John Travolta and Kelly Preston's family experienced immense pain when their son, Jett, tragically passed away. However, Benjamin brought life to their home once he was born and helped the family reunite.
Grieving the death of a child is something a parent can never get over, but a reason to stay strong and fight through the pain can help be a source of comfort. Such was the experience of Hollywood couple John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
When the Hollywood star and his wife's eldest son, Jett, passed away unexpectedly, they didn't think recovering would happen anytime soon. Still, with the coming of their newborn, Benjamin, everything slowly got better. Here's a look at the Travolta family's life before and after Benjamin.
John Travolta amidst a crowd during a red carpet event. | Source: Instagram.com/ella.travolta & Getty Images
WELCOMING JETT AND ELLA
Through the Scientology Church, the "Grease" actor met his loving wife, the daughter of The King, Elvis Presley. Although it took a few years before they tied the knot in 1991, the couple welcomed their firstborn shortly after in 1992.
For eight years, Jett was the pair's sole pride and joy, but in April 2000, they welcomed another child, a daughter named Ella. The family spent years basking in each other's presence and love, but in 2009, their happiness was taken away.
While on vacation in the Bahamas, Jett suffered a seizure that took his life. He was 16 during his time of death.
Jett suffered a stroke while having a seizure, and paramedics failed to revive him. He hit his head on the bathtub and was found unconscious by the helper, who then called for help.
Unfortunately, another tragedy struck in 2020 when he lost his wife to a two-year battle with breast cancer.
John later revealed his son had autism and had a history of seizures since he was two years old. He was also previously diagnosed with Kawasaki disease that left him hospitalized at 15 months old.
DISCUSSING JETT'S AUTISM
Meanwhile, Kelly revealed that she believed Jett was "coming out of the autism" before his sudden death. She also shared that she thought some factors contributed to Jett having autism.
The "Jerry Maguire" actress noted how one of those factors was the food poisoning she had while pregnant. Her labor was also difficult and fast, and she took antibiotics while breastfeeding Jett. At that time, John 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."
JOHN'S EXTORTION CASE
While grieving for his son, John faced legal matters as Tarino Lightbourne, the ambulance driver who attended to Jett, allegedly blackmailed the actor. Lightborne and his lawyer attempted to extort $25 million from John, threatening to release evidence about the couple signing a refusal for emergency services.
As it turned out, there was no such document signed. Lightbourne revealed how John hugged and kissed his son while exhausting all efforts to revive Jett in his testimony. He said:
"I saw love in his eyes. I saw love. [Travolta] hugged him, and put his arm around him, kissed him on the forehead and the cheek, and told him he loved him. He then turned to me and gave me a hug."
John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston pose at the after-party for the premiere of "Eulogy" on October 13, 2004, in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
COPING WITH JETT'S DEATH
The couple credited the Church of Scientology for helping them cope with Jett's death. Kelly did not know if she could live through the pain, but she made it through with support from many people in her community.
Meanwhile, John said that his faith and the church made him get through the first two most challenging years after his son's death. In the 2014 interview, he said they were by their side from Monday through Sunday.
Despite the heavy loss, there was a light at the end of the tunnel for the couple. Before Jett's untimely passing, John and Preston tried to conceive a third child but hadn't had any success.
A year after his passing, John and Kelly were blessed with another baby. She later revealed that she and her husband were "floored" when they found out. At that time, the actress woke John up, and they both started crying.
On November 23, 2010, their family welcomed Benjamin. According to the "Hair Spray" star, Benjamin gave them "a renewed spirit and purpose." He said:
"We certainly have bonded together. Certainly, having little Ben has been a beautiful kind of glue for us to rebond after a tremendous loss."
ANOTHER DEATH IN THE FAMILY
Unfortunately, another tragedy struck in 2020 when he lost his wife to a two-year battle with breast cancer. Kelly kept her diagnosis a secret but received immense support from family and close friends.
Following her death, Benjamin, then ten, told his father that he feared losing him as well. John revealed during an interview, as reported by E News:
"He said to me once, he said, 'Because Mom passed away, I'm afraid you’re going to.' And I said, Well, it's a very different thing.’ And then I went through the differences about my longevity and her limited life."
"But you know Ben, you always love the truth, and I'm going to tell you the truth about life," he added. "Nobody knows when they're going to go or when they're going to stay. Your brother left at 16 – too young. Your mother left at 57, and that was too young."
John has since been hands-on in his children's lives and sometimes posts photos of them on social media. Previously, the "Saturday Night Fever" star shared their family's intimate Thanksgiving celebration on Instagram, with the kids looking like they enjoyed it.
In November, John celebrated Benjamin's eleventh birthday with a sweet Instagram post. Ben sat between his father and sister in the photo as they all smiled for the camera. Although challenging, it seems John is trying his best to be the best father possible, and it seems it's going great.
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