John Travolta has been one of Hollywood’s leading men for over four decades. From his breakout roles in classics like Saturday Night Fever and Grease to blockbusters like Pulp Fiction with Uma Thurman, Travolta has long been considered a sex symbol and heartthrob. However, despite his many high-profile relationships with women over the years, Travolta has been the subject of persistent rumors and speculation regarding his sexuality.

Travolta’s Early Career Success

Travolta first captured the public’s attention with his star-making turn as Danny Zuko in the 1978 movie musical Grease. With his good looks, dancing skills, and undeniable charisma, Travolta soon became one of the hottest young stars in Tinseltown. His performance in the iconic disco drama Saturday Night Fever cemented his status as a Hollywood heartthrob.

John Travolta & Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction
John Travolta & Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction

In the 1980s, Travolta starred in hits like Urban Cowboy and Look Who’s Talking, showing his versatility as a leading man. He was linked to several of his co-stars over the years, including Olivia Newton-John, Marilu Henner, and Kirstie Alley. Alley later said Travolta was the “love of her life” though they never dated.

Persistent Gay Rumors Emerge

Even as Travolta’s fame grew, so did rumors that he was secretly gay or bisexual. In the 1980s, gay porn star Paul Barressi claimed he had an affair with Travolta that lasted several years. Barressi sold his story to the National Enquirer tabloid. Around the same time, there were alleged sightings of Travolta at Los Angeles gay bathhouses.

In 2006, photos surfaced showing Travolta kissing a male nanny. A year later, he made headlines for kissing actor Kirk Douglas at an awards show. Both incidents fueled speculation about the actor’s private life.

Sexual Assault Accusations and Other Allegations

In 2012, two male massage therapists accused Travolta of sexual battery and harassment. The claims were eventually withdrawn, with Travolta providing evidence he was not in Los Angeles when one of the alleged incidents took place.

That same year, pilot Doug Gotterba said he had a six-year romantic relationship with Travolta in the 1980s. Gotterba claimed he ended things because of the actor’s “possessiveness.” But Travolta’s camp painted him as an opportunist seeking fame and money.

“I have never heard anything crazier in my life,” Travolta said about the allegations. “This is completely made up.”

Travolta Maintains He Is Straight

Through it all, Travolta has steadfastly denied assertions about his sexuality. He points to his high-profile relationships with women as proof of his heterosexuality.


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The star of “Pulp Fiction” blockbuster was married to actress Kelly Preston from 1991 until her death in 2020. They had three children together. After Preston’s passing, Travolta said he was focusing on his family and career and was not dating anyone new.

“My relationships with women have always been serious and long-lasting,” Travolta stated.

John Travolta, Greese
John Travolta, Greese

But even after four decades in the spotlight, the rumors and speculation continue. Travolta’s sexuality remains the subject of keen interest and debate among fans, the media, and the public at large. Whether he is straight, gay, bisexual, or something else entirely may never be conclusively known. For now, it seems destined to endure as one of Hollywood’s most enduring mysteries.