John Travolta and his late wife Kelly Preston enjoyed almost 29 years of wedded bliss before her passing earlier this summer following a battle with breast cancer. The two famed actors faced many difficulties and tragedies over the course of their nearly three-decade-long marriage, but they faced each hardship as a team. From the beginning to the end, Travolta and Preston were fully devoted to each other and their family through all the ups and downs.
Kelly Preston and John Travolta first met at a screen test for the pair’s 1989 comedy The Experts. At the time, Preston was still married to her first husband, fellow actor Kevin Gage. Though Travolta, who seems to be a bit of a romantic, later professed that he’d known it to be love at first sight when he first saw Preston, she wasn’t all that sure at first.
In 2018, Preston confessed during a visit to Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that it was only “kinda” love at first sight for her, adding, “Well, I was not that happily married, let’s put it that way. I was really with the wrong person.” Even after her marriage to Gage ended, Preston and Travolta didn’t begin dating right away.
Instead, Preston began several high-profile romances with the hottest Hollywood bachelors of the time, including living with George Clooney for a while before becoming engaged to Charlie Sheen in 1989. The engagement ended, though Preston reportedly kept the ring valued at $200,000. It was after her relationship with Sheen ended that Travolta finally had a second chance at the now single Preston.
The Face-Off actor wasted no time wooing Preston and by New Year’s Eve in 1990, he was certain that he’d found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. In a move that surprised many, including Kelly Preston herself, Travolta got down on one knee and proposed to the Jerry McGuire actress, who “screamed” in shock according to witnesses. She quickly agreed to marry her beau of less than a year and by September of 1991, Travolta and Preston were man and wife.
They tied the knot in an unannounced ceremony in a hotel in Paris, with a Scientologist minister officiating the nuptials. They followed their French wedding up with another on US soil a short while later, in Daytona Beach, Florida.
By the time of the couple’s Paris wedding, Preston was already two months pregnant with her and Travolta’s first child, a boy named Jett, who was born in 1992. Several years later, in 2000, they welcomed their second child, a daughter named Ella Bleu. In 2009, during a family vacation to the Bahamas, Jett tragically passed away after suffering a seizure. In the aftermath of their son’s death, Travolta and Preston were caught up in an extortion attempt by two individuals seeking to gain $25 million from the actor. In testimony as a witness for the extortion case, Travolta admitted that his son was autistic and suffered from seizures every five to ten days. The case eventually ended in a mistrial, and Travolta later credited his family and Scientology for helping him cope with the loss of his firstborn.
A year later, however, a surprise came that lifted the entire family’s spirits. Preston was pregnant again and in 2010, she and Travolta welcomed their youngest child, a boy named Benjamin. In an exclusive interview with People, the new parents gushed over the new addition to their family, calling him a “miracle.” Travolta proudly stated, “He’s given the house a renewed spirit and purpose.” Even in the darkest times, Travolta and Preston had a way of seeking the light that made them such a beloved presence in Hollywood.
The last few years the two spent together before Preston’s death were filled with family and fun. Travolta’s Instagram page is filled with photos and videos of the family of four hanging out, going out to eat, and simply enjoying one another’s company. Travolta, especially, seemed to enjoy life more and even branched out in ways he never had before. He finally shaved his head bald, a look that is exactly what the actor, who was long rumored to wear a variety of hairpieces and wigs to disguise his balding, needed most.
On July 13, 2020, John Travolta announced that his wife of over 28 years had died after a two-year battle with breast cancer. He wrote on Instagram, “Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered,” before explaining that he’d be taking a step back from his public life to spend time with his children as they healed from the loss of their mother, adding, “But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.” And that’s exactly what Travolta and his family have done. Occasionally, the Pulp Fiction actor uploads photos of himself hanging out with friends, throwback photos, and once posted a video of himself and daughter Ella Bleu dancing together. Once again, Travolta proves his ability to find light in the darkness.
Since Preston’s death in July, the tabloids haven’t held back at all, and have been targeting the grieving husband with bogus, baseless rumors. Just a few weeks after the actress’ death, In Touch claimed Travolta was leaving the Church of Scientology, the religion he’d been a vocal and proud member of since 1975, in the aftermath of his wife’s death. A supposed critic of the church told the outlet the organization “might be afraid that John is having second thoughts about Scientology. They want to keep him in their clutches.”
Gossip Cop highly doubted the veracity of the story and felt that the reporting was more exploitative than explanatory. Neither the source nor the tabloid presented any proof of Travolta's apparent desire to leave the religion. We found the story’s speculative nature too hard to swallow and determined it was mostly false.
Gossip Cop had similar issues with a report from the Globe that was published the following week. That article claimed Travolta was quitting Hollywood and quoted an anonymous source who insisted the actor “has no desire to get in front of the camera again.” Instead, the source continued, Travolta wanted to focus on his children, Ella Bleu and Benjamin, especially since he’d “promised Kelly before she died that he would look after them.” Citing his 2018 flop Gotti, the tipster went on to say Travolta’s “career doesn’t bring him happiness anymore.”
We had no doubt that Travolta, as he said in his Instagram statement announcing Preston’s death, would take time to spend with his family, making his grieving children a priority. Where we took issue was with the tabloid and its unverified, unknown “insider” making baseless predictions about the future of Travolta’s career. Neither had any real insight into the actor’s personal life or plans for his career despite their assurances otherwise.
Losing a loved one is never easy, so it makes all the sense in the world that John Travolta would spend his mourning period as far away from the public eye as possible, and with as many loved ones as can be safely gathered during this coronavirus pandemic. As he moves forward with his life after Kelly Preston's death, Travolta will certainly miss the woman who stood by his side for three decades, but he has two wonderful reminders of the woman she was. Hopefully, the tabloids will be respectful and leave the man in peace as he and his family heal through this difficult time.