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John Travolta’s new agony as wife Kelly Preston dies after secret two-year breast cancer battle

HOLLYWOOD star John Travolta has paid tribute to his “bright, beautiful and brave” wife Kelly Preston, who has died from breast cancer.

Jerry Maguire actress Kelly, 57, had secretly been suffering from the disease for two years, keeping it hidden from their fans.

Her death was yet another hammer blow for Travolta in a three-decade romance that was beset by tragedy.

The couple’s son Jett died aged 16 in 2009 after hitting his head on a bath following a seizure.

That was followed by a painful court case where two people were accused of plotting to reveal compromising details of Jett’s death.

The couple had also faced regular controversy because of their devotion to the religious cult Scientology.

Yesterday Travolta, 66, paid tribute to his “beautiful wife” who he had been married to for almost 29 years.

He said: “Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered.”

In many ways their marriage seemed to be the perfect fairytale union.

At the age of 15, like so many besotted girls, Kelly swore she would one day marry Travolta after seeing him in Saturday Night Fever.

That dream came true in 1991 when he lifted her off her feet at their wedding in Paris.

Their long-time friend Douglas Thompson insists their love was the real thing.

The Brit told The Sun last night that Travolta had sought out every medical cure possible for his wife’s cancer.

But fearing the worst they had taken “commemorative” photos on their last wedding anniversary in September.

Travolta is now taking time off to comfort their 20-year-old daughter Ella and nine-year-old son Benjamin.

Ella gave her own tributes to her mum, writing: “I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you.

“Anyone who is lucky enough to have known you or to have ever been in your presence will agree that you have a glow and a light that never ceases to shine and that makes anyone around you feel instantly happy.”

Others who paid tribute included singer Mariah Carey, film star Russell Crowe and TV’s Piers Morgan.

Kelly had a tough start in life. Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu, Hawaii, her biological father had nothing to do with his daughter and drowned when she was aged just three.

She once said: “He never lived with us. Actually, he lived with his mistress or his girlfriend or whatever she was.”

Instead Kelly was brought up by her personnel director stepdad Peter Palzis and health administrator mum Linda, moving across the world to Iraq, Australia and California.

Her first marriage to actor Kevin Gage did not survive two years, with the couple splitting up in 1987.

He allegedly had drink problems and was later arrested for smoking ­cannabis.

It was during their divorce that Kelly met Travolta on the set of a long-forgotten box office flop called The Experts.

At the time both were facing a career crisis.

Travolta was the former star of Grease and Saturday Night Fever yet to resurrect his career with Pulp Fiction.

Kelly had enjoyed only supporting roles in movies such as Twins.

She and Travolta “flirted” on set, but did not take the romance any further and Kelly started dating heart-throb George Clooney instead.

This was followed by a brief, yet doomed, engagement to Hollywood wild man Charlie Sheen.

She said: “It discharged. It hit me. More, it was the shrapnel, and it hit me in the leg and the arm.

“It was just a lot of blood for very little injury.”

What brought her and Travolta together again was Scientology.

'He made me feel that I was the only woman on Earth for him'

The religion has a reputation for encouraging devotees to get hitched, so follower Kelly would have seemed the perfect match for Travolta, who was one of its most famous members.

According to Kelly, the matchmaker was Cheers actress Kirstie Alley, who was also in the cult. She invited both of them to a dinner party and ­Travolta made his feelings clear.

Kelly once said: “He told me straight, ‘Why can’t we be together?’ I said it was a great idea. But I wasn’t prepared for what followed.

“He made me feel that I was the only woman on Earth for him.”

Their wedding in Paris was not recognised in law because it had been conducted by a Scientology minister and they had a second, valid, ceremony in Florida.

Within no time both their careers were on the rise, with Travolta commanding £15million a movie following Pulp Fiction in 1994 and Kelly winning plaudits for her memorable performance alongside Tom Cruise in the Oscar-nominated Jerry Maguire.

Their fascination with Scientology, though, slowly tarnished their reputations.

They both starred in the sci-fi flop Battlefield Earth in 2000, which was based on a book by the cult’s founder L Ron Hubbard, and Kelly was named worst supporting actress at the Razzies.

Meanwhile, like fellow Scientologist Cruise, Kelly expressed concerns about using drugs to medicate depression.

More worryingly, it is alleged that the cult’s beliefs might have affected the way they dealt with their son Jett’s autism and seizures.

Scientologists do not believe in the condition or treating seizures with drugs.

Neither Kelly nor Travolta spoke publicly about Jett’s autism, instead claiming he had a rare syndrome.

After Jett died on holiday in the Bahamas, two people were tried for attempting to extort £20million from the couple by offering to cover up details of his last moments.

It was alleged Travolta had signed a “do not transfer to hospital” document before changing his mind and deciding to send Jett to a nearby medical facility.

But the trial in 2009 was dropped when Travolta could not bear to give any more evidence.

Kelly was to find joy among all the trauma with the birth of her son Benjamin in November 2010.

Travolta said Ben was a “beautiful kind of glue for us to re-bond after a tremendous loss.”

On red carpets and other glamorous events the family always had the glow of genuine affection.

In interviews they spoke enthusiastically about their enduring love and the strength of their marriage.

Yet Kelly has had to deal with years of rumours surrounding her husband’s sexuality. And Travolta has always denied being gay.

Kelly once said it “really p****s me off” when people claimed it was a marriage of convenience.

Travolta’s biographer Thompson says the accusations are “cruel ­innuendo” and Kelly’s devotion was unflinching.

He said: “When you met up with them they were that hand-holding couple, always checking the other was OK, watching their back, making certain each was ­comfortable where and with whom they were with.

“Kelly was John’s salvation. It is desperate to think where he is today without her.”

John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston dead at 57 after secret two-year battle with breast cancer

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