Kelly Preston and John Travolta: Inside Their 29-Year Love Story
By Rachel McRady
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Family, friends, and fans of Kelly Preston were devastated to learn that the actress, mother, and wife of John Travolta died at the age of 57 on Sunday after a private battle with breast cancer.
Preston and Travolta had a 29-year romance and three children together. The pair weren't shy about professing their love for one another through the years. They also have opened up about the hardship of losing their son, Jett, in 2009.
Here's a look back at the couple's inspiring love story.
Their First Meeting
Preston and Travolta first locked eyes on the set of the 1989 film, The Experts. At the time, Preston was married to actor Kevin Gage. The two divorced in 1987, and the actress had brief romances with George Clooney and Charlie Sheen.
"I was not that happily married, let's put it that way," she said of Gage. "I was really with the wrong person."
Travolta proposed on New Year's Eve in 1991 in Switzerland with a six-carat yellow-and-white diamond ring.
In a 1991 interview with ET, a newly engaged Preston gushed, "We plan to have some babies. We're practicing right now. This could be barefoot and pregnant for the next 10 years."
“I’ve never seen Johnny happier,” Wendy Travolta, the wife of John’s brother, Joey said at the time. “I guess it’s timing. John and Kelly are both ready to settle down.”
They would go on to have three children, Jett, Ella, and Benjamin.
The couple had two weddings in September 1991, the first being a surprise to their friends and family.
"We were going to have a huge wedding in New York and there were all of these plans and people were like, 'Where am I going to sit and all of this stuff'... the wedding got so big and crazy and I thought, once the florist's assistant got an assistant, I was done," Preston recalled in a 2018 interview on Live With Kelly and Ryan. "We ran away, eloped, and went to Paris."
She went on to explain that their first wedding wasn't technically legal, adding, "You have to live in Paris for I think it's four or five years to legally get married there."
They had a second wedding back in the U.S.
Golden Globes 1996
In 1996, Preston proudly stood by Travolta's side at the Golden Globes where the actor picked up an award for his role in Get Shorty. She beamed at her husband from the audience as he gave his acceptance speech.
In 2009, Preston and Travolta suffered an unimaginable loss when their son, Jett, died after suffering from seizures while the family was on vacation in the Bahamas. Jett had autism and suffered from a rare autoimmune disease called Kawasaki syndrome. The couple honored their son every year on his birthday and have been candid in the past about their grief.
In 2014, Travolta told a London audience, "The truth is, I didn't know if I was going to make it. Life was no longer interesting to me, so it took a lot to get me better."
In a 2019 post for autism awareness, Preston wrote, "To my sweet love, Jett... you are in our hearts forever."
It was a family affair in the 2009 comedy Old Dogs. Travolta, Preston, and their daughter, Ella, all appeared in the comedy. The trio couldn't help but gush about each other during the press tour.
After Ella called her parents "perfect," they bragged on each other.
"Well, when you have the perfect child, it's easy to be the perfect dad. And then you have Martha Stewart as a mother," Travolta teased of Preston. "Kelly, she is the perfect creator of environments in that she can create any atmosphere for a child or an adult."
Rare Family Outing
Preston and Travolta brought their daughter, Ella, and son Benjamin to the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, posing as a group at a screening of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The couple decided to share the screen together in the 2018 film Gotti, in which Travolta played notorious crime boss John Gotti, and Preston portrayed his wife, Victoria.
"We have the friendship and we have the rapport, so you can see the intimacy," Preston told ET about her natural chemistry with Travolta on the set of the film. "I looked at him and the way he looked at me was so completely ... I felt like I was in John Gotti's arms. It sent chills."
"For us to be in a movie where we're playing other people is so much fun, and that's what we kind of live for -- to have that creative experience together," Travolta added at the time.
Ella Breaks Into the Family Business
Travolta and Preston gushed about their daughter, Ella, in 2019 as she appeared alongside her dad in The Poison Rose.
Preston died a few years shy of sharing 30 years of marriage with Travolta. She often gushed about her husband and their love in interviews, revealing her secrets to a long-lasting marriage.
"I think it's communication, keeping it fresh, checking in with each other and evolving," Preston said on Good Morning America in 2018. "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."
She also gushed about her favorite parts of her husband during a 2018 interview on WWHL, saying, "His lips, dancing, fun, laughing. [We still dance] all the time," she added. "Kids dance with us, we dance at the house. We go out dancing. Yeah, I love it."
In her 2019 anniversary message to her husband, Preston wrote on Instagram, "To my dearest Johnny, the most wonderful man I know. 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 time lows.”
On June 21 in her final Instagram post before her death, Preston shared sweet family photos of herself and Travolta with their kids, writing, "Happy Father’s Day to the best one I know, we love you ??."
At the time, Travolta commented on the post, "I love you all so much ?!"