John Travolta is opening up about the insightful conversation he had with his 10-year-old son, Ben, after the passing of his wife, Kelly Preston, last year.
The 67-year-old actor sat down with Kevin Hart in a new episode of the comedian's Peacock series, “Hart to Heart." The two touched on several personal topics, including a talk Travolta said he had with his son.
Travolta recounted that after Preston died, his son told him that he was afraid that he would also die so the "Die Hart" star tried to explain that he and Preston were in different situations.
“‘Ben, you always love the truth and I'm going to tell you the truth about life,’” Travolta recalled. “‘Nobody knows when they're going to go, when they're gonna stay.
"Your brother left at 16, too young. Your mother left at 57, that was too young, but who's to say? I could die tomorrow. You could. Anybody can. It’s part of life. You don't know exactly. You just do your best at trying to live the longest you can.”
Travolta also said his son asked him what it felt like to be in his 60s.
“My son has always wanted truth, and he's only accepting truth so I said, ‘You know what, Ben? I can't believe it. I can't believe I'm in the last chapter of my life. I can't believe it,’” Travolta recalled to Hart. “‘I’m like, eternally 21, I don't understand being in my 60s.’”
Ben then asked if his dad was able to remember what it was like three decades ago. When Travolta said that he did indeed remember, his son replied, “Just 30 years ago seemed like a long time. Don’t you think you have 30 more years in your life to live?”
The conversation changed Travolta’s outlook on life and he told Hart, “I realized that it's about viewpoint in life that allows you to settle down about something. There ain’t nothing wrong with 30 years. But yet, before he said that, I was thinking that, ‘Oh this is my last? How sad.’”
When reflecting on what he wants to happen in the next 30 years of his life, Travolta explained that he’s most looking forward to passing down his own gifts to his children. His daughter, Ella, is stepping into her father's footsteps as an actor and singer and Travolta is preparing Ben to follow suit.
“I want to leave this world with them doing great, and they already are,” he said. “That's my main thing, is to pay it forward to them.”
Preston died in July 2020 after a two-year battle with breast cancer at age 57. The couple were married for just shy of 30 years and had three children together: Ella, Jett and Ben. Travolta’s late son, Jett, died in January 2009 at age 16 after suffering a seizure during a family vacation in the Bahamas.
Travolta and his family have honored his late wife’s memory in the year since her death. The actor marked the family’s first Christmas without Preston last December and more recently, Travolta shared a tribute to Preston on Mother’s Day, penning a short letter to his late wife.
“Dearest Kelly,” he wrote alongside a family photo. “You brought into my life three of the most wonderful children I have ever known. Thank you.”
"Mourning is individual and experiencing your own journey is what can lead to healing," he said. "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."
"The first thing you should do when you experience grief is to go to a place where you can mourn, without any interference," he said. "If I die tomorrow, the last thing I want to see is that everyone around is sunk.”