Once upon a time, John Travolta attended a 1985 gala held by then-president Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan at the White House. On this dazzling night full of glamour and high profile attendees, Travolta got the opportunity to dance with Princess Diana in front of a crowd. As anyone in his shoes would, the Grease star made an effort to lock in every small detail of what he described as a “magical moment” into his mind. Speaking to Esquire Mexico, Travolta recalled the moment he asked Princess Diana to dance, and shared a small detail that hints the royal may have already been showing signs she was unhappy.
“We were at the White House. It’s midnight. The stage is like a dream,” Travolta said. “I approach her, touch her elbow, invite her to dance. She spins around and gives me that captivating smile, just a little sad, and accepts my invitation. And there we were, dancing together as if it were a fairytale.”
It’s disappointing to read Travolta remembers the royal looking “a little sad.” At the White House gala, Princess Diana was accompanied by her husband, Prince Charles. The two had been married for four years and would go on to continue their romantic relationship for another seven years before announcing their formal separation in 1992, finalizing the divorce in 1996. Looking back at the course of their relationship, Princess Diana proved to be deeply unhappy with royal life and living up to such high standards under extreme scrutiny.
Travolta’s memory shows that there were perhaps already signs that Princess Diana was in distress. As Meghan Markle explained in her interview with Oprah, there were moments were fulfilling your duty as a royal meant putting on the dress and attending an event with a smile on your face. It’s heartbreaking that both women had to put their own feelings aside for the sake of the royal family.
“I didn’t think they’d ask me to dance with her. I had the great privilege and honor of doing so, and I thought, ‘There must be a reason for doing this and I better give it my all,’” Travolta said of Nancy Reagan who he says encouraged him to dance with the Princess of Wales in a 2007 interview with Dutch TV station Één, as reported by Vanity Fair.
“It was her highlight of being in the United States; it was her favorite moment. So I feel I made her life better, she made my life better, and I’m very sorry that she’s not here,” he added.
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