‘Grease’: John Travolta Admits to ‘Sexual Tension’ On-Set With Olivia Newton-John

When it comes to teen love stories, Grease definitely ranks among the top ones. Based on a musical of the same name, it’s a feel-good movie that’s adored for its storyline and full-on song and dance sequences.

In the time since its release, Grease has gained plenty of fans and followers. But what viewers might not know is that, behind the scenes, there was apparently a lot of sexual tension between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and the rest of the cast from 'Grease'
Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and the rest of the cast from ‘Grease’ | Paramount/Getty Images

‘Grease’ is a fan-favorite teen love story

A musical romantic comedy, Grease follows the lives and loves of a group of students at the fictional Rydell High School.

It mainly focuses on Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandra Dee “Sandy” Olsson (Olivia Newton-John), who met and fell in love over the summer but fall out during the school year. But there are also plenty of other couples such as Kenickie and Rizzo (Jeff Conaway and Stockard Channing), and Frenchy and Doody (Didi Conn and Barry Pearl).

Grease released in 1978 to widespread critical and commercial acclaim, garnering positive reviews from critics and ultimately earning over $150 million globally against an $8 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). Even over 40 years later, it remains a fan-favorite for its love stories, doo-wops, and, of course, hand jives.

There was sexual tension between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John on-set

This revelation came in December 2019, when Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were participating in a Q&A session. Around the 8:00 mark, they were asked whether there was ever sexual tension on-set between them, drawing a frank “yes” from Travolta.

“I think you saw that in ‘You’re the One That I Want,'” he continued, referencing the romantic ballad Sandy and Danny performed at the end of Grease. “There’s almost resolve [of] that tension right there.”


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But John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John never actually dated

Even though Newton-John also admits to feeling tension and chemistry with Travolta, she said in a 2018 episode of the No Filter podcast that the timing was never right for them to take things to the next level.

“We were both with other people when we were filming and I think, respectfully, it just didn’t happen,” she said (via Radar Online).

But even though she and Travolta weren’t able to pursue a relationship, she said she believes their attraction to one another helped make their performances so great.

“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,” she continued.