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John Travolta | John Travolta and Diana Hyland | Source: Getty Images
John Travolta | John Travolta and Diana Hyland | Source: Getty Images

Diana Hyland Died Leaving behind Son - John Travolta Lost a Battle over Him to Addicted Dad

Oyin Balogun
Jan 15, 2024
03:00 P.M.
  • When American actor John Travolta met Diana Hyland, they instantly connected.
  • They fell in love within a month and started a one-year romance.
  • Unfortunately, things did not work out as they had planned.
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Diana Hyland on the set of “Eight Is Enough” in Los Angeles California on March 15, 1977 | Source: Getty Images

Diana Hyland on the set of “Eight Is Enough” in Los Angeles California on March 15, 1977 | Source: Getty Images

John Travolta was 23 years old and on the set of the movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" when he met Diana Hyland, who was 41 years old and was cast to play his mother in the movie. The film was released in 1976.

The 18-year age difference between John and Diana did not matter as they both instantly fell in love with each other. John reportedly said he had never been so deeply in love with anyone as he was with her.

Diana Hyland on the set of "The Skylark" on May 1, 1968 | Source: Getty Images

Diana Hyland on the set of "The Skylark" on May 1, 1968 | Source: Getty Images

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He admitted they reveled in each other's presence immediately after they met, and their relationship became romantic a month after that. The actor revealed that he thought he would never have a successful relationship with anyone before meeting her.

John Travolta smiles in a photograph, late 1970s | Source: Getty Images

John Travolta smiles in a photograph, late 1970s | Source: Getty Images

Coincidentally Diana felt the same way too. However, they both were wrong, and John admittedly had the most fun of his life with her. During their whirlwind romance, the lovebirds planned to take their relationship a notch higher and thus went house hunting. John decided to move in with his lover after finding the perfect house.

John Travolta and Diana Hyland sighting in Los Angeles on December 8, 1976 | Source: Getty Images

John Travolta and Diana Hyland sighting in Los Angeles on December 8, 1976 | Source: Getty Images

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John Travolta also had the intention to marry his beloved right after he finished filming the movie "Saturday Night Fever." Unfortunately, things did not go as planned; Diana died of breast cancer shortly after. The premiere of the movie was months after her death.

Diana Hyland in a beaded dress at a formal event in New York City, circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Diana Hyland in a beaded dress at a formal event in New York City, circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Even though she had surgery to remove the affected breast two years before her death, Diana still succumbed to the horrible illness. She had found out she was going to die two weeks before her end. Despite knowing this, the actress courageously finished filming four of the first eight episodes of "Eight Is Enough."

Diana Hyland appearing in the ABC tv series “Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law” in the episode “Final Semester” in 1973 | Source: Getty Images

Diana Hyland appearing in the ABC tv series “Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law” in the episode “Final Semester” in 1973 | Source: Getty Images

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John was away filming "Saturday Night Fever" during this time, so they only spoke for hours on the phone. However, when her death was imminent, he came back to be by her side. The day before Diana died, the duo walked in the garden together.

John Travolta smiles in a photograph, late 1970s | Source: Getty Images

John Travolta smiles in a photograph, late 1970s | Source: Getty Images

The next day, Diana died in John's arms. He reportedly felt her last breath. At her memorial, John wore a white suit that they had picked out together for the trip they planned to take to Rio after the actor was done filming.

John Travolta and Diana Hyland sighting in Los Angeles on December 8, 1976 | Source: Getty Images

John Travolta and Diana Hyland sighting in Los Angeles on December 8, 1976 | Source: Getty Images

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John wasn't able to be with another woman for a while after Diana Hyland died. He survived on his work and reveries of the past. However, he was happy that he gave Diana great joy in the last days of her life. As much as she was gone, John always felt the actress and her intentions were with him, including how Diana always wanted the world for him in every way possible.

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Before her death, Diana asked John to promise her he would continue working even if she was not around to witness things anymore. The actor said that promise and Scientology were what kept him going with his dedication to work. Diana was survived by her son Zachary Goodson.

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Diana's son, Zachary, was only three years old when his mother died. John and his sister tried to adopt him after, but his father, Joe Goodson, was naturally given custody. Zachary would later admit that his father, a film producer, cheated on his mom frequently when they were together.

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According to Zachary, his father had his demons to face at the time, as he would party every night and get high on alcohol and drugs. This and a couple of other reasons were why John and his sister felt he was unfit to care for Zachary.

Also, as part of Zachary's woes, Joe once reportedly interviewed his son's second nanny Merryl at 2 a.m. in the middle of a party while Zachary was asleep.

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Joe was drinking alcohol and taking drugs with his guests as he was conducting the interview. Merryl, from Wales, previously worked as a waitress at a whiskey bar where his father got drugs from a bouncer named Robbie.

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It was from the bouncer that he asked for a nanny recommendation, specifically someone good with kids. Merryl was only about 23 years old at the time and was very good with Zachary. She had a boyfriend who was very interested in soccer and would play with the young boy.

Zachary claims there was a time when a crazy fan tried to take him out of school, and the school authorities contacted his dad. After that incident, they moved to Lake Arrowhead, two hours east of Los Angeles, and he was about seven years old at the time.

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Zachary felt abandoned when his dad took him to Lake Arrowhead as Merryl, who did not want to be isolated with them on the mountain, resigned as his nanny. However, they made contact years later on Facebook, and he traveled down to visit her. Zachary admitted he loved reconnecting with her.

Also, Zachary said his dad had blue robe days where he would just wear his blue robe without taking his shower or doing anything all day long until nighttime when he would start partying again.

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The film producer stopped celebrating Zachary's birthdays, Christmas, or Hanukkah and also would not take him on vacations. At the time, all Zachary ever did was play with friends and harbor the thought of escaping.

Also, his dad would not take videos or pictures of him as a child, and he never really had any sense of family at that time nor felt deserving of celebrating his birthdays.

As much as Zachary's experience with his father was nothing to write home about, he found solace in what he shared with John. Zachary stated that he has always been very close to the movie star, and he bought him his first bicycle.

John also taught him how to ride a bicycle, something a father would usually teach his child. He recalled a time he was too scared to tell John he wanted to pee while driving. Zachary ended up peeing on the ground and all over the car seat.

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Zachary would get picked up in John's helicopter and fly to his ranch in Santa Barbara. He admitted that he always felt safe and loved by John. In 2016, Zachary congratulated John when he received his Emmy Award.

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He pointed out that 39 years ago, John had accepted an Emmy on his mom's behalf. "I couldn't be happier for him. Diana was smiling down on you tonight JT!" wrote Zachary.

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Zachary is now a coach, speaker, and writer who is committed to helping people live happier and healthier lives. He also has a book titled "It's Always Worse In Your Head" and a website.

Zachary is married to his wife Sarah, and John was reportedly emotional at his wedding ceremony. In March 2017, Zachary shared a cute post on Instagram announcing that his status was soon changing to that of a parent. "I have never been happier," he wrote.

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In April 2017, the writer shared a picture of his wife, with the baby bump partly showing, and said he couldn't wait to meet his beautiful baby girl. "Hyland Celeste Goodson. I'm a proud daddy already!" he announced.

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Despite his challenging childhood with his dad, Zachary has built a happy and successful life for himself. Today, he celebrates holidays, including Christmas and birthdays, a joy he was denied in his childhood.

In an Instagram post in December 2016, Zachary encouraged people who had tough childhoods to pioneer their future and make their own traditions. "Just because I had a rough childhood doesn't mean I have to BE my rough childhood.," he added.

Zachary Goodson has a loving family with his wife and daughter. His father also features in his Instagram posts, enjoying time with his granddaughter. The writer has come a long way but has managed to build a life he cherishes and give his daughter a better childhood than he had.

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