John Travolta recalled having truthful conversations about death with his 10-year-old son, Ben, after his wife, Kelly Preston, lost her battle with breast cancer.
“He said to me once, ‘Because mom passed away, I’m afraid you’re going to,’” Travolta, 67, said on Kevin Hart’s Peacock talk show, “Hart to Heart,” which premiered earlier this month.
“I said, ‘Well, it’s a very different thing.’ And I went through the differences about my longevity and her limited life,” he 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.’”
The “Grease” star explained that he told his son they should just continue to live each day knowing that death is a part of life.
“‘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,’” he remembered telling Ben. “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.”
Travolta also noted that he told his son that he feels “eternally 21” when Ben asked if he still remembered what things were like a decade ago.
“He said, ‘Does 30 years ago seem like a long 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,’” the actor recounted. “He said, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ This is a 10-year-old telling me that! It changed my viewpoint.”
Preston, who married Travolta in 1991, died in July 2020 after battling breast cancer for two years.
“She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many. Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered,” the “Pulp Fiction” star wrote in a statement at the time.
In addition to Ben, Travolta and Preston shared 21-year-old daughter Ella and late son Jett, who died at the age of 16 after suffering a seizure in 2009.