The Heartbreaking Tragedies of John Travolta's Life

John Travolta has faced many terrible losses, including the deaths of his wife, Kelly Preston, and 'Grease' co-star Olivia Newton-John.

John Travolta has lived a life full of success and joy, but the beloved actor has also lived through some terrible heartbreaking tragedies. With nearly 100 acting credits to his name, as well as Emmy and Golden Globe awards — not to mention multiple Oscar nominations — Travolta is one of the most celebrated Hollywood stars of his generation.

All the fame and accolades, however, can never make up for what Travolta has lost over the years, including a child. Scroll down to read more about the heartbreaking tragedies of John Travolta's life.

Diana Hyland

John Travolta sighting in LA – December 8th 1976

John Travolta and Diana Hyland sighting in LA (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)

- Tom Wargacki)

Travolta met actress Diana Hyland while filming the 1976 film The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, in which they portrayed mother and son. He was in his early 20s and she was in her early 40s. The pair began dating and remained together until Hyland's death.

In 1975, right before meeting Travolta, Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. However, the cancer spread, causing her health deteriorate. On March 27, 1977, Hyland died in Los Angeles, California with Travolta by her side, as well as Eight Is Enough co-star Dick Van Patten and his wife, Paula.

Jett Travolta

In 2009, John Travolta and his late wife Kelly Preston lost their son Jett, when the 16-year-old suffered a seizure and hit his head on a bathtub while the Travolta family was vacationing in the Bahamas. Jett was taken to Rand Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, per Heavy.

At a young age, Jett was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body. It most commonly impacts children under the age of five. Travolta once spoke about Jett's illness during a 2001 appearance on Larry King Live. "With my son … I was obsessive about cleaning — his space being clean, so we constantly had the carpets cleaned."

"And I think, between him, the fumes and walking around, maybe picking up pieces or something, he got what is rarely a thing to deal with, but it's Kawasaki syndrome," he added.

Kelly Preston

(Photo: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

In 1991, John Travolta married actress Kelly Preston — his co-star from the 1988 film The Experts — following relationships with French actress Catherine Deneuve and Taxi star Marilu Henner. Travolta and Preston shared three children: Jett (born in 1992), Ella Bleu (born in 2000), and Benjamin (born in 2010). 

On July 12, 2020, Travolta made the sad announcement that Preston had died, writing in a post on Instagram, "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."

Travolta continued, "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.
All my love."

Olivia Newton-John

(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John became lifelong friends after starring in the hit movie musical Grease together in 1978, portraying Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson, respectively. Sadly, in 2022, Newton-John passed away after a years-long battle with breast cancer.

In response to the news, Travolta penned the heartbreaking memorial on Instagram, writing, "my dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better." He added, "I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever!" Finally, Travolta signed the post, "Your Danny, your John," a reference to his onscreen counterpart in Grease.