John Travolta has opened up about a candid conversation he had about life and death with his son Benjamin.
Travolta recounted to Kevin Hart on the Peacock series Hart to Heart on Thursday how his 10-year-old son expressed fear that the actor would die on the heels of mom Kelly Preston, who died of metastatic breast cancer in 2020.
“He said to me once, ‘Because mom passed away, I’m afraid you’re going to,” the 67-year-old star of Pulp Fiction and Grease recalled. “I said, ‘Well, it’s a very different thing.’ And I went through the differences about my longevity and her limited life,” as the Jerry Maguire actress fought cancer for two years.
Travolta continued, “I said, ‘But you know, Ben — you always love the truth and I’m going to tell you the truth about life. Nobody knows when they’re gonna go or when they’re going to stay. Your brother [Jett] 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.”
Travolta, who married Preston in 1991, ended by saying, “So let’s look at it like it’s part of life. You don’t know exactly. You just do your best at trying to live the longest you can.'”
In the wide-ranging interview in which he also discussed his career, his love of flying, his finances and continued devotion to Scientology, Travolta also admitted he was looking at aging all wrong after a different conversation with Ben. He admitted to his inquisitive son that he was surprised to find himself in his “last chapter” of life, being in his late 60s, when he feels “eternally 21” at heart.
“He said, ‘Well, OK. Do you remember 30 years ago?” Travolta said of his chat with Ben. “I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Does 30 years ago seem like a long time time?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Don’t you think you have 30 more years in your life to live?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I do. I have at least 30 more years.’ He said: What’s wrong with that?”
Travolta marveled, “This is a 10-year-old telling me that! It changed my viewpoint.”
Travolta said in his years to come, his focus is on his two children — also including budding star Ella Travolta, who’s tackling her first starring role in Get Lost, a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland.
“I’m looking forward to basically forwarding the gifts I’ve been given to my children,” Travolta said.
He said, “Ella’s set,” noting she’s a “brilliant” actor, songwriter and singer. “She is already on her way.”
Travolta said he loves “the life of an actor and performer,” saying “there’s no better lifestyle,” and hopes to coach Ben toward that as well. “My boy, I need to get him going.”
The proud dad added, “So I want to leave this world with them doing great. And they already are, but my main thing is to pay it forward to them.”