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Idina Menzel: John Travolta messing up my name was 'best thing that ever happened'

The Broadway star has more than forgiven Travolta for botching her name during an introduction at the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony.

Idina Menzel has no hard feelings for John Travolta after the "Grease" star famously botched her name at the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony. In fact, she's glad it happened.

In a now-infamous Oscars moment, Menzel was about to take the stage to sing "Let It Go," her signature song from the Oscar-winning film "Frozen." All Travolta, one of the night's presenters, had to do was introduce her. But the veteran actor somehow mispronounced her first and last names. (Adele Dazeem?)

During a recent appearance on "The Late Late Show's" fun "Carpool Karaoke" segment alongside her "Cinderella" co-stars Camila Cabello and Billy Porter, Menzel, 50, opened up about what it was like to perform "eight seconds after (Travolta) screwed up my name."

"I had eight seconds to say to myself, at first I felt really sorry for myself, like, 'Meryl Streep's out there. This is my big break and he just f----- up my name,'" Menzel said, laughing. "And then eight seconds, the band starts, I am like, 'Get your s--- together. C'mon, this is your moment. Stop worrying about that he messed up your name. Sing, b----!'"

Porter then interjected, "Sing! And you did! I was watching."


Idina Menzel, seen presenting an award with John Travolta at the 2015 Oscars, called Travolta's flub of her name at the ceremony the year before "the greatest thing that ever happened."Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Menzel continued, explaining that she had intended to sing to her son, Walker Diggs, now 12, whom she shares with her ex Taye Diggs.

"I was so nervous. I had meditated on this moment. I was going to sing to my son to really put perspective into everything and then that happened," she said, now cracking up.

Looking back, the Broadway star said Travolta's flub proved to be fortuitous. After all, his mangled pronunciation of her name got everybody talking about her. It also ended up connecting her with Travolta forever.

"It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me," gushed Menzel, who added of Travolta, "He’s written so many nice, apologetic emails. He's sent flowers. He’s so kind. To make up for it, he would, like, fly wherever at this point, he’s so sweet.

"I just always say, 'No worries because it was the best thing that ever happened,'" she added.

For his part, Travolta, 67, apologized for the mispronunciation in a public statement days after the ceremony.

"I've been beating myself up all day. Then I thought ... what would Idina Menzel say, She’d say, Let it go, let it go!" he joked. "Idina is incredibly talented and I am so happy Frozen took home two Oscars Sunday night!"

Menzel and Travolta ended up presenting together at the Academy Awards the following year. Immediately after the ceremony, Travolta appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

During the pair's chat, Travolta opened up about his 2014 introduction faux pas, explaining that there was much confusion backstage. Travolta recalled a crew member telling him he was due onstage at least 15 minutes sooner than he expected.

Moments later, the former "Welcome Back, Kotter" star ran into Hollywood legend Goldie Hawn and became "starstruck."

Before the frazzled actor knew it, he was tapped to go on. As he made his way to the stage, he was told that his cue cards would now feature a phonetic spelling of Menzel's name.

"So I go out there and I get to her thing and I thought, 'Hmm,'" Travolta said with a confused look on his face.

The new phonetic spelling of Menzel's name looked bizarre on the cards, said Travolta, who recalled thinking, "I don't know that name."

"It was just a phonetic spelling, but I didn't rehearse it that way," he said.

After laughing over the matter with Kimmel, Travolta added that he was happy that Menzel had enjoyed "one of the best years" of her career since his blundered introduction. "And she gives me credit," he said, beaming.

Five years later, Menzel made it clear again that she looks back fondly on Travolta's introduction. Just weeks before she performed "Into the Unknown" from "Frozen II" at the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony, Menzel referred to the special moment in a tweet.

"When I was a little girl I dreamed of moments like these," she wrote, adding, "Who is brave enough to introduce me?"