“We love and miss you Kelly. Happy Mother’s Day,” the Grease star, 68, wrote via Instagram on Sunday, May 8, alongside a slideshow of photos of Preston with Travolta and their three children, Jett, Ella, now 22, and Benjamin, now 11. Jett died in January 2009 at the age of 16 after suffering a seizure and hitting his head.
In July 2020, Travolta announced that his wife died at age 57 after a two-year struggle with breast cancer. “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,” the Pulp Fiction star wrote via Instagram at the time, revealing that Preston wished to keep her illness private.
He continued: “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.”
The couple, who met in 1987 while working on The Experts, tied the knot in 1991. “[They] were true partners,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively about Preston and Travolta shortly after her death, adding that the Saturday Night Fever star was “devastated” by the loss of his wife. “Ella and Kelly were best friends and inseparable, and of course Benjamin worshiped his mom,” the insider continued.
Travolta has continued to celebrate the Jerry McGuire actress in the years since her death, including in May 2021 when he shared a tribute to the late actress for Mother’s Day. “Dearest Kelly, you brought into my life three of the most wonderful children I have ever known,” he wrote via Instagram at the time. “Thank you. We love and miss you. Happy Mother’s Day.”
Three months later, the Face/Off star opened up about speaking with their youngest son, Benjamin, about Preston’s death during an appearance on Kevin Hart‘s Hart to Heart talk show.
Explaining that the then 10-year-old confessed that he was “afraid” of losing his father in the wake of the What a Girl Wants star’s death, Travolta recalled: “I said, ‘Well, it’s a very different thing.’ And I went through the differences about my longevity and her limited life.”
“I said, ‘But you know, Ben, you always love the truth and I’m going to tell you the truth about life. Nobody knows when they’re gonna go or when they’re going to stay,’” he continued. “‘Your brother [Jett] left at 16. Too young. Your mother left at 57. That was too young. But who’s to say? I could die tomorrow. You could. Anybody can. So let’s look at it like it’s part of life. You don’t know exactly. You just do your best at trying to live the longest you can.’”
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