The other day I stood in the supermarket checkout line and spotted the February 6 issue of the tabloid National Enquirer. Lisa Marie and John Travolta were side-by-side on the cover, just above the headline “Divorce Shocker: Whose marriage can be saved. Whose can’t.”
I immediately flashed back to something in my collection of tabloids with Elvis cover stories. However, the issue I remembered wasn’t about him. It was the August 12, 1978 issue of Midnight Globe, and the cover featured Priscilla and John Travolta. The headline reads “Priscilla Presley, Travolta in New Romance.”
So, in the span of 33 years, John Travolta has appeared on tabloid covers with both Elvis’ wife and daughter. Let’s take a look inside and see what’s going on.
First, it should be pointed out that the current magazine does not link Travolta and Lisa together in any kind of divorce shocker. Rather, there are two separate stories about the marital problems each supposedly has going on. In Lisa’s case, some of the problems between her and husband Michael Lockwood are related to different opinions on how to raise their three-year-old twin daughters and to how she keeps him removed from anything to do with the Presley finances.
However, Midnight Globe says the biggest source of stress is Lisa’s relentless determination to restart her singing career. She apparently considers her third album (and first since 2005) to be a do-or-die effort. Lisa is now 44, and she hasn’t had a hit song in seven years, so this might actually be the case. The CD, titled Storm and Grace, comes out on May 1, so we should know pretty soon if her singing career will continue. One way or the other, let’s hope everything works out for Lisa and Michael.
Travolta’s problems stem from the fact that he is an accomplished pilot and has his own airplane and airstrip right at his house. According to National Enquirer, he has recently developed a penchant for taking unannounced flights to Tahiti, Miami, San Juan, Mexico, Central America, and even Bosnia. The good news supposedly is that his wife Kelly Preston had threatened Travolta with divorce if it continued, and he has sworn off his globetrotting ways.
The John Travolta and Priscilla story back in 1978 is much more interesting, and it also includes Lisa Marie. According to Midnight Globe, Elvis’ ten-year-old daughter was a big fan of Vinnie Barbarino, the character Travolta played on the hit TV show Welcome Back Kotter. Lisa knew her mom had Hollywood connections, and talked Priscilla into arranging a visit to the set.
When they got there, Travolta was charming and gracious, and took them to lunch at the studio commissary. Supposedly, there was immediate chemistry between Priscilla and Travolta. At the time the article was published, “sources” reported they had three or four secret dates.
They each had their own reasons for not appearing in public together. Travolta did not want to take any chances of offending his hoard of loyal teeny-bopper fans. Priscilla had a TV special about Elvis in the works and didn’t want any publicity that might distract from it.
Midnight Globe did mention that Priscilla was 33 and Travolta was only 24, but had no mention that either of them considered their age difference any problem. It is interesting that Priscilla had previously experienced the reverse of this. She was only 14 when she came into the life on 24 year-old Elvis.
John Travolta is now 57, and his career continues with meaty roles in movies. It is a safe assumption that his face will again grace the covers of the tabloids. After sharing them with Elvis’ wife and daughter, maybe he will make it a trifecta and share one with Elvis’ granddaughter. If Riley Keough and John Travolta ever appear on the same cover of National Enquirer, I’m buying that one, too.
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