, that does not mean he is without secrets and mystery. From his involvement with the Scientology movement to his colorful love life, we’ll take you through some of the twists and turns along Travolta’s life so far.
John Travolta’s private life has been at the center of many a media storm, but with so many romantic connections, it’s hard to keep track of his latest love interest. Recently, John Travolta decided to come out and set the record straight putting an end to rumors and speculation. What he had to say was fascinating…
A Love for a Lifetime
John Travolta met Kelly Preston on the set of The Experts, back in 1987. Love looked as though it would blossom, but there was a small issue that Kelly was already married. It wasn’t until they re-met in Vancouver in 1990 when both were on separate film projects that their love affair really took flight, and they decided to give things a proper shot.
Kelly sought a divorce from her husband, and once things were finalized, the two were engaged. They planned to get married in New York, but when plans started to get out of control they decided to elope in the most romantic city in the world, Paris, and so in 1991 the two of them hopped on a plane and got hitched.
Boy In The Plastic Bubble
This was John Travolta’s breakout role in the TV film in 1976, entitled, The boy in the plastic bubble. Travolta played the leading role, a character called Tom who is born with an undeveloped immune system. His life has to be therefore restricted so that he does not catch any infections as his body would not be able to fight them off. Desperate to experience new things, Tod must move around protected by a giant bubble made out of plastic.
As he starts to explore his surroundings, he falls in love with the girl who lives in the house next door, her name is Gina. When Tod learns he has built up enough immunity to step out of his bubble, he goes for it with Gina. Sparks were flying on-set, but it wasn’t between Travolta and the actress who played Gina. No, Travolta was linked to Diana Hyland who played Tod’s mother in the film. This was to be the first of many love-related scandals for Travolta.
Love Before Kelly
They may have seemed an unlikely pairing, but Diana Hyland and John Travolta were a pairing of true love. They were a huge eighteen years apart, but as they say, love can conquer all. They met on the set of the film, “The boy in the plastic bubble,” and played mother and son which made this an unlikely pairing.
Their love was not to last, as Hyland became sick with breast cancer and sadly died at the age of 41, in Travolta’s arms. The boy in the plastic bubble was critically acclaimed, and as a result, Hyland was awarded an Emmy Award, which Travolta accepted in her honor.
Kelly and Clooney
Kelly Preston also had a colorful romantic history before her meeting Travolta. When they met once again in Vancouver, Kelly was at the time married to Kevin Gage. The couple had enjoyed a huge and lavish wedding in Hawaii but their marriage only two years when things started to fall apart.
Kelly Preston had also been linked to hunky actor George Clooney between the years 1987-1989. Reports of a serious relationship were confirmed when Clooney gave Kelly a pet pig as a gift which they named Max. Preston was able to keep the pet after George and Kelly split up.
They Married Twice
When Travolta and Preston decided to get married things weren’t plain sailing from the start. They decided the wedding preparations were getting out of hand, so they hopped on a plane and had a small ceremony in Paris in 1991.
The service was officiated by a Scientology minister, but when the happy couple returned home, their celebrations were halted when they found out the marriage was not legally binding. They decided to quickly arrange another ceremony which would be a legal ceremony and took place on Daytona Beach in Florida.
The Travolta was struck by tragedy in 2009 when Kelly and John’s son, Jett sadly passed away on January 2nd. The Travoltas had been enjoying a family vacation at their home away from home in the Old Bahama Bay Hotel in the Bahama’s.
The shocking death occurred after their sixteen-year-old son, Jett hit his head on the bathtub and suffered a seizure. He died shortly after leaving the family, including Jett’s sister, Ella, devastated and grief-stricken. Speaking on behalf of the Travoltas, their family attorney released a statement to People Magazine which said, “To bury your son is the worst thing you can ever do.”
A Family Affair
Acting was something of a family business for the Travoltas. John’s mother, Helen, also made her career in acting which heavily influenced John and his career path. As a child he had watched his mother performing in roles for film and on the stage, taking on acting and dancing.
It was John who was the triple threat as he could act, dance and sing, a talent he discovered when he attended drama school in New York. The mother and son pair starred together in both Grease and Saturday Night Fever showing their multi-faceted talents to the audience.
Mother and son, Helen and John had a special bond through their shared love of the performing arts. The patriarch of the family, Salvatore Travolta was an Italian-American whose grandparents had emigrated to the United States. As a second-generation immigrant, Salvatore felt the promise of the American dream and pursued his love of football. He had a semi-professional career as a football player but decided to take on something with more stability.
Salvatore retired from his sports career and opened a tire shop to be run by the family in New Jersey. Sadly in 1995, Salvatore died leaving a gaping hole in the Travolta family.
He’s a Pilot
Aside from acting, Travolta has a passion for flying. He is a skilled pilot and received his official flying license allowing him to fly private planes. This passion led him to buy his own fleet of five planes. Included in the fleet, is a Boeing 707 which Travolta uses to fly his family and friends around the country and to exotic far off locations.
Travolta loves planes so much he built a home for his family in a residential airpark, part of the Jumbolair Aviation Estates. The house was built with a runway that goes straight to the Travolta’s front door so he can jump on a plane and fly to wherever he wants, whenever he wants.
Travolta has had a long and successful career which has allowed him to build up his net worth and his reputation. Currently, Travolta’s net worth is estimated at $170 million. The grease and Hairspray star is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, and with hits such as Saturday Night Fever, the royalties just keep on coming.
It’s not surprising with this level on income he is able to spend his money on expensive homes and airplanes adding to his already impressive fleet.
Travolta stunned audiences in 1977 with his acting and dancing abilities in the hit movie, Saturday Night Fever. Although Travolta clearly had a natural talent, he had to work hard and fine tune it so he could become a killer dancer. For this Travolta undertook intense training for nine months at a dance school. He had been inspired by the film Soul Train and so wanted to bring influences from that into his dancing.
Speaking about it at the time, Travolta told Vanity Fair magazine that he preferred “black dancing than white dancing” and that he had tried to bring elements of the Soul Train atmosphere into Saturday Night Fever.
Oprah’s Best Friend
Over the years, John Travolta and Oprah Winfrey have developed a special bond. She has said he is her favorite movie star and Travolta often favors Oprah over other TV show appearances.
In 2010 Oprah famously announced in the first episode of the last season of her talk show, that the whole audience was being invited on an 8-day, all expenses paid trip to Australia. As if this wasn’t enough, John Travolta had offered to fly the plane to take the audience to their destination. The pair needed to work on this concept for over a year, to make this a reality.
John Gets Personal
Both Kelly and John are used to media attention, and there were some things where they felt it was important for them to have their voices heard. In 1996 they decided to speak about the special weekend they spent at the home of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, where they believe they conceived their beloved son Jett.
They had no idea that in a few short years Jett would no longer be with them. It has not always been plain sailing for the Travoltas, and they have openly spoken about needing to a Scientology marriage counselor to help them through some of the more difficult times.
Pregnant at 47
At the age of 47, Kelly was very surprised to find out that she was pregnant with their third child. This happy news came just sixteen months after the devastation of Jett’s death in the previous January. This news came as a huge shock and a great surprise as they were not expecting it.
Still, the Travoltas were delighted and couldn’t wait to share the happy news for their family. In their official announcement, they said, “it’s impossible to keep a secret – especially one as wonderful as this. We want to be the first to share this great news with everyone that we are expecting a new addition to our family.”
Kelly and John welcomed their third child, a baby boy whom they named Benjamin into the world in 2011. The family were so happy to have a new child after the tragic loss of their son, Jett just two years previous.
In an interview with Hello magazine, the Travoltas told the reporter that having a new baby had given the whole family a renewed sense of spirit and purpose. They said about Benjamin, “He’s brought us a new beginning.” Maybe the most special part of this for John was how he felt when he held Benjamin. He said, “for us, it’s been uplifting, especially when he smiles at me and seems contented in my arms.”
Kelly and Charlie Sheen
Kelly Preston wasn’t just married previously, she was also engaged to Charlie Sheen for a short time in 1990. Sheen proposed with a 2.5-carat diamond engagement ring. The relationship ended after an accident with a handgun which Kelly wrote about in her autobiography. Charlie had a gun which he had kept in the pocket of his pair of jeans.
Kelly was trying to tidy up and moved the jeans when the gun went off and shot Kelly in the arm. The split was amicable, and they decided to sell the engagement ring and share the profits.
He Was a Loner
High school wasn’t the easiest for Travolta as he often found himself alone. He did not enjoy the same popularity as he does now, and he wasn’t successful with girls either. Travolta was mostly interested in perfecting his acting craft and so would spend most of his spare time in acting classes.
In an interview with the Phoenix, Travolta said, “Not too many of my friends identified with what I was doing. I participated in football and basketball and did what they were doing, but not many kids understood my going to acting studios at night.” It was this love for acting that most likely separated Travolta from his peers and as a result, he spent much of his teen years alone.
Behind The Scenes
They say there is no rest for the wicked, and this was the case for Travolta. Just four short days after filming on Saturday Night Fever wrapped, Travolta, starting working on his next hit movie, Grease. This was the biggest box office hit of 1978, so it’s no surprise he wanted to get stuck in straight away. This was an especially difficult time for Travolta as his girlfriend, Diana Hyland had recently passed away in his arms.
According to the Grease director, Randal Kleiser, Travolta was having trouble lip-syncing the words “heat lap trials” and kept on saying, “heap” instead. As a professional, Travolta eventually got there and was able to lipsync correctly.
Welcome Back, Kotter
When Travolta finished work touring with the cast of Grease, Travolta was well and truly at the top of his game and very much living the high life. He wanted to continue riding the crest of this wave and was happy when he was cast by ABC in their popular sitcom, “Welcome Back, Kotter” in the role of Vinnie Barbarino. Travolta portrayed this bad-boy role successfully for four exceptional years.
Along the way, he won the hearts of women of all ages across the United States and further afield. Reflecting on the show in the years since Travolta has noticed similarities with his character Vinnie.
Rejected Role Of A Lifetime
Travolta was now in a position where he could pick the roles he wanted. In 1984, he was offered the lead role in a movie called Splash, with Daryl Hannah playing a mermaid who finds herself in New York City. Other popular actors of the time also turned down the role, including Michael Keaton, Bill Murray, Dudley Moore, Allen Bauer, and Chevy Chase, with Tom Hanks eventually accepting the opportunity.
Travolta was discouraged by his agent who thought it wasn’t the right role for him at the time. This turned out to be a mistake as it was one of the huge box office hits of the year. Who knows how popular it could have been with Travolta in the starring role.
Travolta had always taken a keen interest in aviation and flying from a young age, and this had manifested in him taking his private pilot’s license as well as owning a fleet of five aircraft. In 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9.11, Travolta became the “Ambassador-at-large” for Qantas Airways in an attempt to encourage people to continue using airplanes in the wake of that fateful day.
It may seem strange that Travolta would link up with Qantas, who are in fact the Australian national airline, but Travolta was always impressed with their safety record and is known for flying the longest routes around the world. It was through Qantas that Travolta purchased his Boeing 707 aircraft, the most impressive in his fleet.
As with many stars they have huge incomes and so can afford extravagant homes. The Travoltas own four such homes in Maine, California, Hawaii, and in Ocala Florida which is their main residence and also their largest. Maybe the most extravagant thing about it is that it also functions as an airport and two runways which lead straight to their front door.
The home is actually situated in a residential airpark. The Travoltas chose this location on purpose as they wanted to be able to access their airplanes at any time. In an interview with Australia’s Today program, Travolta was quoted in saying that “We designed the house for the jets and to have at our access the world at a moment’s notice.”
Being passionate about something is a wonderful thing, and we all know Travolta is passionate about planes and flying. He is lucky enough to be able to share this passion with a good friend, Marlon Brando, with whom he has co-piloted a number of flights before. Travolta had dreams to co-pilot with some of the legends of flying which included Howard Hughes, a genius of his time who was plagued by mental health issues and OCD. Hughes was brought back to life in the film, The Aviator when Leonardo DiCaprio took on the role.
His other dream co-pilot would have been Charles Lindbergh who was the first person to fly solo, non-stop all the way over the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, both of these ambitions will remain dreams for John as both Lindbergh and Hughes sadly passed away many years ago.
Kirstie Alley and Travolta
Kirstie Alley and John Travolta are old friends. They first met when they starred opposite each other in the hit movie, Look Who’s Talking, and again in the sequel Look Who’s Talking Now. They discovered that they shared many interests including Scientology. It took years for Alley to move past her romantic feelings for Travolta.
It’s interesting she felt that way because at the time they met she was married to Parker Stevenson, despite declaring to Barbara Walters that he was “the love of my life.” Kirstie remained faithful to Stevenson, and now she and Travolta are the best of friends.
Cruise vs. Travolta
You would be forgiven for assuming that Tom Cruise and John Travolta are good friends. In fact, this is not true at all. Despite having mutual friends, being part of the Hollywood scene and being devoted believers in Scientology, the two are not at all close
In Leah Remini’s book entitled, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” she reveals that Tom Cruise doesn’t like John Travolta or Kirstie Alley for that matter. This rumor was confirmed when neither Travolta or Alley was invited to Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes, back in 2006.
Life in the Travolta home was pretty plain sailing, and relatively normal, as normal as life can be when your dad is one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. This was until their lives were wrecked by the tragic death of Jett Travolta who died at just 16 years old after suffering a seizure. Jett had a younger sister who was only eight at the time her big brother died in such tragic circumstances
A few days after the accident, the Travoltas released a statement which spoke of Jett. It said, “Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered.” Any parent who loses a child will tell you, it is the hardest pain you will ever have to endure, and you will think about them every day.
At times of tragedy, some people prefer to grieve alone, others rely on the love and support of their closest friends and family. This is exactly what the Travoltas decided to do, and they sought strength from the love they had been shown, not just by those closest to them but from their many fans too. The Travoltas said it was this outpouring of love which has helped through this darkest of times.
In a statement on their website, they said, “It is a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness in the human spirit that gives us hope for a brighter future.” Their lives would never be quite the same again, but the couple decided to move forward with their lives and on November 23, 2010, in Florida, the family welcomed a healthy baby boy weighing in at 8lbs 3 oz and who was named Benjamin.
To celebrate 25 years of marriage takes hard work and dedication and John and Kelly opened up to Closer Weekly about what they do to keep things on track. The underlying thought is that they care deeply for one another and have a genuine loving bond.
They also told the magazine that they both have an instinct to want to protect the other. Most married couples will also tell you to try and keep things fresh. Have new experiences together, so you continue to grow as a couple and move together through the different phases of life. Kelly agreed with all of these things and added that it’s important to make time for each other. “Keep doing things, just the two of you” she added.
It’s also important to be a team when it comes to parenting and to have a united front. This isn’t the case in the Travolta household as the kids know that John is a total pushover. You could say that John is a “Yes Dad.” It’s something you have to do says John, admitting to the Daily Mail that he will say yes to pretty much anything when it comes to their youngest son, Ben.
Kelly added that if Ben were to ask her for ice cream at midnight, she would, of course, tell him that it was too late and he needs to go to bed. Two minutes later he would ask his dad and John would tell him, “Sure! Do you want hot fudge on that?” How do we get an invite to the Travolta house for a midnight ice cream?
Ella Travolta Now
Many of those who are in show business would not encourage their children following in their footsteps. This is not the case in the Travolta household as their daughter Ella Bley is well on the way to becoming an actress in her own right. Now as a young adult she is honing her craft just as her father did.
When John was asked at the 2017 SAG awards about whether he encouraged her acting career, he answered positively and said, “Yes, I want her to because she is so good at it. She is such a good performer.” Fathers are always their daughters biggest fans, but in this case, he may have a point.
For a Hollywood star appearance is, and for John Travolta, he put a lot of care into his looks especially when it came to his hair and facial hair. He has dyed it different colors and even added in a weave to give it more volume. Generally speaking, each new look is for a specific role he is going to play.
The same goes for his facial hair which has seen a number of different styles including goatee beards and handlebar mustaches. Each of these different looks he would have done for different roles he was playing.
Dance With Princess Diana
One of the most iconic moments in John Travolta’s life was in 1985 when he danced with Princess Diana at the White House. It took place at a gala dinner hosted by the President at the time, Ronald Reagan. It was a surreal moment for both of them.
According to reports from the event, Nancy Raegan said that Diana wanted to dance with John Travolta, so he asked her, and she accepted. He says to this day it was one of the best moments of his life. Speaking of the moment, he said that they, “were off for 15 minutes of dancing. I’m so honored that I was able to experience it.”
You’re The One That I Want
When Travolta and the Australian actress/ singer Olivia Newton-John worked together when they starred as Danny Zuko, and Sandy Olson in on-screen musical Grease everyone could see the genuine chemistry between the two. Newton-John is probably one of Travolta’s all-time crushes.
The rumors of a romance started spreading which were not silenced when they starred in other movies together including, “Two of a kind.” The romance never went anywhere serious, and the two remain close friends to this day. You can often see them hanging out at Hollywood events reminiscing about the good old days.
Not every role you choose is going to be a success, and for Travolta, the dip in his career came when he starred in the movie, Urban Cowboy, following which was a string of failed films which had very poor reviews and didn’t do well at the box office either. This was despite him being offered multiple roles that were sure-fire hits.
Not every decision is the right decision at the time, and this led to a downturn in movie offers and a period of quiet for Travolta. As we know, this wasn’t the end of his career, and soon enough, he was making good decisions and appearing in huge hits once again. Travolta had re-found his mojo.
A Singing Sensation
Most of Travolta’s career has been focused on acting and dancing, but he is the triple threat and can also belt out a tune. After appearing in Grease he could have taken the same route as his co-star, Olivia Newton-John and become a successful singer, but he decided to stick with acting.
John Travolta did make one foray into singing as a young 22-year-old when he released a love song entitled, “let her in.” It captured the hearts and minds of the American public and eventually made it to the number 10 spot on the Billboard charts.
The tables began to turn once again for John Travolta when he starred opposite Kirstie Alley as a young taxi driver in Look Who’s Talking. The movie was released in 1989 and made a phenomenal $297 million at the box office. The producers knew they were on to a winner as this was Travolta’s biggest box office win since Grease. They decided to make a number of sequels ushering in a new era of success. Some called this his “John-aissance,” which was well and truly in full swing when in 1994 he was offered a role in Quinten Tarantino’s new movie, Pulp Fiction.
Travolta played opposite Samuel L Jackson and earned himself an Academy Award Nomination for best actor for his role as Vincent Vega. This was almost like a rebirth for Travolta reaching new heights and successes. Of course with this was more fame and fortune.
Pulp fiction may not have been big budget, but it had catapulted Travolta into an area of A-list movies with top actors. In the long string of successful films for which he was given top roles during the nineties included playing opposite Nicolas Cage as an FBI agent in the thriller, Faceoff.
He also played the role of a loan shark in Get Shorty and as an attorney in Civil Action. It wasn’t until the end of the nineties when John Travolta was cast as a presidential candidate who was similar in many ways to Bill Clinton in the movie Primary Colors. The role was demanding and challenging, and Travolta would have to make some drastic changes to his appearance to make the character believable.
For his role in Primary Colors in 1998, for which he would be portraying former President Bill Clinton during his first presidential campaign in 1992, the directors and producers thought it might be more believable if Travolta gained some weight to portray the role.
They asked him to gain about thirty pounds which were a departure from his slim and svelte physique in movies like Grease. To do so, he said he got to binge-eat burgers and junk food, to which he admitted to enjoying. “It’s been fun gaining it,” he said.
When it comes to acting, you are always on the stage, but there is no bigger stage than the Academy Awards ceremony. Travolta managed to embarrass himself when in 2014 he introduced Idina Menzel and Adele Dazeem. Surely he’s learned to read and autocue by now? He received lots of criticism for his mistake, but he took it in good spirits and sent the singer his apologies with a large bouquet of flowers.
Menzel accepted his apology but got her own back the following year when the roles were reversed, and she introduced him as “Glom Gazino.” Everyone got a good laugh, but it got a bit uncomfortable when he joined her on stage and caressed her face. No one was quite sure what was going on, but everyone took it in good spirits.
Another Oscar Oops
This wasn’t the only time John Travolta would get himself into hot water. There was another unfortunate incident at the Oscars that same year when on the red carpet, Travolta approached Scarlett Johansson to give her a kiss hello just as she was being snapped by photographers. The result was an awkward-looking surprise kiss.
Johansson was quick to jump to the defense of John Travolta saying that within the context it was a welcome gesture and was very sweet. She continued on to say, “That still photo does not reflect what preceded and followed if you see the moment live.” They say a picture says a thousand words, but sometimes you need a few extra to explain things.
Gere’s Indebted to Travolta
Richard Gere says he is strangely indebted to John Travolta because some of his major roles were ones that were first offered to, and subsequently turned down by John Travolta. It wasn’t just one such role, but there were four significant films which included Gere’s breakout role in American Gigolo.
There were also roles in the films, Days of Heaven and An Officer and a Gentleman. Perhaps most famously, Travolta turned down a role to be in the adaptation of the Broadway musical, Chicago, a role which Gere gladly took and which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Of course, Gere gained these roles on his own merit, but it’s funny to think of what might have been for Travolta.
Nick Young Stole Travolta’s Swag
Aside from awards nominations and accolades, John Travolta also has a victory dance that was inspired by Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, Nick Young. Nick played for the Lakers between 2013-2017 and is known as “Swaggy P” which is short for, “The Prophet of Swag.” Aside from his incredible talent, whenever he scores off of a three-pointer, he will do a dance reminiscent of some John Travolta moves.
He claims that this was from a dream he had where God instructed him to be “a man going back and forth like John Travolta.”, something that we know John is very happy about as he says he “loves it” and thinks it’s “awesome”!
OJ Simpson Criticisms
In 2016 there was once again interest around the OJ Simpson murder trials. This had something to do with the ESPN documentary entitled, “OJ: Made in America” which was released at the same time as “The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.” Both of these were critically acclaimed.
Travolta played the role of Robert Schapiro, a lawyer who was at the forefront of the trial and part of OJ’s “dream team.” Travolta was criticized by Schapiro for not going to meet him and get to know him. Schapiro said the portrayal was not accurate, but then he might say that as he didn’t come across as the nicest of characters in the show.
Cutting Some Bangs
We know that John Travolta’s passion for airplanes isn’t limited to just flying them. He loves the whole concept of aviation. So, when Buzz Aldrin launched a non-profit organization called ShareSpace which encouraged the teaching of science and math, John Travolta was happy to put his name to it and help raise money.
To do so, he took part in a celebrity auction where he would re-enact the famous dance scene with his character and Uma Thurman's. The winning bidder was a dedicated fan and wished to emulate Uma Thurman's look so asked Travolta to cut bangs into her hair. He duly obliged and gave her hair a snip there and then.
Gotti Get Me Some Travolta
John Gotti, who was head of the infamous Gambino family, one of the most ruthless criminal families has got to be a tough role to play, but it was Travolta who was deemed talented enough to capture the character of Gotti.
Along with other A-list stars including Stacy Keach from Prison Break, Travolta played the role of one of the most powerful and influential mob bosses of all time. With the many twists and turns in Gotti’s life, it makes for a thrilling movie plot that Travolta has the challenge of depicting with an emotional and sometimes raw performance.
When their son, Jett tragically passed away at the young age of 16 from a freak accident they must have thought that was enough sadness for a lifetime. Yet again, the Travoltas suffered a terribly sad accident when they flew to Maine airport.
They had brought their dogs with them who had been taken for a quick walk around the grounds of the airport. A liaison was said to be left responsible for taking the dogs out, but unfortunately, during their walk, they were hit by an airport vehicle and didn’t survive the accident. The airport was very sorry and sent condolence flowers and a card to the Travoltas.
Good Vs. Evil
Learning how to play a character is a skill and something that takes years to perfect, a talent Travolta knows a lot about. He always says it’s easier to play the bad guy as opposed to the good guy. When asked about what kind of roles he preferred Travolta said he found playing the bad guys a more liberating experience.
They are not held back my morals or restrictions, you can let loose and just not care. Good guys place these restrictions on themselves and have to navigate their behavior in line with their own moral code, which makes it more challenging to add personal touches to a character.
He’s an Author
If you thought to be the triple threat of actor, dancer and singer weren’t enough then you can add author to the list of talents Travolta seems to possess. In 1984, amidst all of the Grease and Saturday Night Fever madness, Travolta released a book entitled, John Travolta Staying Fit. This was a complete guide to body shaping and conditioning through weight resistance training and modern dance.
If that wasn’t enough, in 1997, he released a second book dedicated to his love of aviation which told the story of a young boy who dreamt about flying planes one day. The book was called, Propeller One-Way Night Coach, A Fable for All Ages, which surely touched the hearts and minds of other young wannabe pilots.
A Career of a Lifetime
Travolta has had a wide and varied acting career and enjoyed the heights of success. He has a fantastic record of high box office takings with at least 10 of his films grossing over $100 million and a further eight managing to double that figure with takings of over $200 million. Producers know that having his name on the bill will help increase revenues at the box office and so he has become one of the most experienced and sought-after actors in Hollywood.
He has had a string of hit movies which include, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Look Who’s Talking, Wild Hogs, Hairspray, Bolt, Pulp Fiction and Phenomenon. Amazingly, despite being nominated, John Travolta is yet to receive an Academy Award.
We know that Travolta has played a range of roles from mob bosses to Danny Zukko, and from Hairspray to Pulp fiction, the genres couldn’t be more different. No one imagined, however, that he would take a role in an animated movie, but he did exactly that for his part in Bolt. For this movie he gave his voice to the lead character, also called Bolt and starred alongside Miley Cyrus.
The movie showcased both of their singing voices and Travolta was once again able to demonstrate how talented he is. Bolt proved that he was still relevant and able to make fresh movies that would delight those in Hollywood as well as a wider audience.
It’s not unusual for there to be a romantic scandal for Hollywood stars and John Travolta is no different. In 2014 a former pilot for Travolta called Douglas Gotterba claimed that he had been having intimate relations with Travolta for six years. Gotterba broke his silence in a tell-all story with the National Enquirer.
The Travolta family said the rumors were false and “ridiculous.” When the accusation was made, Gotterba said that he was not breaking any kind of non-disclosure agreement and said the story took place when he worked for the Travolta family aircraft company.
Man on Man
This would not be the only rumor circulating about John Travolta’s fidelity or his sexuality. He has been photographed a number of times getting up close and personal to certain people. Travolta claims he treats all of his male and female friends the same and kisses them all hello and goodbye. We assume that is what is going on in this photo with Kirk Douglas.
There was, however, the occasion when Travolta was caught on camera with a friend, whose identity remains unknown when they were about to take off aboard Travolta’s private airplane. This may have been the biggest scandal to beset him.
Travolta is one of the most famous and prominent believers in Scientology. Despite having been brought up as a Roman Catholic, Travolta decided to convert to Scientology in 1975. Travolta has been a firm believer for over 40 years and says he has loved having it as an influence on his life.
In an interview on Good Morning America, he said it had been a thing of beauty in his life, helping him to save the lives of others and being a source of immense support and strength through the grieving period for his son Jet. He was quoted by saying, “I’ve saved lives with it and saved my own life several times. Through my loss of my son, it helped me every step of the way for two years solid, and here I am.”
Living In Fear
Travolta’s relationship with Scientology hasn’t always been plain sailing. In 1991 the Church of Scientology believed that Travolta might be looking to leave the Church. Executive Director, William Franks thought that Travolta was worried that the Church would expose details about his personal life. For the Church of Scientology, secrecy is held in high regard.
These secrets have not been revealed, perhaps they are subject to a non-disclosure agreement. All this makes his relationship with the Church of Scientology, less than straightforward.
Still Defends Scientology
Even though it hasn’t always been a smooth ride for John Travolta and Scientology he is still willing to defend it through and through. When HBO released a documentary on the Scientology, it did not show the Church in a positive light. Travolta was asked his opinion on the program and said he could not comment properly as he had not experienced the negative aspects of Scientology that the program portrayed.
He believed that those who had spoken out against Scientology were merely, “disgruntled with their experiences.” This is in contrast to Travolta’s experience which he is quoted as saying it has, “been so beautiful for me, that I can’t even imagine attacking it.”
For as long as he can remember, John Travolta had dreamed of being an actor. So much so, that he dropped out of high school so he could focus all his time into making a success of it. His first move was to New York City where he got his first professional acting job in the line up for Grease the musical, with whom he toured.
His next job was with another Broadway hit show called, “Over here!” This was a fantastic opportunity for Travolta to develop his acting skills and built up his resume. Once he felt confident that this was something he could really make a go of he packed his bags and headed for the showbiz capital of the world, Los Angeles.
Lawsuits and Assault
May of 2012 was a bad time for Travolta as he was hit with allegations of unwanted advances by an anonymous masseuse. The masseuse filed a lawsuit against Travolta. This revelation came just days after another set of accusations. This time from two men represented by Gloria Allred.
The men had sued Travolta for battery and assault after they claimed they had been subject to his violent behavior in a hotel in Beverly Hills and at another hotel in Atlanta. Travolta remained strong, and eventually, his legal team proved that the stories weren’t true and the allegations were dropped.
The cases in 2012 were not the first allegations Travolta had had to face. In 2009 which on a Royal Caribbean cruise, Travolta is alleged to have spoken out of turn to one of the workers on the ship. According to the allegations, Travolta had called him “beautiful” and said that he would “take care of” him. While John Travolta couldn’t deny he was on the cruise, he could deny the claims made by Mr. Zanzi, the cruise ship worker at the center of the allegations.
Travolta, when asked about the claims called them “ludicrous and inane” and thought it was just another person looking for a few minutes in the spotlight. The claims were eventually dropped before a trial took place.
Another allegation was made in 2012 but Travolta’s former co-star from Grease, Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie. Together with his ex-fiancée, Vikki Lizzi claimed in an article in the National Enquirer that John Travolta had once again made unwanted advances, but on this occasion, it took place in the 1990s and was directed at Conaway.
Travolta’s legal team vehemently denied the claims and said they were nothing more than, “a malicious tabloid agenda to boost lagging sales by running outrageous defamatory stories about my client sourced by people seeking notoriety or a payday.”
Jett sadly died at the tragically young age of sixteen, but it wasn’t until after his death that John Travolta revealed some of the many difficulties his son had lived with. Aside from being autistic, Jett suffered from a complicated combination of neurological disorders, which meant that he often had seizures.
The details of Jett’s condition were revealed in a hearing as a result of attempted extortion. John Travolta felt it was important for people to know how his son had suffered throughout his short life and what ultimately brought him to his untimely death.
As an experienced pilot and aviation enthusiast John Travolta has been able to experience some amazing things. This isn’t to say he hasn’t had to deal with an emergency from time to time. This particular emergency took place on a late November evening back in 1992. It was a cloudy night, and Travolta was piloting his Gulfstream N728T. As he was making his way along with one of the busiest airwaves he suffered a complete engine failure.
Travolta had to think quick and luckily noticed the Washington DC airport between a break in the clouds. He was able to guide the plane, along with his co-pilot to an emergency landing, where luckily no one was harmed.
A Near Miss
As part of the full engine failure, the plane's radio system also had a total blackout. Air traffic control became very nervous as to the whereabouts of Travolta’s plane and suspended activity until they knew its location and where it might be landing. In an attempt to try and be helpful it was decided to have another plane guide John and his co-pilot to the runway. To do this, they diverted a fully booked Boeing 727.
However, due to the fact Travolta’s radios were also out, he had no idea this was the plan and so narrowly avoided a mid-air collision. Luckily all was fine, both planes landed safely, and no one was hurt.
Taking Its Toll
Jett’s life was from an early age plagued with difficulties. At the age of just two, he was rushed to hospital with what appeared to be flu-like symptoms. In fact, it was the far more serious, Kawasaki disease, which is an auto-immune condition affecting inflammation in the arteries. It is severe but treatable. While it's not contagious, it was likely to been related to Jett’s many other health issues, with which he suffered his entire life.
It wasn’t until Montel Williams interviewed Kelly Preston in 2003 that she revealed what had happened during this ordeal.
Couldn’t Make The Grade
John Travolta was not an academic child when he was at school, he was too focused on perfecting his acting skills. Indeed, this was mirrored in some of the roles he played where he was one of the “cool kids” but not necessarily top of his class, roles such as Grease and Welcome Back Kotter. It didn’t take long for Travolta to realize that the performing arts were his calling and he became less and less interested in his studies, which was something his teachers were concerned about.
Regarding his relationship with his teachers, Travolta would just try and charm them and was once quoted as saying he “tried to communicate with them on a more adult level.”
Dropping Out Of High School
It is said that life imitates art, and for John Travolta, art imitated life. Such was the case that because he was so focused on his acting career, he decided to drop out of high school-aged sixteen to pursue his dreams. Landing the role of Danny Zuko, a charming and popular high school kid, who was not focused on his studies was, to an extent, art imitating life for Travolta.
What it didn’t reflect was that for Travolta, he participated in football and basketball with his friends, but they never really understood his devotion to acting and why Travolta would head to the acting studios at night to work on his craft. Perhaps now that he is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood, they understand.
Being a successful actor means that you have resources to help those less fortunate than you. This is very much the case with John Travolta who often shows selfless behavior for those in need. This was the case in 2010 when news of the devastating earthquake in Haiti hit. The Haitian people and their government just didn’t have the resources to help those affected. It was when Travolta heard this that he loaded his Boeing 707 with food, supplies, medical equipment, and doctors and flew the plane to Haiti to deliver the goods personally.
This is one of the many perks of having your own airplane that in times of need you can deliver the goods yourself.
Out of the spotlight
John Travolta has had a long and fruitful acting career, but in the early 2000s things weren’t going as well as they usually do. He made some poor choices when it came to his career. Most notably was Battlefield Earth which he co-produced as well as starring in.
The movie was panned by the critics and performed very poorly at the box office bringing in virtually nothing. They say you’re only as good as your last movie so Travolta may have thought his career was over. He shouldn’t have been so worried as his reputation was strong and there were to be some exciting times ahead.
A model figure
Travolta has proved throughout his career that he is the triple threat. He can sing, dance, and of course, he can act. This has brought his incredible success with fame and fortune. As a result, lots of brands want to work with him and for him to promote their products. He has been turning heads for many years, such was the case when he became the first man to appear on the cover of the popular magazine McCalls in 1978.
At the time this was revolutionary as who would have thought to put someone who wasn’t a model on the front of a magazine, and moreover, he was a male actor. This was not a traditional choice by any means but began a new trend of inviting men to be on the covers, and not just female models.
His Romantic Preference
No one is really sure where Travolta’s romantic preferences lie. He appears to be happily married to his wife of many years, Kelly Preston, with whom he has had three children. However, with a string of allegations from men relating to unwanted romantic advances from Travolta, it is hard to continue denying his situation.
Travolta is clearly fed up with such claims and decided to speak out about it in an interview with the Daily Beast he was quoted as saying, “I found it most offensive with the loss of my son. I felt like that was the lowest I’d ever felt. [That] stuff is always going to be interesting to somebody, but you stay away from family. This is every celebrity’s Achilles heel. It’s just about people wanting money. That’s all. It happens on many levels.”
Actors on Actors
It is essential to try and stay relevant in Hollywood, and even though Travolta’s career is well established and has a strong reputation, he still thought it would be a good idea to appear on the PBS for Variety special, “Actors on Actors” with another hugely popular star, Rob Lowe.
The two chatted about the allegations relating to Travolta’s supposed sexual misconduct and his preparations for the role of Robert Schapiro in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” which had an all-star cast including David Schwimmer, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Nathan Lane.
Travolta has had a long and successful career, but what is next for him, we don’t know. Perhaps in the age of Netflix where TV is king, he will do more work like “The People vs. O.J Simpson: American Crime Story.” Maybe the days of the big-budget movies like Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Pulp Fiction are behind him. Perhaps he will decide its time to focus on his family and his love of aviation?
What we do know is that whatever Travolta sets his mind to, he goes for it, full throttle until he has reached the top of his game with it. Back in 2016, some new opportunities were being offered to him for stage and screen, so we wait with bated breath to see what he comes out with next.