Kelly Preston, who played dramatic and comic foil to actors ranging from Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire” to Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Twins,” died Sunday, husband John Travolta said. She was 57.
“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,” the 66-year-old “Grease” actor said in an Instagram post.
“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. Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered.”
Travolta said he will be taking some time off to be with the couple’s two children.
“Shocked by this sad news,” Maria Shriver said on Twitter. “Kelly was such a bright loving soul, a talented actress, and a loving mom and wife. My heart breaks for her family who have already known such sadness and grief.”
Preston had a lengthy acting career in movies and television, starring opposite Kevin Costner in the 1999 film “For the Love of the Game.” In 2003, she starred in “What a Girl Wants” and as the mom in the live-action adaptation of “The Cat in the Hat.” The following year she appeared in the music video for Maroon 5′s “She Will Be Loved.”
Russell Crowe, who was among the stars paying tribute to Preston on Twitter, wrote that he met her “first in late ‘92 I think,” adding, “In 1995 we auditioned together for Breaking Up, Salma Hayek got that gig.” Crowe said he hadn’t seen Preston much, “but when I did, she was always the same sparkly eyed gem.”
She also occasionally appeared in films with her husband, as they did in the box-office bomb “Battlefield Earth” in 2000.
Preston and Travolta were married at a midnight ceremony in Paris in 1991 while the couple were expecting their first son, Jett.
In January 2009, Jett Travolta, 16, died after a seizure at the family’s vacation home in the Bahamas. The death touched off a court case after an ambulance driver and his attorney were accused of trying to extort $25 million from the actors otherwise they would release sensitive information about their son’s death.
Travolta testified during a criminal trial that ended in a mistrial and was prepared to testify a second time, but decided to stop pursuing the case. He cited the severe strain the case and his son’s death had caused the family.
The couple, prominent Scientologists, credited the church with helping them cope with the tragedy.
Both Preston and Travolta returned to acting, with Preston’s first role back in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation, “The Last Song,” which starred Miley Cyrus and her future husband, Liam Hemsworth.
They had two other children, daughter Ella Bleu in 2000 and son Benjamin in 2010. Ella wrote on Instagram Sunday: “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.”
Travolta and Preston met while filming 1988′s “The Experts.”
They last starred together in the 2018 film “Gotti,” with Travolta playing John Gotti and Preston playing the crime boss’s wife, Victoria.