John Travolta with his wife and son

Inside John Travolta’s tragic family life: From the lover who ‘died in his arms’ to loss of wife and son

Grief has plagued John's life and career

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John Travolta has endured immeasurably sadness in his life – from the loss of his son Jett to the death of wife Kelly Preston.

Grief was something Grease and Saturday Night Fever star John – who appears in Look Who’s Talking Too on Channel 5 today (June 26) – had to deal with early on in his career.

Tragedy first struck for the actor in 1977. It came ahead of the release of his first feature film, Saturday Night Fever.

John Travolta smiling on the red carpet
Grease star John Travolta has endured a lot of grief in his life, including the death of his son and his wife (Credit: Splash News)

John Travolta’s tragic private life: Death of girlfriend

John had been dating actress Diana Hyland, who was 18 years older than him.

Friends of the couple said that he “worshipped her”.

However, tragedy struck when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Wensley Clarkson, who wrote a biography about the star, claimed that John spent every moment he could with Diana.

In the book, he said: “He had to go from being a caring partner to someone who’s dying of cancer to being a cocky, streetwise disco boy in Saturday Night Fever.”

She actually died in his arms and then he had to get back on that airplane, fly back to New York and go onto the set of Saturday Night Fever almost as if nothing had happened.”

Diana sadly died three months after her diagnosis.

Wensley said: “She actually died in his arms and then he had to get back on that airplane, fly back to New York and go onto the set of Saturday Night Fever almost as if nothing had happened.”

John loses his beloved mother Helen

Just 18 months later, however, with John’s starring role as Danny in Grease under his belt, his mother was diagnosed with the same disease.

John visited almost every day, attempting to keep her spirits up by singing to his beloved mum.

Just eight months after she was diagnosed, though, Helen died, leaving a “huge void” in John’s life, pals said.

The death of John Travolta’s son Jett

After meeting wife Kelly Preston, John became a father to three adorable kids.

However, their family life was hit by tragedy, after his role in Hairspray, when his son Jett died suddenly.

Jett was just 16 at the time of his death in 2009.

He suffered a seizure and hit his head on a bathtub, dying at the family’s home in the Bahamas.

Speaking about the loss of his son, John admitted it was “the worst thing that’s ever happened to me bar none”.

He is also dad to Ella, 22, and Benjamin, 11.

John Travolta smiling with wife Kelly Preston
So sad: John paid tribute to wife Kelly Preston after her tragic death in 2020 (Credit: Splash News)

Kelly Preston dies of breast cancer

Fast-forward to 2018 and the Travolta family were hit with yet more agonising news.

John’s beloved beautiful wife Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She sadly died after a valiant battle with the disease at the age of 57 in 2020.

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He announced the news on Instagram.

He posted: “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer.

“She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.

“My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side.

“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.”

Look Who’s Talking Too, starring John Travolta, is on Channel 5 today (June 26) at 2pm.

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