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John Travolta: A life scarred by tragic losses

His wife of 30 years, Kelly Preston, lost her battle with breast cancer this week, another tragedy in the life of the actor who has had more than his fair share of grief, writes Peter Stanford

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Loved ones: John Travolta and Kelly Preston pictured in 2018 in Cannes. Photo: Getty

Loved ones: John Travolta and Kelly Preston pictured in 2018 in Cannes. Photo: Getty

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Loved ones: John Travolta and Kelly Preston pictured in 2018 in Cannes. Photo: Getty

Fame and wealth may insulate you against many of life's rougher edges, but they offer little protection when it comes to grief and loss. And, despite a glittering career that includes a Golden Globe award and two Oscar nominations, not to mention a fortune estimated last year at £150 million, John Travolta has had more than his fair share of both - though, of course, when it comes to losing loved ones, there is no such thing as fair.

On Monday, the Pulp Fiction star announced the death of his wife of almost 29 years, Kelly Preston, following a two-year battle with breast cancer. The 57-year-old actress had shunned the spotlight since 2018, when the couple co-starred in the gangster film, Gotti, her diagnosis a closely-kept secret. As recently as Fathers' Day, Preston made an all-smiles post on Instagram, giving every impression that all was well in their Hollywood world.

Less than a month later, however, Travolta has lost his companion of three decades - "marriage doesn't just happen on its own," Preston said when promoting Gotti at the Cannes Film Festival, "you have to keep creating love" - the latest blow in what, even before her death, he had described as "a life filled with variations of loss".