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Heartbroken John Travolta reveals his wife Kelly Preston had battled cancer privately for two years

Kelly Preston has died aged 57. She is pictured with husband John Travolta in 2018

Kelly Preston, the late wife of John Travolta, chose to keep her two-year battle with cancer private and had been receiving treatment for ‘some time’ before she died aged 57, a family spokesperson has revealed.

Preston died on Sunday morning having ‘fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many’, Travolta said as he revealed his wife’s cancer ordeal for the first time. 

A spokesman for the Travolta family told People that Kelly had chosen to ‘keep her fight private [and] had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends,’ in the months prior to her death.

‘She was a bright, beautiful and loving soul who cared deeply about others and who brought life to everything she touched. Her family asks for your understanding of their need for privacy at this time,’ the spokesperson continued.

Travolta also paid tribute to the ‘doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center’ who treated Preston during her illness, but the family has not revealed whether she was in the hospital or at the couple’s Florida home when she died. 

The Anderson Cancer Center has numerous locations in the United States, including in Florida. 

The two actors’ lives had already been overshadowed by tragedy when their 16-year-old son Jett died after a seizure at a Bahamas holiday home in 2009. 

The shock of Jett’s death was followed by a legal row with an ambulance driver and lawyer who were accused of trying to extort $25million from the couple by threatening to reveal sensitive details about the death. 

John Travolta announced in an Instagram post last night (pictured) that his 'beautiful wife' had died of breast cancer, revealing her two-year cancer ordeal for the first time

John Travolta announced in an Instagram post last night (pictured) that his ‘beautiful wife’ had died of breast cancer, revealing her two-year cancer ordeal for the first time 

Kelly Preston's final post to Instagram was one to celebrate Father's Day in June of her and her husband and their children Ella, now 20, and Benjamin, now nine. The picture is thought to have been taken the previous year

Kelly Preston’s final post to Instagram was one to celebrate Father’s Day in June of her and her husband and their children Ella, now 20, and Benjamin, now nine. The picture is thought to have been taken the previous year 

Kelly Preston and John Travolta in The Experts - the 1988 production on which they first met

Kelly Preston as Avery Bishop in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire

Pictured left: Kelly Preston and John Travolta in The Experts – the 1988 production on which they first met. Pictured right, Preston as Avery Bishop in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire 

Actress and former model Preston and Travolta are pictured with their two children, Ella and Ben, in a recent Instagram video to celebrate Easter

Actress and former model Preston and Travolta are pictured with their two children, Ella and Ben, in a recent Instagram video to celebrate Easter 

HOW SCIENTOLOGY HELPED TRAVOLTA MOURN HIS SON JETT’S DEATH IN 2009

Travolta previously told how Scientology helped him and Kelly mourn the death of their son, Jett, in 2009. 

Jett was autistic and died of a seizure. His death crippled Travolta with grief.

In a 2014 interview with US Weekly, the actor said: ‘It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life.  The truth is, I didn’t know if I was going to make it.  

‘The church never left our sides for two years. I don’t know if I would have made it through without their support.’ 

Kelly, John and Jett before his 2009 death

Kelly, John and Jett before his 2009 death

In Scientology, there is no hard concept of afterlife because the church teaches that human spirits are immortal and inhabit many physical bodies.

The human spirit is referred to as a thetan that has numerous past lives, including some extra-terrestrial.  

Preston, a former model and actress who starred in Jerry Maguire, met Travolta on the set of The Experts and had been married to the Grease star for 29 years. 

The couple lived in Florida and were both practicing Scientologists, sharing two children together: Ella, 20, and Benjamin, nine. 

It’s not clear exactly what treatment Preston had received at MD Anderson Cancer Center before her death, or how long she had been receiving treatment.   

Critics of Scientology have long suggested that the church will prevent followers from seeking professional medical help and instead urge them to use the sect’s technology and focus on prayer to try and ‘cure’ any illnesses. 

However, fellow A-Lister and Scientologist, Tom Cruise has previously vehemently stated that the church does encourage doctors visits and standard medication when someone has an illness.

In a statement to ABC News after the death of Jett Travolta, the Church of Scientology doubled down on Cruise’s comments, insisting they do not and will not interfere with followers seeking out conventional means of medication, should they wish.

‘Scientologists seek conventional medical treatment for medical conditions,’ the church said. ‘Scientologists use prescription drugs when physically ill and also rely on the advice and treatment of medical doctors. The Church does not involve itself in the diagnosis or classification of any medical condition.’

John, 66, confirmed his wife’s death in an Instagram post overnight Sunday, writing: ‘Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered. 

‘I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. 

But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.’ 

The couple’s daughter Ella wrote in her own tribute: ‘I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you.

‘Anyone who is lucky enough to have known you or to have ever been in your presence will agree that you have a glow and a light that never ceases to shine and that makes anyone around you feel instantly happy. Thank you for being there for me no matter what.

‘Thank you for your love. Thank you for your help and thank you for making this world a better place. 

‘You have made life so beautiful and I know you will continue to do so always. I love you so much mama.’ 

Tributes have already poured in from celebrities who hailed her ‘kindness’ and ‘beautiful light’ and said they were heartbroken for the family, who had already suffered the agony of Jett’s death in 2009.  

Maria Shriver was among those to pay a heartfelt tribute last night, saying she was ‘shocked by this sad news’. 

‘Kelly was such a bright loving soul, a talented actress, and a loving mom and wife,’ Shriver said. ‘My heart breaks for her family who have already known such sadness and grief. Join me in sending them love and strength.’ 

Russell Crowe said he met Preston ‘first in late ’92 I think,’ adding, ‘In 1995 we auditioned together for Breaking Up, Salma Hayek got that gig.’ Crowe said he hadn’t seen Preston much, ‘but when I did, she was always the same sparkly eyed gem.’ 

Actress Chloe Bennett said: ‘Kelly Preston was enormously kind and unbelievably lovely. Can’t believe this.’

She added: ‘My thoughts are with her sweet Ella and the rest of her incredible family. RIP.’ 

It's not clear exactly what treatment Preston had received at MD Anderson Cancer Center before her death, or how long she had been receiving treatment

John and Kelly pictured together

It’s not clear exactly what treatment Preston had received at MD Anderson Cancer Center before her death, or how long she had been receiving treatment

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston at the opening of the Church of Scientology Museum in Los Angeles in 1991

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston at the opening of the Church of Scientology Museum in Los Angeles in 1991 

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991 

Kelly and John with their daughter, Ella, now 20 (left) and with their oldest son, Jett, who died in 2009 aged 16 of a seizure

John Travolta, his wife Kelly Preston and two of their children, Jett and Ella. Jett died at the age of 16 after a seizure at the family's vacation home in the Bahamas in 2009

Kelly and John with their daughter, Ella, now 20 (left) and with Ella and their oldest son, Jett, who died in 2009 aged 16 of a seizure

John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston in February this year in one of the last pictures taken of the couple before her death

John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston in February this year in one of the last pictures taken of the couple before her death 

Daughter Ella shared this tribute to her mom overnight Sunday

Daughter Ella shared this tribute to her mom overnight Sunday 

Paying her own tribute, actress Holly Marie Combs Ryan wrote: ‘This is so sad. My thoughts are with her family and friends. She was and still is a beautiful light.’ 

Actor Josh Gad also paid tribute, saying: ‘I’m in absolute shock. What a beautiful and amazing actress and person. 

‘So sad to hear of her passing at such a young age. My heart goes out to John Travolta and the entire family. What a loss.’

Spencer Breslin, who appeared with Kelly in 2003 movie, The Cat In The Hat, wrote: ‘RIP to my on screen mom, #kellypreston. What a lovely woman. Such a sad loss.’ 

Preston was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1962 before going onto to study at the University of Southern California. 

Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu, she changed her name to Kelly Preston before securing her first film role in the 1985 romcom Mischief, then appeared in another teen comedy, Secret Admirer.

In the next few years Preston starred in films such as SpaceCamp and then Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito.  

Paying tribute: Stars took to social media to pay tribute to Kelly following her sad death

Paying tribute: Stars took to social media to pay tribute to Kelly following her sad death

An aerial view of John Travolta's home at Jumbolair Aviation Estates in Florida, where he lived with his wife Kelly Preston

An aerial view of John Travolta’s home at Jumbolair Aviation Estates in Florida, where he lived with his wife Kelly Preston 

From SpaceCamp to Jerry Maguire: Kelly Preston’s TV and film career  

Kelly Preston met her future husband John Travolta while filming 1988 movie The Experts, a Cold War comedy featuring a steamy dance scene between their characters Travis and Bonnie. 

She would later appear together in other films with her husband, including 2000’s Battlefield Earth and most recently the 2018 film Gotti with Travolta playing crime boss John Gotti and Preston playing his wife Victoria. 

Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu in 1962, Travolta’s future wife changed her name to Kelly Preston before securing her first film role in the 1985 romcom Mischief as Marilyn McCauley, the love interest of one of the two male leads. 

Preston with George Clooney. The pair had a relationship and also starred in two movies together

Preston with George Clooney. The pair had a relationship and also starred in two movies together 

She then appeared in another teen comedy, Secret Admirer. and In the next few years Preston starred in films such as SpaceCamp and then Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, in which she played Marnie Mason. 

In Jerry Maguire, she played Tom Cruise’s fiancee Avery Bishop. Preston also starred opposite Kevin Costner in the 1999 film ‘For the Love of the Game.

Both Preston and Travolta returned to acting after their son Jett’s death in 2009, despite their grief over the loss of their son and the trauma of a subsequent legal battle involving a Bahamian ambulance deiver. 

Preston’s first role back was in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Last Song which starred Miley Cyrus and her future husband Liam Hemsworth. 

She also had frequent guest-starring roles on TV series like Medium, CSI: Cyber and Joey, and in 2004 appeared in the music video for Maroon 5’s ‘She Will Be Loved.’   

In Jerry Maguire, Preston played Tom Cruise’s fiancee Avery Bishop, then co-starred opposite Kevin Costner in ‘For Love of the Game’. 

Kelly and John met while making the 1987 film The Experts and while Preston was married to actor Kevin Gage; they divorced that year after two years of marriage. 

Preston then got engaged to Travolta in 1991 in Gstaad, Switzerland. Preston and Travolta were married at a midnight ceremony in Paris later that year while the couple were expecting their first son, Jett. 

They last starred together in the 2018 film Gotti, with Travolta playing John Gotti and Preston playing the crime boss’s wife, Victoria.  

She also had frequent guest-starring roles on TV series such as Medium, CSI: Cyber and Joey, and in 2004 appeared in the music video for Maroon 5’s She Will Be Loved.

Preston’s final post to Instagram was one to celebrate Father’s Day in June. 

On their 28th wedding anniversary last year Kelly called Travolta ‘the most wonderful man I know’. 

She added: ‘You have given me hope when I have felt lost, loved me patiently and unconditionally… made me laugh harder than any other human being possible… shared the most beautiful highs and at times low. 

‘You’re a dream Daddio and make life so much fun!! I trust my love with you implicitly… with you I know I will always be okay no matter what happens… I love you forever and completely. Happy 28th Anniversary @johntravolta.’

The couple’s son Jett died in January 2009 during a family trip to the Bahamas when he hit his head on a bathtub after suffering a seizure at their home on Grand Bahama Island. 

The death touched off a court case after an ambulance driver and his attorney were accused of trying to extort $25million from the actors in exchange for not releasing sensitive information about their son’s death.

Travolta testified during a criminal trial that ended in a mistrial and was prepared to testify a second time, but decided to stop pursuing the case. He cited the severe strain the case and his son’s death had caused the family.

Last year, 10 years after Jett’s death, Kelly Preston shared an emotional tribute to her ‘sweet love’ Jett on Instagram, saying he was ‘in our hearts forever’. 

‘I send love to all of the beautiful autistic children and the wonderful people who love them. May we all shine and grant love and respect to children with special needs,’ she said in April 2019.  

In an interview with Us Weekly last January to mark the 10-year anniversary of Jett’s death, Travolta said the Church of Scientology had helped the couple through the dark times.

‘The church never left our sides for two years. I don’t know if I would have made it through without their support,’ he said. 

‘It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life,’ he said. ‘The truth is, I didn’t know if I was going to make it.’

They had two other children, daughter Ella Bleu in 2000 and son Benjamin in 2010. 

Actress Kelly Preston attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2017

Actress Kelly Preston attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2017

The tragedy that haunted John Travolta and Kelly Preston: How the actor and his wife, who has died aged 57, were devastated by their 16-year-old autistic son’s death from a seizure in 2009 – and how Scientology ‘helped them cope’ 

The death of Kelly Preston at the age of 57 is the second tragedy to devastate John Travolta’s family after the couple’s 16-year-old son Jett died from a seizure at a holiday home in the Bahamas in 2009. 

Travolta described his son’s death as the ‘worst thing that ever happened in my life’ and told how the Church of Scientology had helped him and his wife through their grief. 

The couple’s agony did not end there, because Jett’s death led to a lengthy court case after an ambulance driver and his attorney were accused of trying to extort $25million from the couple by threatening to release sensitive details about the death.

Travolta testified during criminal proceedings and was ready to do so a second time after the trial collapsed, but later decided to stop pursuing the case, citing the severe strain on his family. 

Preston and Travolta both subsequently returned to acting but the couple had continued to voice their grief in recent years. 

Kelly Preston posted this picture of her late son Jett in 2019, a decade after he died at a Bahamas holiday home after suffering a seizure

Kelly Preston posted this picture of her late son Jett in 2019, a decade after he died at a Bahamas holiday home after suffering a seizure 

Jett Travolta was born in 1992, after the couple had married in Paris the previous year while expecting the child. 

His parents revealed he had suffered from Kawasaki syndrome when he was a toddler, a little-understood illness which can cause fevers and skin rashes. 

The family said he had a history of seizures, and friends said he had developmental disabilities which his mother Kelly later described as autism.

In January 2009, while on vacation in the Bahamas, Jett was found unconscious in a bathroom and was pronounced dead in hospital, where medics gave ‘seizure disorder’ as the cause of his death. Reports said he had hit his head on a bathtub.  

Dozens of relatives flew to Grand Bahama to comfort John Travolta and Kelly Preston, who said that ‘Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for’. 

‘We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time that we had with him for the rest of our lives,’ they said at the time. 

Jett was cremated and his ashes flown to Florida with his parents, and a memorial service was held at the family home.  

Kelly and Jett

Kelly and Jett

While mourning the loss of their son, the couple faced further anguish when local ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne and his attorney Pleasant Bridgewater allegedly tried to extort them by threatening to release sensitive details about the death. 

Lightbourne, who was among the medics who treated Jett, allegedly used the threat to try to extort $25million from the actor. He and Bridgewater denied the claims. 

The two suspects faced criminal charges in the Bahamas, where Travolta gave testimony about how he had desperately tried to save the life of his son.  

According to Travolta’s testimony, Lightbourne had threatened to go public with a document signed by Travolta refusing his consent for Jett to be taken to a local hospital. 

Travolta said he signed the document because he had initially wanted Jett flown to Florida for treatment rather than being hospitalized in the Bahamas.  

However, the trial had to be aborted in October 2009 when a Bahamian lawmaker suggested the still-deliberating jury had acquitted one of the suspects. 

Travolta initially said he was willing to take the stand again for a retrial, but in September 2010 the family announced it was not proceeding with the charges. 

‘The Travolta family has said that this matter has caused them unbelievable stress and pain and they wish to put this whole thing behind them,’ a prosecuting lawyer said at the time.  

John Travolta and Kelly Preston with their surviving children Ella (right) and Benjamin (front) at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018

John Travolta and Kelly Preston with their surviving children Ella (right) and Benjamin (front) at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018

John Travolta said in a statement that his co-operation in the legal case had come at ‘great emotional cost to my family’. 

‘The long-pending status of this matter continued to take a heavy emotional toll on my family, causing us to conclude that it was finally time to put this matter behind us,’ he said. 

‘Therefore, after much reflection I concluded that it was in my family’s best interest for me not to voluntarily return to The Bahamas to testify a second time at trial.’ 

Last year, 10 years after Jett’s death, Kelly Preston shared an emotional tribute to her ‘sweet love’ Jett on Instagram, saying he was ‘in our hearts forever’. 

‘I send love to all of the beautiful autistic children and the wonderful people who love them. May we all shine and grant love and respect to children with special needs,’ she said in April 2019. 

The same month, John Travolta marked what would have been Jett’s 27th birthday by sharing a painting of his son and saying: ‘Happy birthday my son I love you’.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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