The longtime couple met in 1987 while working on 1989’s The Experts. “I see, no lie, coming across the hall with his two dogs, this really hot guy,” Preston recalled of their first encounter while speaking to Us Weekly and other reporters in 2018. “Then he stops and says hello. And I was like, ‘Oh s–t. Kill me now.’ You know, like, ‘Oh, my God.’”
Travolta was equally smitten with Preston. In 2018, he revealed to Us and other reporters that the duo had an “immediate chemistry” upon crossing paths. He also recalled what a “gorgeous woman” Preston was.
Preston had been married to actor Kevin Gage when she met Travolta, but the former pair divorced in 1987. The Jerry Maguire actress then dated George Clooney in 1989 and was briefly engaged to Charlie Sheen in 1990.
Travolta and Preston got engaged on New Year’s Eve in 1990 and tied the knot twice the following year. They welcomed son Jett in 1992 and daughter Ella in 2000. Their youngest son, Benjamin, was born in 2010 — the year after Jett died at 16 after experiencing a seizure.
“Certainly having little Ben has been a beautiful kind of glue for us to rebound after tremendous loss,” the Grease actor said on Good Morning America in September 2016.
Preston died in July 2020 after having secretly battled breast cancer for two years. She was 57.
In the wake of her passing, the Get Shorty actor posted a loving tribute in his wife’s honor on Instagram. “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 wrote. “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.”
Travolta added, “Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered. I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see the twosome’s love throughout the years.