John Travolta looks back on the moment he shared a ‘storybook moment’ dance with Princess Diana

‘Saturday Night Fever’ actor recalls how he mustered up the courage to ask Princess Diana for a dance

Peony Hirwani
Monday 09 August 2021 09:12
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Hollywood actor John Travolta has shared the story behind the famous photo of him dancing with Princess Diana at the White House more than three decades ago.

In a clip from the new PBS special In Their Own Words: Diana, Princess of Wales, the 67-year-old actor looks back at the events that led to his dance with the princess in 1985.

At the time, Diana was on a royal visit to the US, where she attended a dinner hosted by President Ronald Reagan at his residence.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan approached him with a special request from Princess Diana, according to Travolta.

“About 10 o’clock at night, Nancy Reagan tapped on my shoulder and said, ‘The princess, her fantasy is to dance with you. Would you like to dance with her tonight?’” he said. “And I said, ‘Well of course.’”

Reagan told Travolta she would escort him to meet Princess Diana as the clock approached midnight, so he could ask her to dance.

When the moment arrived, Travolta recalled how he managed to ask the princess for a dance “for what felt like 15 minutes.”

“I tap her on the shoulder and she turns around and looks at me, and she had that kind of bashful dip [of her chin] that she did, and she looked up at me, and I said, ‘Would you care to dance with me?’”

“The whole room cleared. We danced for what felt like 15 minutes,” the Saturday Night Fever actor said.

Diana “loved dancing, and she brought pure joy to everyone else,” according to the princess’s astrologer Debbie Frank.

“It was a storybook moment,” said Travolta. “We bowed when it was over, and, you know, she was off, and I was off, and my carriage turned into a pumpkin.”

In Their Own Words: Diana, Princess of Wales premiered on Sunday (8 August) on PBS.

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