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A look at a friendship with Dame Olivia Newton-John — that has endured for four decades — through the eyes of Grease co-star John Travolta

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta pictured at the 40th Anniversary of Grease in 2018. (Supplied: FilmMagic/Jon Kopaloff)

John Travolta has paid tribute to Dame Olivia Newton-John following her death. Theirs is a friendship that has spanned more than 40 years. 

Taking to Instagram, Travolta, 68, said his Grease co-star — who played Sandy to his Danny— "made all of our lives so much better."

"My dearest Olivia... 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! Your Danny, your John!"

Following the release of the 1978 musical comedy, the two remained lifelong friends. 

Together they publicly supported each other through illness, the death of family members, and at times reunited to celebrate each other and the film that started it all.

Where it all began — hopelessly devoted to you

"You're the one that I want," sang Olivia Newton-John to John Travolta in an iconic scene from the musical Grease. (Supplied: Paramount Pictures)

Name a more iconic duo than Sandy and Danny from Grease.

This Randal Kleiser-directed film was not just Olivia Newton John's biggest movie success, but her first collaboration with Travolta.

The two delivered the performances between rebellious teenager Danny Zuko (Travolta) and innocent Sandy Olsson (Newton-John) that went on to generate $USD387 million worldwide at the box office.

It remains one of the biggest movie musicals of all time.

The high school dance scene from Grease saw Olivia Newton-John as Sandy and John Travolta as Danny Zuko.  (Getty Images: CBS)

"We did something life-changing, making that film," Newton-John told People Magazine in 2018 on the film's 40th anniversary.

"You got the feeling from the energy that something was happening. It was a huge response. I feel grateful to be a part of that and to have worked with him. We've stayed friends ever since." 

A fresh-faced John Travolta (left) and Olivia Newton-John in 1977 at a party for Grease director Randal Kleiser. (Getty Images: Fotos International/Frank Edwards)

While the on-screen chemistry between the two was evident, they became more than just on-screen co-stars. 

They shared 'a bond'

The pair were photographed out on the town in West Hollywood for dinner in 1978. (Getty Images: Ron Galella Collection)

Opening up about their 40-year friendship in 2018, Travolta said the two shared a bond.

"When you share that kind of meteoric success — and nothing has been able to exceed it — you share a bond. 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."

Kelly Preston, left, with her husband, John Travolta, and Olivia Newton-John, in 2006. (Reuters: Fred Prouser)

Throughout her continued experience with cancer, Newton-John said Travolta was a dedicated friend and offered continual support over the years.

"[In tough times] John always reaches out to me," Newton-John said of Travolta in 2018.

Likewise, Newton-John posted a touching tribute to Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston, when she passed away from cancer in July 2020. 

She had shared that Preston's passing had "really strengthened"  her resolve to form the Olivia Newton-John Foundation because she had "lost way too many friends to cancer, family members".

"Having lived with it, this is my dream. This is my passion to see a world beyond cancer," she said.

Through thick and thin

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta at the 40th anniversary screening of Grease in 2018. (Reuters: Mario Anzuoni)

The two decided against starring in Grease 2, but they co-starred again in romantic comedy film Two of a Kind in 1983.

But it was the original film that often publicly reunited the pair.

Newton-John and Travolta reprised their roles as Sandy and Danny at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre in Florida in December 2019.

She wore Sandy's yellow skirt-and-cardigan set, and Travolta donned his black jacket and coifed 1950s hairdo.

It was also Travolta who presented Newton-John with the Lifetime Achievement award in Los Angeles in 2006. 

Olivia Newton-John was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Travolta at the G'day LA Ball in Hollywood. (AP: Branimir Kvartuc)

A few years later the pair released the album This Christmas, benefiting her Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre and his Jett Travolta Foundation for children with special needs.

"We will see you down the road and we will all be together again … Your Danny, your John!" Travolta shared in his heartfelt tribute to Olivia Newton-John. (Getty Images: CBS)

Music and film contemporaries continue to share their tributes for the Grease Star. 

"Olivia's quite a spectacular human being," Travolta said at the 40th anniversary of Grease.

"She's worthy of good friendship."

Visit ABC iview for our Remembering Olivia Newton-John collection.

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