Born name: Kelly Kamalelehua Smith
Date of Birth: October 13, 1962
Place of Birth: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Died: July 12, 2020 (aged 57), Houston, Texas, United States
Cause of death: Breast cancer
Alma mater: University of Southern California
Occupation: Actress, model
Children: Jett Travolta, Ella Bleu Travolta, Benjamin Travolta
Spouse: John Travolta (m. 1991), Kevin Gage (m. 1985–1987)
Kelly Kamalelehua Smith (October 13, 1962 – July 12, 2020), better known by her stage name Kelly Preston, was an American actress and model. She appeared in more than sixty television and film productions, most notably including Mischief (1985), Twins (1988), and Jerry Maguire (1996). She was married to John Travolta, with whom she collaborated on the science fiction film Battlefield Earth (2000) and the biographical film Gotti (2018). She also starred in the films The Cat in the Hat (2003), What a Girl Wants (2003), Broken Bridges (2006) and Old Dogs (2009).
Kelly Kamalelehua Smith (the middle name "Kamalelehua" means 'garden of lehuas' in Hawaiian - a lehua being a well-known Hawaiian flower) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her mother, Linda, was an administrator of a mental health center. Her father, who worked for an agricultural firm, drowned when Preston was three years old.[failed verification] Her mother subsequently married Peter Palzis, a personnel director. He adopted Preston, and she used his name in her acting career. She also had a younger half-brother, Chris Palzis.
As a child, Preston lived in Iraq, and also Australia, where she attended Pembroke School in Adelaide. She then attended Punahou School in Honolulu, and studied drama and theater at the University of Southern California.
While living in Australia, Preston was discovered at 16 by a fashion photographer who helped her get work in commercials and other small parts. He arranged her first film audition for the role of Emmeline in The Blue Lagoon (1980), which she lost to the younger Brooke Shields. At that time she changed her last name to Preston.
Her first prominent film roles came in 1985—first as Marilyn McCauley in romantic comedy teen flick Mischief; then as the beautiful but shallow Deborah Ann Fimple in another teen romantic comedy, Secret Admirer. Her other notable roles included SpaceCamp (1986), Twins (1988) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, Avery Bishop in Jerry Maguire (1996) with Tom Cruise, Jane Aubrey in For Love of the Game with Kevin Costner and Kate Newell, and in Holy Man (1998) with Eddie Murphy and Jeff Goldblum. In 1997, she starred in Nothing to Lose, which co-starred Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence, although Lawrence and Preston did not receive screen credit. She also starred in the movie Jack Frost (1998).
Preston played the girlfriend of her husband John Travolta's character "Terl" in the 2000 film Battlefield Earth, and received "Worst Supporting Actress" at the 21st Golden Raspberry Awards for her role in the film. In 2005, she appeared as the protagonist's flying, superhero mother in the film Sky High.
In 2004, Preston was in the Maroon 5 music video "She Will Be Loved", which featured a love triangle and romantic scenes between Preston and Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine. In 2007, Preston appeared in the crime thriller Death Sentence, in which she played Helen Hume, the wife of Kevin Bacon's character Nick. In 2008, she was cast in a television pilot called Suburban Shootout, and had a short term recurring role in Medium.
In 2008, Preston starred in the Lifetime television film The Tenth Circle, directed by Peter Markle. It was shot in Nova Scotia and featured Ron Eldard, Britt Robertson, Michael Riley, Jamie Johnston and Geordie Brown.
Preston was a spokeswoman for Neutrogena, appearing in its print and television ads.
Preston was married to actor Kevin Gage from 1985 until their divorce in 1987. She was briefly engaged to Charlie Sheen in 1990, but ended the relationship shortly after he allegedly shot her in the arm. In a 2011 interview with TMZ, Preston said that Sheen did not shoot her.
Preston first met John Travolta in 1987 while filming The Experts. The second ceremony took place on September 12 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Preston and Travolta had three children: son Jett (April 13, 1992 – January 2, 2009), daughter Ella Bleu (born 2000), and a second son, Benjamin (born 2010).
Death of Jett Travolta
Preston's son Jett Travolta was described as suffering from Kawasaki disease as an infant and had a history of seizures. In 2003, Preston appeared on The Montel Williams Show to promote L. Ron Hubbard's Purification Rundown, which she credited with helping her son.
On January 2, 2009, Jett Travolta died while the family was on a holiday vacation in The Bahamas. His death was attributed to a seizure. In September 2009, Travolta and Preston confirmed longstanding speculations when they testified that their son had autism and suffered regular seizures. This revelation came during their testimony at the trial resulting from an extortion attempt related to their son's death.
On January 23, 2009, three people were arrested in the Bahamas in connection with a multimillion-dollar extortion plot against Travolta and Preston concerning the circumstances of their son's death. One of the men, Obie Wilchcombe, a member of the Bahamian Parliament and former Bahamian Minister of Tourism, was described as a "close friend" of Travolta and Preston. Two others allegedly involved were an EMT named Tarino Lightbourne and a Bahamian senator named Pleasant Bridgewater. Bridgewater was charged with abetment to extort and conspiracy to extort and resigned from the Senate as a result of the allegations. The first trial ended in a mistrial. After a second jury had been selected, the Travoltas elected to drop the case and all charges against the defendants were dismissed.
On July 12, 2020, Preston died at the age of 57, two years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her death was announced on an Instagram post under an account belonging to John Travolta and Ella Bleu.
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