"My heart starts to race"

John Travolta Revisits Story Behind Legendary Dance With Princess Diana

John Travolta Looks Back On Dance With Princess Diana

John Travolta has revisited the story of how he ended up dancing with Princess Diana at the White House in 1985. A new Princess Diana documentary premieres today on PBS, and the film features Travolta discussing the famous event and how "the whole room cleared" when they hit the dance floor.

John Travolta just broke down all the details on his night dancing with Princess Diana.

The new documentary In Their Own Words: Diana, Princess of Wales premieres today on PBS, and it features a segment with Travolta revisiting the famous dance at the White House. Here's how he remembered the iconic moment.

John Travolta on the real story of dancing with Princess Diana

The year was 1985, and the Princess of Wales was in the US on a royal visit during Ronald Reagan's presidency. She attended a dinner at the White House, and Travolta was also invited.

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Princess Diana and John Travolta on November 9th, 1985, at the White House.

Travolta said he "went with a very humble attitude" to the White House since he "was an extra in a room of very important people," according to a People preview of the new film.

The now 67-year-old then revealed that First Lady Nancy Reagan was the mastermind behind the dance. He explained:

"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?' And I said, 'Well of course.'"

Moment Travolta asked Diana to dance at the White House

Right on cue, Reagan escorted Travolta to meet Diana at midnight. Here's how the actor described the moment:

"My heart starts to race, you know, and 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?'"

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Princess Diana and John Travolta on November 9th, 1985, at the White House.

Travolta added that "the whole room cleared" and they "danced for what felt like 15 minutes" — to music from his film Saturday Night Fever. The moment became a sensation, and Diana's gown from the night earned the nickname: the "Travolta Dress."

In another interview earlier this year, Travolta also described the dance as "a magical moment" and "one of the highlights" of his life.

PBS's In Their Own Words: Diana, Princess of Wales premieres on Aug. 8.