We were shocked and saddened to learn that actor Kelly Preston died at age 57 over the weekend, from complications of breast cancer. Our thoughts are with her husband, John Travolta, and their two children, Ella Bleu (20) and Benjamin (9). To celebrate Preston’s life, we’re looking back at some of her best quotes about being a mom.
Preston was clearly a devoted mother to her surviving children and to son Jett, who died at age 16 in 2009. In addition to her loving posts on social media featuring all three of them, she spent plenty of time in her interviews talking about her family. Though sometimes, we didn’t necessarily believe in the nonscientific proclamations she made about the causes of her eldest son’s health issues, including autism spectrum disorder and seizures, we never doubted that her kids were the center of her world.
Kelly Preston on wanting to be a mom:
“We plan to have some babies,” Preston said on Entertainment Tonight after getting engaged to Travolta, per People. “We’re practicing right now. This could be barefoot and pregnant for the next 10 years.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a mother, ever since I was 11,” she told Health in 2013. “I was an expert babysitter. I was doing commercials for thousands of dollars, but I’d still babysit for $3 an hour just because I loved it.”
“I love being pregnant,” she told Health. “I love the closeness I feel when I’m carrying them. I love feeling them move inside me. My heart breaks for people who aren’t able to have kids. But I feel like there’s really hope for anyone.”
On Scientology’s “silent birth” practice:
“Silent birth is basically just no words, as much as possible,” she said, according to E! News. “If you need to moan, if you cry out, you know, all of that of course, that’s normal. … Just bringing them in as peaceful and gentle a way as possible. … I’m blessed. My kids have always been amazing. Just very calm, very peaceful, happy, and I absolutely know that it’s very much because of that.”
On getting her body “back” after having son Benjamin at 47:
“In Hollywood everybody loses the weight in about three or six weeks; it’s kind of insane,” Preston told Health. “And I mean, if you have that type of body, then, all the power to you, it’s amazing that you can do that if it’s still healthy… I didn’t feel [pressure to], because I didn’t put it on myself. And I consciously didn’t want to go back to work right away. So I gave myself the break to lose it in a healthy, natural way.”
On how motherhood changed her, especially after #3:
“I’m so different, too,” she said on The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet, according to Us Weekly. “Now I don’t drink anymore. I don’t smoke anymore. I don’t do drugs anymore. All of those come with an ‘anymore.’ I used to do everything and a lot of everything. … For me, I find that our kids came in half the time to teach me about myself and to help me with others, and they have helped me so extraordinarily.”
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I have a special place in my heart for those with autism and special needs. Sending love to some of my favorite people in the world. My son Jetty was one of the most playful and wonderful souls you’ve ever met. Love to all of you with autism and special needs around the world.
On her son, Jett:
“To my sweet love, Jett… you are in our hearts forever,” Preston wrote of her late son on Instagram in 2019. “I send love to all of the beautiful autistic children and the wonderful people who love them. May we all shine and grant love and respect to children with special needs.”
“I have a special place in my heart for those with autism and special needs,” she said on Instagram this April. “Sending love to some of my favorite people in the world. My son Jetty was one of the most playful and wonderful souls you’ve ever met. Love to all of you with autism and special needs around the world.”
On losing a child:
“I’ve had enormous loss,” she told de Cadenet. “Nobody should have to lose a child. It’s unfathomable. But I’m here to say that you can get through it. You can live again. You can want to live again. … I’m not afraid to love and to love deeply. My kids help me with that. They open up your heart so much. There’s nothing like the love of a child . . . it’s the greatest thing ever.”
“I think that the most challenging scenes were the ones after Frankie Boy was killed,” Preston told InStyle of playing Victoria Gotti alongside Travolta in Gotti, in which their 12-year-old son is accidentally killed by a neighbor. “Those were the most challenging to play because of what we had shared as parents. It’s the worst thing to ever happen to a person. It literally is the worst thing you have to or could have to go through. … Everybody grieves differently, so it was portraying that through their eyes. It was their truth, and we had to play them as grieving parents. We could only do it how they would do it.”
On being the strict mom to Travolta’s permissive dad:
“[Ben] comes to me and says, ‘Can I have ice cream?’ at midnight, and I say, ‘No, no, you have to go to bed’ — and, mind you, it’s midnight and he’s 5,” Preston told People. “And Dad’s like, ‘Sure! Do you want hot fudge on that?’ … Then the meltdown happens, and I have to carry him off when he’s saying, ‘I’m too tired, Mama.’”
We get the feeling she didn’t mind that part too much.
Jett and Ella Bleu are two of our all-time favorite unique celebrity baby names; here are some more: