He loved her "unconditionally" and had planned on marrying her. "Diana always wanted the world for me in every possible way,” he said.
Cancer is a ruthless disease that breaks down not just the sufferer but their loved ones too. It requires a great amount of patience, courage, strength, and hope from everyone. Even the strongest of individuals can either win their battle or succumb to it. Actor John Travolta has faced its wrath by watching his dear ones battle it, not once, but twice in his life.
Travolta confirmed his wife, Kelly Preston's death in an emotional Instagram post on Sunday. The Twins actress, 57, lost her two-year-long battle to breast cancer. They had been married happily for 29 years and were parents to three children Ella Bleu, Benjamin, and Jett, who passed away in 2009 due to a seizure, reported The New York Post.
But this is not the first time that the Grease actor has lost someone dear to him. Before Preston, 43 years ago in 1977, Travolta lost his first love, Diana Hyland to the same cause. His dreams of a happy future with Hyland were shattered in the blink of an eye.
Known for her roles in Burke's Law (1965) and Smoky (1966, Hyland was starring as Travolta's mother in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) when they met, reported People. Even though Hyland was 18 years senior to Travolta, the pair fell madly in love with each other.
“I have never been more in love with anyone in my life,” he revealed to People in 1977. “I thought I was in love before, but I wasn’t. From the moment I met her I was attracted. We were like two maniacs talking all the time on the set of Bubble. After a month it became romantic.”
Travolta, who considers himself a one-woman man, admitted that never in his life had he thought that he would meet someone who'd mean everything to him. He said, "I had more fun with Diana than I ever had in my life. And the odd thing is just before we met I thought I would never have a successful relationship. She told me that she too had thought the same thing. Then, bam.”
During the seven months of filming, the couple never missed a chance to be with each other and nurture their relationship. Hyland's son Zachary, 4, from a previous marriage, used to accompany them to their weekend vacations. But their happiness didn't last for too long as the duo had expected.
Travolta had been shooting for Saturday Night Fever in New York when he had to return because Hyland found out that her cancer had returned, as reported by The Daily Mail. Just two years before meeting Travolta, the actress had had a mastectomy. Travolta told People, "She didn’t know she was going to die for sure until two weeks before,” he continued, “And when I first knew her there was a possibility it would never happen.”
The Pulp Fiction actor loved Hyland so dearly that he had taken the liberty of planning a future with her. But just two weeks after finding out about the relapse, Hyland passed away at 41, leaving behind a heartbroken Travolta. "I picked out a house, and Diana and I were planning on moving in right after this movie,” he revealed, referring to Saturday Night Fever. "If she was alive, it is very possible I would have married her,” reported Fox News.
Zachary, whom the 66-year-old actor had embraced as his own revealed that the Hairspray actor had loved his mom "unconditionally," reported The Sun. Randal Kleiser, the director of Grease divulged that the then 23-year-old was so engulfed by the grief that he often struggled with his lines. The actor told People, “I gave her great joy the last months of her life. I always feel she is with me—I mean her intentions are. Diana always wanted the world for me in every possible way.”
He immersed himself into work just as Hyland had asked him to. Right before dying in his arms, she said, “I’m going now, but you are going to have this work,” reported Fox News. Travolta revealed that he "felt the breath go out of her.” Finding love after Hyland wasn't easy for the actor until 1989.
He met Kelly Preston on the screen test of The Experts, which he later described as "love at first sight." Even though he had felt “immediate chemistry,” the couple didn't let their romance bloom until 1990, after Preston got divorced.
They didn't wait too long and on New Year’s Eve 1991, Travolta proposed Preston on one knee with a six-carat yellow-and-white diamond ring. Surprised by the grand gesture, Preston just "screamed" in glee.
Survived by her three kids, she once revealed in an interview how great and fun Travolta is as a father. She said, "Johnny has absolutely no discipline. He is the dad who says, 'I can't, hon.' He just can't (discipline them),” reported The Daily Mail.
The pair have stuck by each other and had kept Preston's cancer battle a secret for two years. On their wedding anniversary in September 2019, Preston wrote an emotional tribute to Travolta on Instagram, expressing her love and gratitude for her husband. "You have given me hope when I have felt lost, loved me patiently and unconditionally… made me laugh harder than any other human being possible… shared the most beautiful highs and at times low."
She continued, "You're a dream Daddio and make life so much fun!! I trust my love with you implicitly… with you I know I will always be okay no matter what happens. I love you forever and completely. Happy 28th Anniversary @johntravolta"
The actor has revealed that he would be taking a break from everything to mourn his "beautiful" wife's loss along with his family. He concluded the Instagram post dedicated to Preston saying, "...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. All my love, JT."