From What A Girl Wants to The Last Song, actress Kelly Preston became one of the silver screen’s most devoted on-screen parents in recent years. Yet while this “adored wife and mother” will always be in our hearts, Preston passed away on July 12, 2020 after her two-year battle with breast cancer. “Choosing to keep her fight private, she had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends,” Preston’s family representative told People. “She was a bright, beautiful and loving soul who cared deeply about others and who brought life to everything she touched.”
Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith, the 57-year-old came to fame in classics, like Twins, Jerry Maguire, and For Love of the Game. However, Preston’s decades-long romance with husband John Travolta also captured fans’ hearts. Devastated by her loss, the actor took to Instagram to honor his late wife.
“She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many,” Travolta wrote. “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.” We, too, are heartbroken over this tremendous loss.
Kelly Preston and John Travolta had 'immediate chemistry'
Although actress Kelly Preston had her fair share of high-profile romances — she was briefly married to actor Kevin Gage in the late ’80s and dated two of the industry’s most eligible bachelors, George Clooney and Charlie Sheen — the star somehow knew she’d end up with her true love, actor John Travolta. “I did have sort of a flash,” Preston once said (via PopSugar). “I came out of a film, saw the poster for Grease and I knew I’d be with him. I just knew. I was about 16 years old. I really knew it and it turned into, ‘I’m going to marry that man,’ and so he likes to tease me that I walked out and said, ‘I’m going to marry that man,’ and then did, ultimately.”
When the pair finally did meet on the set of The Experts, both felt “immediate chemistry,” which led them down the aisle in 1991. “I see, no lie, coming across the hall with his two dogs, this really hot guy,” Preston told Us Weekly about the first time she met Travolta. “Then he stops and says hello. And I was like, ‘Oh s**t. Kill me now.’ You know, like, ‘Oh my God.’ And that was my first meeting with him.” Travolta added that a friend predicted he and Preston would “fall in love” and “get married.”
With 28 years under their belts, it’s clear to see they were meant to be!
How Kelly Preston and John Travolta kept their marriage 'up to date'
While Hollywood marriages often end in divorce, Kelly Preston and John Travolta discovered that to keep their relationship exciting, they needed to establish a solid foundation. “We really care deeply about each other and we protect each other — and we keep [our relationship] up to date,” he told Closer Weekly. He added that many couples “don’t explore what the new needs are for each other. If you take a little bit of energy to take inventory of ‘What are you interested in lately?’ then you can keep it fresh.”
Preston agreed, noting that couples should “keep doing things, just the two of you.” She also said on Live with Kelly and Ryan that she and Travolta always danced together, which was just one of the reasons these two kept each other so happy throughout their 28-year marriage. “I think it’s communication, keeping it fresh, checking in with each other and evolving,” Preston added during an interview with Good Morning America. “You change so you want to change together. Keep it fun, it doesn’t just happen on its own. You’ve gotta work on it.”
Before her illness, Preston and Travolta teamed up for 2018’s Gotti, in which he played the eponymous mob boss and she played his wife Victoria. Travolta told Entertainment Tonight that he and Preston “live for” that “creative experience together,” while she said, “You can see the intimacy.” We’re so glad they caught these memories on film.
Kelly Preston and John Travolta survived tragedy, thanks to Scientology
In January 2009, Kelly Preston and John Travolta endured the greatest pain any parent could ever face — the loss of their 16-year-old son Jett. Diagnosed with autism, Jett also suffered from seizures and one such episode ended the young man’s life while he and his family were vacationing in the Bahamas. While it’s never easy to lose a child, Preston told Health that her family, friends, and faith helped pull the entire family back from the brink of sadness.
“Johnny is definitely my rock,” she said. “Kirstie [Alley] is one of my absolute best friends. My mom, my brother. And to be honest, the Scientology center. I don’t know if I would have made it through without it. We’ve been able to navigate through it and to come to a place that is a lot better.”
Travolta echoed the sentiment. According to Us Weekly, he 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.” Travolta told the magazine, “The church never left our sides for two years. I don’t know if I would have made it through without their support. Our church is the number one thing that keeps us grounded.” While many have criticized the Church of Scientology, it served as the Travolta family’s saving grace as they recovered from this devastating loss. We hope they’ll find the same solace as they mourn Preston.
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