Tom Selleck Reveals Why He Almost Declined a Dance with Princess Diana at 1985 White House Dinner

The 'Blue Bloods' actor said he was asked to cut in on the Princess of Wales' second dance with John Travolta

<p>Paul Zimmerman/WireImage; Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty</p> Tom Selleck (Left); Princess Diana

Paul Zimmerman/WireImage; Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty

Tom Selleck (Left); Princess Diana

If not for John Travolta, Tom Selleck may have never danced with Princess Diana.

In a recent interview with Town & Country, the Blue Bloods actor, 79, discussed a passage in his new memoir You Never Know, where he recounted how he ended up dancing with the Princess of Wales at the 1985 White House Dinner.

At the time, Selleck was filming Magnum, P.I. in Hawaii and was unsure if he would attend the event, until his publicist told him, "'Look, this is Princess Diana's personal guest list and there's only three actors on it: you, Clint Eastwood and John Travolta.' "

In his memoir, the Friends alum recalled how he and Eastwood attempted to keep a low-profile while Travolta and the princess shared their now iconic dance.

<p>Shutterstock</p> Princess Diana (Left) with Tom Selleck in 1985


Princess Diana (Left) with Tom Selleck in 1985

"We slipped away from all the dancers and moved to a spot slightly around the corner," Selleck wrote, per USA Today. "By now John and Princess Di were dancing to an up-tempo number and rocking out. Everybody else stopped dancing and formed a circle around them, clapping their hands."

However, when the Saturday Night Fever actor and Diana began a second dance, a British woman approached Selleck and urged him to step in and ask the princess to dance before the pair's second spin could "start rumors."

Related: The Real Story of Princess Diana's 'Revenge Dress’

He wrote, "Clint and I said nothing,' " before he recalled the woman saying, "'Mr. Selleck, you must step in and replace him.' "

“'I'M NOT CUTTING IN ON JOHN TRAVOLTA!' was my reply, probably in too loud a voice. She was not pleased," Selleck continued.

While he didn't cut in on Travolta, he did step up before the pair could embark on a third dance, and according to the Emmy-winner, Diana "was lovely, and there was a very shy quality about her in spite of her being well-schooled in the art of conversation."

He added to Town & Country that while he doesn't often get starstruck, he was dazzled by Diana. "Oh yeah, I was starstruck."

<p>Dey Street Books</p> <em>You Never Know</em> by Tom Selleck

Dey Street Books

You Never Know by Tom Selleck

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In terms of conversation, Selleck recalled to the outlet that he apologized for his lack of skills on the dance floor, revealing that he "skipped cotillion" at dance school.

"All I could do dancing was box step like we did in high school dances, a box step and a dip," he revealed. "And I wasn't about to dip with Princess Di! So I just talked. But she was very gracious ... It was certainly memorable."

While Selleck was dancing with Diana, his wife, Jillie Mack, got to dance with Diana's then-husband Prince Charles (now King). "The prince danced with my wife, who's a Brit. And he asked her for a second dance, so that was pretty neat for Jillie," he told Town & Country.

Related: John Travolta on His 'Storybook' Dance with Princess Diana: 'The Whole Room Cleared'

Shutterstock John Travolta (Left) and Princess Diana in 1985
Shutterstock John Travolta (Left) and Princess Diana in 1985

In the 2021 PBS special In Their Own Words: Diana, Princess of Wales, Travolta, now 70, opened up about his famous dance with Diana at the White House, revealing that Nancy Reagan was the one who introduced him to the princess.

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

Travolta gamely made Diana's dream come true with not just one, but two dances that night.

"It was a storybook moment," he said. "We bowed when it was over, and, you know, she was off, and I was off, and my carriage turned into a pumpkin."

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