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John Travolta Gets Candid About His Son's Death: "I Didn't Know If I Was Going To Make It"

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Celebrities have to live life in the spotlight, that's the trade-off for the fabulous wealth and adoring fans. Being in the public eye means there are very few secrets that a celebrity can hold, almost everything is known to the world.

John Travolta knows that very well. He's been a celebrity for over 40 years. He's had huge successes and epic failures, all lived out publicly for all to see.

There are some things he's managed to keep relatively to himself however. He's a famous Scientologist, a controversial religion created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, but doesn't get the same divisive responses as other A-list Scientologists like Tom Cruise.

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He also went through an intense tragedy when he lost his 16-year-old son Jett. In what seems like a rare moment of humanity from the media, Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston were able to grieve in relative privacy.

Jett died ten years ago after suffering a seizure in the shower at Travolta's vacation home in the Bahamas. He hit his head and was pronounced dead at Rand Memorial Hospital.

Jett had a history of seizures.

"My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Every five to ten days he suffered seizures which lasted 45 seconds to a minute," Travolta said in court during an extortion trial.

In the wake of his son's death, Travolta was allegedly blackmailed by the paramedics who tried to help Jett. It was claimed they threatened to release documents that could be viewed as harmful to Travolta, implicating him in his son's death.

The document in question was a non-transfer document which Travolta signed. Substantiated reports say Travolta initially wanted his son flown to Florida for treatment, but relented and agreed for Jett to be taken to a hospital in the Bahamas.

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The judge eventually threw out the charges claiming there was evidence of jury tampering.

With the emotional toll of losing a child, coupled with a grueling trial, it's no wonder Travolta has been reticent to speak about his loss.

Now, a decade after Jett's death, Travolta has opened up more than ever before.

In an interview with US Weekly, Travolta described his son's death as "the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life."

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"I didn't know if I was going to make it," he said.

Travolta has spoken about his son's death before, but usually not in so high profile a setting. In an on-stage interview at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, the actor also opened up about the tragedy.

"Life was no longer interesting to me, so it took a lot to get me better."

In 2019, Travolta is more comfortable talking about his recovery. He credits his family and his church with helping him heal.

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“Our children keep our interest in life very high. Their future is very important to us,” he said. Travolta and Preston have two other children. Ella, 18, and Benjamin, 8.

Travolta said his church "didn't leave his side" for two years following the death.

“I don’t know if I would have made it through without their support."

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Preston gave birth to baby Benjamin when she was 48, after years of trying for another baby. Travolta credits his youngest child with keeping the family together.

“Certainly having little Ben has been a beautiful kind of glue for us to rebond after a tremendous loss.”

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Travolta and Preston have been one of Hollywood's most enduring couples. Married in 1991, they've seen career downturns, scandalous rumors and heartbreaking tragedy. We can only hope the future is kinder to them than the past has been.

I've been writing for Shared for 6 years. Along with my cat Lydia, I search for interesting things to share with you! You can reach me at Tristan@shared.com.