This time last year, John Travolta took to Instagram to praise “the best mother” his children could have, Kelly Preston, his wife of nearly 29 years, in a Mother’s Day tribute. Just two months later, in another post, he shared the heartbreaking news of her death at the age of 57.
So, on Sunday, to mark the first Mother’s Day he and their children have faced without her, the actor returned to social media with another message about his late spouse — this one written as a brief letter to Preston.
“Dearest Kelly,” he wrote. “You brought into my life three of the most wonderful children I have ever known. Thank you.”
Alongside the message, photos showed Travolta and Preston with their children — one shot of them side by side with daughter Ella, 21, and son Benjamin, 10, and another older photo, featuring the happy couple with their first child, son Jett, who died in 2009 at 16 years old.
“We love and miss you,” Travolta continued. “Happy Mother’s Day.”
The 67-year-old proposed to Preston in 1991, a few years after they met filming the box office comedy “The Experts.” Months later, they wed at a Parisian hotel.
When the screen star and mother of three died last summer, Travolta revealed that she’d been battling cancer privately for years.
“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,” he explained.
At the time he told his fans that they might not hear from him for a while, as he needed to take time to be there for their children. But since then, he’s been open about the profound loss his family suffered with Preston’s death and about the difficulties that come with navigating such grief.
"Mourning is individual and experiencing your own journey is what can lead to healing," he recently told Esquire Spain. "The most important thing you can do to help another when they are in mourning is to allow them to live it and not complicate it with yours."
Travolta added, "Even though it's great to have company, sometimes it becomes like you're helping them rather than putting yourself to work overcoming feelings of loss and grief.”
Shortly after he shared his tribute to his wife Sunday, daughter Ella posted on Instagram to celebrate her mom with an open letter of her own.
“Mama, thank you for all you have done for us and for this world,” she shared beside another vintage photo. “I miss you and love you very much, but your smile, warmth and love is ever lasting.”