Actor John Travolta may be facing a "make-or-break" moment with the Church of Scientology. Despite a 45-year dedication to the controversial religious organization, he refuted the church's recommendations when his wife, the late Kelly Preston, was being treated for breast cancer.
Jeffrey Augustine, a former member and current critic of Scientology, pointed to a social media post that Travolta made praising MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, which is currently ranked the U.S.'s top hospital for cancer treatment. "The statement was unequivocal in the support of medical staff," Augustine told The Daily Mail. "It shows they've backed away from Scientology." He's joined by a number of former Scientology members and friends who have come forward to praise the actor for his decision. Preston passed away on July 12.
"It'll hurt to lose your wife of 30 years," Augustine added. There will be grief, it's human. There's no acknowledgment in that statement of Scientology, David Miscavige, or auditing, there's nothing that's critical, he took care of it in his own hands, this is a personal matter, like 'I don't need the Church.'" He went on to speculate on how the Church would have approached Travolta, which he says would likely involve the couple's late son, Jett, who passed away in 2009.
"In the Church, they'd say you lost Jett, so that's why you got cancer, so we need to audit that out. [But] they did it with medicine," Augustine explained, noting that the founder, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who didn't believe in cancer or treating it. "This was handled professionally and elegantly, I really admire the way he did it, he made Scientology a non-part of Kelly's death."
Travolta's former security guard Brendan Tighe also told the outlet that Preston's death was "as tragic as it gets to me." Tighe, who also worked with fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise, also speculated on what the actor will do now. "I'd also guess that he will take some time off with his kids to travel the world and get some space. His Scientology handlers will of course try to be there at every step, but he may not want the 'help' right away."
Travolta posted the news about Preston's passing on July 12, writing that she "fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many." He also took the time to praise MD Anderson's staff. "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."