John Travolta lost his first love, the actress Diana Hyland, to breast cancer in 1977, when he was 23 and she was 41, ten years before he met his wife Kelly Preston, who died from the same disease on Sunday.
Travolta and Hyland met while working on the movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in which Hyland played Travolta’s mother.
The film was released in 1976, a year before Diana died in Travolta’s arms.
He’d planned to buy a house with her and marry her, he said, but never got the chance.
John Travolta and Diana Hyland in 1976. She died of breast cancer the following year at the age of 41. Travolta was 23
In an interview with People three months after she died, he said: ‘I have never been more in love with anyone in my life. I thought I was in love before, but I wasn’t.
‘From the moment I met her I was attracted. We were like two maniacs talking all the time on the set of Bubble.
Travolta met Hyland while filming the movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in 1976
‘After a month it became romantic.’
The pair spent weekends traveling and spending time with Diana’s four-year-old son from a previous marriage.
‘I had more fun with Diana than I ever had in my life.
‘And the odd thing is just before we met I thought I would never have a successful relationship.
‘She told me that she too had thought the same thing. Then, bam,’ he said.
She’d already had a mastectomy two years before they met, and was confident her cancer would not return.
When she got her second diagnosis, Travolta was filming Saturday Night Fever in New York.
He flew back to be with her. She died two weeks after finding out the cancer had returned.
Hyland had a four-year-old son from a previous marriage who Travolta embraced as his own. He said he planned to marry her and had picked out a house for them when she died
A 1976 Getty image shows Travolta and Hyland lying in bed together
Travolta continued filming Saturday Night Fever when Hyland died
‘I gave her great joy the last months of her life. I always feel she is with me—I mean her intentions are. Diana always wanted the world for me in every possible way,’ he said.
Hyland died aged 41 in 1977
Travolta went on to film Grease but was overcome with grief throughout and struggled to remember his lines.
After Hyland, he had relationships with Catherine Deneuve and Marilou Henner.
He met Preston in 1987 and the pair married in 1991.
When he and Preston met on the set of The Experts, she was married to the actor Kevin Gage.
Travolta has described it as ‘love at first sight’. Preston said previously: ‘Well, I was not that happily married, let’s put it that way. I was really with the wrong person.’
She and Gage divorced in 1987 but she did not immediately start dating Travolta.
Instead, she moved in with George Clooney, and had a two-year romance with him.
She also dated Charlie Sheen before Travolta.
The pair became engaged on New Year’s Eve in 1990 in a hotel in Gstaad.
Pictured left: Kelly Preston and John Travolta in The Experts – the 1988 production on which they first met. Pictured right, Preston as Avery Bishop in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire
Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991
Travolta announced on Instagram that Kelly died on Sunday morning. They are pictured in a recent photo together