Fame and wealth can shield you from some of life’s sharper edges, but they cannot protect you from pain and loss. John Travolta has had more than his fair share of both despite having a successful career that has included a Golden Globe Award, two Oscar nominations, and a fortune estimated at £150 million last year.
Naturally, when it comes to losing loved ones, there is no such thing as fair, so bear that in mind.
The Pulp Fiction actor revealed on Monday that Kelly Preston, his wife of almost 29 years, had passed away after a two-year battle with breast cancer. Since the couple co-starred in the mafia film Gotti in 2018, the 57-year-old actress has shied away from the spotlight to keep her illness a secret.
Preston’s most recent Instagram picture, which was all smiles and was published on Father’s Day, showed that everything was great in their Hollywood world.
Less than a month later, Travolta’s longtime partner of three decades passed away. Even before she passed away, he described his life as “a life riddled with variations of loss” because “marriage doesn’t just happen on its own,” as Preston said at the Cannes Film Festival while promoting Gotti.
He and Preston went through every parent’s worst nightmare in 2009 when their 16-year-old son, Jett, unexpectedly passed away after having a seizure and hitting his head in a bathtub while on a family vacation to the Bahamas for Christmas.
After their son’s passing, Jett Travolta’s parents revealed that their son had been diagnosed with autism and epilepsy since he was young.
Fewer people are aware that Travolta’s first love died of the same illness that would eventually kill his wife when he was just 23 years old, at the beginning of his career. While filming the television movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, he fell in love with his on-screen mother, Diana Hyland, an Emmy-winning actress 18 years older than him.
He later said, “I have never been more in love with someone.
“I was on the Bubble set with my coworker, talking nonstop. A month later, it turned romantic. “.
But shortly afterwards, tragic things happened. In the same year that Saturday Night Fever catapulted Travolta to fame as the cleft-chinned, white-suited disco king Tony Manero, Hyland passed from breast cancer. Travolta was by her side. ”.
His first Oscar nomination was a result of this. Later, Zachary, her son, claimed his mother had passed away in Travolta’s arms.
In 2014, Travolta told this newspaper that having such a meeting so soon after becoming an adult had “removed the edge of death” and given him a particular strength. I’m probably less afraid of death than the average person these days because so many people close to me have passed away before their time and because I think that if they can do it, then I can do it too, he said. I feel obligated to do the same when others overcome their fears. “.
At the time, he discussed how he handled Jett’s passing. A local ambulance driver and his attorney allegedly tried to extort $25 million from the couple by threatening to reveal private information regarding Jett’s death.
At the time, they had a younger daughter named Ella Bleu, and the following year, when Preston was 47, she gave birth to a son named Benjamin. As a result of the severe hardship it caused his family, Travolta dropped the case after testifying in a well-known criminal trial.
Travolta admitted to Celia Walden of the Telegraph that he was so overcome by grief that he contemplated giving up acting. He decided to take on The Forger’s challenge in 2014 instead.
His portrayal of a convicted felon who was given an early release from prison to care for his young son, who had an uncurable brain tumour and was on the verge of passing away, in this thriller reflected his most recent experiences.
He also thanked his fellow Church of Scientology members for helping him return to his natural state as “a glass-half-full man” and “an optimist by nature.”. “.
However, when it comes to experiencing loss and grief, faith in a higher power or higher purpose continues to have a profound resonance in our secular, sceptical Western society. Some people find solace in religious doctrines like Christianity’s assurance of a heavenly afterlife or Buddhism’s teachings on reincarnation.
The actor John Travolta, the youngest of six children, has previously talked about how he still adheres to some of the values he picked up as a young child while living with his Italian American father and Irish mother in a suburb of New York. He stated in the 2014 interview that he still adheres to the traditional Catholic notion that “a person’s soul lives on forever.”. “.
He had belonged to the contentious Church of Scientology for more than four decades. It turned out to be Travolta’s saviour after the passing of Jett. Preston and the other cast members participated in the critically panned 2000 film adaptation of founding member L. Battlefield Earth, a work by Ron Hubbard.
Without Scientology’s assistance, he said, “I don’t know what I would have done.”.
I don’t believe I could have survived. After Jett passed away, they were there for me every single day. In some cases, they even went with me. They were there every day for the following two years. “.
Scientology “really does provide a mechanism that helps you face terrible disasters. Hubbard once said that his vision consisted of “just living time after time, getting a new body, eventually losing it and getting a new one. This contrasts to reincarnation, which entails some judgment for previous lifetimes. “.
Following a recommendation from Joan Prather, Travolta first joined Scientology while filming The Devil’s Rain in Mexico in 1975. Later, he said, “I wasn’t feeling well, and she gave me what’s known as an assist. After that, I was back to normal really quickly—like within 30 minutes. “.
He has often emphasised that Scientology offers not only ideas but also practical tools – or, as he calls it, “workable technology” – to alleviate suffering. In 2013, he stated, “Really, I think that has happened here. L Ron Hubbard resolved the human mind, and in determining it, he also decided about human pain.
Travolta will need every tool to cope with this terrible loss regardless of how well or poorly he practices his religion. He announced his wife’s passing in an Instagram post, writing, “Please pardon me in advance if we remain silent for a bit.”. “I’ll be spending some time with my motherless children. However, please keep in mind that I will feel your love as we heal over the ensuing weeks and months. “.
The ailment cannot always be fought and overcome, just as grief cannot always be overpowered by willpower, as Travolta is all too aware of. But he is more familiar than others that time can be stimulating.