Jett Travolta was born in 1992 as the first child of actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston. However, he lived a life that was as quietly challenging as it was overshadowed by his family’s fame. Let’s learn more about Jett’s side of the story.
Jett’s Health Struggles
Jett’s early years were shadowed by health issues. At just 15 months old, he was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in young children that involves inflammation of the blood vessels. This early health scare was the beginning of a series of challenges for Jett, as he was also on the autism spectrum and experienced regular seizures starting from the age of two.
His Death and John Travolta’s Legal Battle
John and Kelly balanced their professional commitments with parenting. Despite these efforts, tragedy struck on January 2, 2009, during a family vacation in the Bahamas. Jett, at 16, suffered a fatal seizure after hitting his head on a bathtub. As reported by a Bahamian death certificate, his cause of death was a seizure.
In the aftermath of this heartbreaking event, John Travolta faced a $25 million extortion case involving an ambulance driver and a lawyer in the Bahamas. The case, which revolved around allegations of wrongdoing and threats to release sensitive information, eventually ended in a mistrial due to procedural errors.
The Effect of Jett’s Passing on Travolta
Jett’s death had a profound effect on his parents. John Travolta publicly shared the depth of his loss during the on-stage interview at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, describing it as ‘the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life.’ He added:
“The truth is, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Life was no longer interesting to me, so it took a lot to get me better.”
Travolta also revealed how the Church of Scientology, of which he has been a follower since the 1970s, played a role in his coping process:
“I will forever be grateful to Scientology for supporting me for two years solid, I mean, Monday through Sunday. They didn’t take a day off, working through different angles of the techniques to get through grief and loss and to make me feel that finally I could get through a day.”
Jett’s mother, Kelly, later passed away in 2020 after a two-year battle with breast cancer.
Aftermath of the Tragedy
In honor of Jett, the Travolta family established the Jett Travolta Foundation in 2009. This non-profit organization focuses on aiding children with special needs, like the challenges Jett faced in his life. The foundation has supported various organizations, including the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.