LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Kelly Preston, who played dramatic and comic foil to actors ranging from Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire” to Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Twins,” died Sunday, husband John Travolta said. She was 57.
Travolta said in an Instagram post that his wife of 28 years died after a two-year battle with breast cancer.
“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,” Travolta said. “She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.”
The couple had three children together.
Preston never went public about her battle.
"My knee jerk reaction was shock, and very sad to see that another woman had passed away from breast cancer," said Shelby Coriaty, a stage 3 breast cancer survivor.
Coriaty says the shock over Preston’s death sent waves through her online community of survivors Monday morning.
“It’s shock across the board, and again, it’s because she’s a public figure,” Coriaty said. “We don’t know if she was diagnosed early stage or late stage.”
Coriaty believes, given Preston’s short battle with the disease, it’s likely the cancer had metastasized, spreading to other parts of her body.
“If you have a stage 4 diagnosis, the five-year survival rate is only 27%," she said.
Dr. Bilal Farooqi, an oncology specialist in Brandon, said he saw a drop in women coming in for annual mammograms at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some patients have been more reluctant to go out and get their annual mammograms done,” he said. “It’s been postponed here and there, and back in March and April, we saw a significant dip.”
He says, waiting a few months is one thing, but don't let one postponement turn into another.
“It’s OK to postpone a mammogram a few months here and there, but you don’t want to go for the whole year, because if you catch a cancer early, you have the potential to cure it,” he said.
It's a luxury Kelly Preston’s family, will never have.
Preston had a lengthy acting career in movies and television, starring opposite Kevin Costner in the 1999 film “For the Love of the Game.” In 2003, she starred in “What a Girl Wants” and as the mom in the live-action adaptation of “The Cat in the Hat.” The following year she appeared in the music video for Maroon 5′s “She Will Be Loved.”
Russell Crowe tweeted that he met Preston “first in late ’92 I think,” adding, “In 1995 we auditioned together for Breaking Up, Salma Hayek got that gig.” Crowe said he hadn’t seen Preston much, “but when I did, she was always the same sparkly eyed gem.”
She occasionally appeared in films with her husband, as they did in the box-office bomb “Battlefield Earth” in 2000.
Preston and Travolta were married at a midnight ceremony in Paris in 1991 while the couple were expecting their first son, Jett.
In January 2009, Jett Travolta, 16, died after a seizure at the family’s vacation home in the Bahamas. The death touched off a court case after an ambulance driver and his attorney were accused of trying to extort $25 million from the actors in exchange for not releasing sensitive information about their son’s death.
Travolta testified during a criminal trial that ended in a mistrial and was prepared to testify a second time, but decided to stop pursuing the case and it was dismissed. He cited the severe strain the proceedings and his son’s death had caused the family.
Both Preston and Travolta returned to acting, with Preston’s first role back in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation, “The Last Song,” which starred Miley Cyrus and her future husband, Liam Hemsworth.
They had two other children, daughter Ella Bleu in 2000 and son Benjamin in 2010. Ella wrote on Instagram Sunday: “I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you. Anyone who is lucky enough to have known you or to have ever been in your presence will agree that you have a glow and a light that never ceases to shine and that makes anyone around you feel instantly happy.”
Travolta and Preston met while filming 1988′s “The Experts.”
They last starred together in the 2018 film “Gotti,” with Travolta playing John Gotti and Preston playing the crime boss’s wife, Victoria.
“Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered,” Travolta said on Instagram. “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.”
Preston’s death was first reported by People magazine.
FOX 13 News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.