John Travolta on his kids and their different personalities

06/13/2007 at 10:31 PM ET

Long-time actor John Travolta, 53, will be appearing in the movie adaptation of Hairspray, in a role he has never done before: a charming housewife named Edna. John sits down with Reader’s Digest and opens up about Jett, 15, and Ella, 7, his children with actress Kelly Preston, 44.

Ella didn’t mind her dad was playing a woman in the movie. Ella loved Edna. But she did not like Edna half-dressed. If I just had the [face, neck, and cleavage] prosthetics on, and my short hair, Ella would say, ‘I like Edna a lot, but I don’t like the Flapper,’ which is what we called the prosthetic because it had a flap.

Ella also understands how busy her dad must be. She’s got the personality of a 30-year-old. The other day she said, ‘Daddy, what’s your favorite book?’ I said, ‘When I was little, I like To Kill a Mockingbird.’ She said, ‘I mean today.’ I hesitated. She said, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have time to read.’ It was like, You’re not well-read. I’ll bail you out.

What about Jett? As much as Ella loves show business, he loves the outdoors — sports, swimming, bike riding, hiking. Ella is going to be in a movie with us this summer because that’s her forte. It’s a comedy called Old Dogs, with Robin Williams, me, Ella and Kelly.

Click below for more on a third child and Jett as a baby.

John and Kelly haven’t made it a secret that they would like to have another child. John says, [We’lltry] this summer, probably after we finish Old Dogs. Kelly and I likethe idea of having a child around all the time. That’s much moreinteresting to us than having our own time again. Having kids issomething you can’t always do. Kids are like lightning. You grab thatlightening when you can get it. Plus, infants just make me happy.

Those late and sleepless nights don’t faze this couple at all. Kelly and I used to race to see who could get to Jett first.

Source: Reader’s Digest, July 2007 issue, pages 152-157


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kate on

i feel bad for jett!
the one question about him gets steered back to ella.

kinda like Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

niki on

I have NO respect for these people! They always Ella this and Ella that and leave poor Jett out of everything because he has autism and the Scientology Church won’t regocnize it.

I think Jet is a GREAT kid and just needs the love and attention that his sister gets

Joslyn on

Fuckin greedy ever since Ella has been born I hardly hear Jett anymore. Vice versa she may be their only girl but get with it you have to children. Its Jett and Ella not Ella Ella Ella. Get over it John And Kelly.

ChristineM on

Thats exactly what I thought he seems to be avoiding the subject. Perhaps he is just trying to promote the movie they are all starring in but he could still tell how wonderful his son is

TracyG on

I remember that John once said he had taken Jett up in his plane to teach him the “ins and outs” of flying. I wonder what came of that?

You can tell how much they love their kids, but it [i]does[/i]seem like they prefer to do things and encourage Ella more..or maybe just talk about her more.

I love John Travolta – he’s one of my all time faves since he was on ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ back in the day!

Melissa on

Kate- I thought the same thing. It was like he was uncomfortable talking about him and only wanted to talk about Ella.

amelita on

Yes, Kate, exactly what I was thinking! I remeber a few months ago when I first heard that they were thinking about a third child and John T made some comment to the effect that they wanted another child, a boy specifically, because they have their princess. And I thought to myself, wouldn’t that make Jett their prince? It lent greater validity to the rumor that Jett has autism and it made me feel like they think of Jett as damaged goods and not fit to be their prince. I like this family less and less the more they open their mouths.

Mary on

I actually think Kelly as a mother is more close to Jett than Travolta is.. and I also think is disturbing the way he do not put things in perspective to his healthy.

Never had a opinion on him, but I dont like his way to deal with his son.

Tracy on

Yeah, I’ve definitely lost respect for both of them… I agree with all of you about how he totally avoided the question about Jett and focused on his “princess”… So sad… C’mon John, shape up and be a good dad for BOTH of your children!

cindi on

Actually they love there kids .Any decent person on this earth LOVES there kids more than anything .My aunt tina has been handicaped her whole life and no one has ever loved her less .Scientology (being a scientologist myself) is not about what you read in magazines . They LOVE jett so much that they would never degrade him in public and thats the truth .Think of it this way,would you rather have everyone saying ‘oh ur poor child,poor you,poor them’ Or hey hes really good at basketball,he loves sitting and reading with his mother .If a person grows up all his life being told hes less than,thats all they’d ever be .We’re not victims of this world,and we should stop looking at each other as if we were !

Lisa B on

God how awful. Jett is ignored as he is not ‘perfect’ and they are going to ‘try’ for another boy? Kelly is 45- how are they going to circumvent the obvious problem of her age to that ensure a suitable prince is born? I can’t imagne any normal 45 year old woman thinking that she can wait til next year to try for a baby so I am guessing they already know that adoption (so handy for ensuring all is well with baby before publicity kicks in) is on the cards.

far on

wow, a whole sentence about jett.

and everything about ella.

editorjax on

I think it is pretty clear where their kids stand. Ever since Ella was born, she has been royalty and Jett relegated to minion status. John had his chance to talk about Ella in the question about her, and yet when a question was asked about Jett, he said a short sentence and then went back to talking about his precious princess. It is great that John and Kelly love their daughter — I can see him being the kind of dad whose daughter would have him wrapped around her little finger — but come on, it looks like favortism. I really appreciate the celebs who are upfront about their children’s problems and clearly love them just the same — Jenny McCartney, Holly Robinson Peete, hell, even Katie Price.

denisse on

omg this is so csad when you said about they want a baby boy because they have their princess is so sad, and is true they are always out with ella, and they always talk about ella i just hope that at home everything is diferentt but i dont believe that i think that john is focus on his princess and kelly has to divide her time in both of them this is so sad

J.J. on

I really love how the Travoltas bond with their daughter Ella. She truly is their little princess, but I do not like the fact that they are forgetting about their son. It’s kind of rude that when a question about Jett is mentioned, the response is fairly brief-ONE sentence. It seems like John doesn’t really care about him or doesn’t want to create the bond that he has with Ella just because he has autism. I think the only reason he wants a third baby and a boy specifically is so he can have a father-son relationship with the new little one that he seems to refuse with Jett.

J.M. on

I do rememeber their statement about wanting a boy bc they have their “princess” and I think this means they’d like a “normal” boy and not one who obviously has something wrong with them.

I love John and Kelly but I do think having another child just to get a “perfect” child is a bit selfish imho. Why not adopt? I mean she’s 46 and he’s 53 their risk of having a child with something wrong with it is extremely high at this point, what would happen if god forbid another baby of theirs had something wrong with it??

I don’t think it’s that Jett doesn’t have an interest for movies he probably doesn’t have the attention span or patience to be in one. But they should stop ignoring the fact that something is wrong. And if nothing is wrong, great, but why shield him so much from the public eye?

I am sure Ella will shine in her new movie but I hope that J&K are not just having kids to make them stars to carry on the name. But I have no doubts that they love their children. I have seen the joy in their eyes when they talk about them or even in photos. We don’t really know what goes on personally and I am sure Jett gets plenty of love and attention at home.

Tiffany on

Wow Cindi are you close friends with the Travolta’s?

aimee on

Kelly is 45- how are they going to circumvent the obvious problem of her age to that ensure a suitable prince is born? I can’t imagne any normal 45 year old woman thinking that she can wait til next year to try for a baby so I am guessing they already know that adoption (so handy for ensuring all is well with baby before publicity kicks in) is on the cards.
Posted by: Lisa B

I was wondering the same thing. He keeps repeating that they are going to “start trying” after the summer…like they have all the time in the world. Maybe saying they want to adopt would bring up all the gossip about his sexuality. I don’t know, but it does seem odd that my doctor keeps reminding me if I want a another baby, I should probably start trying before my late 30’s.

Marilyn on

Kelly will be 45 in October, but she could still have a problem getting pregnant. I agree that they seem to think they have all the time in the world…that there’s no hurry to get pregnant. What if she suddenly goes through menopause. They could always adopt, though.

Campbell on

I agree with so many of you. I really used to have respect for John Travolta…. I IMMEDIATELY noticed to redirect to daughter Ella. Unless the paragraph was edited in some way, I must say that John has turned out to be a disappointment. As far as this couple having another child, I have always been cautious not to judge others motives for having a child, I think it is rude and arrogant. However, as more SEEMS to be revealed about their attitued toward a possible disorder/condition, etc. it makes one truly wonder what their motives are. Certainly none of us are in these folks homes, and I would really like to choose to believe that all is well with the Travolta children. JMO

PSB on

Maybe when they say “we’re going to try after the summer” they are referring to “trying” IVF? I can’t believe they are so deluded that they believe they are rich/powerful enough to overcome the laws of nature.

Most women begin peri-menopause by 45 and even if they can get and hold a pregnancy, they are often advised to use donor eggs to reduce the high chance of birth defects. Maybe Kelly is planning on using donor eggs?

As for the interview…is anybody really surprised by this? I feel the same as the bulk of you and am disgusted and saddened by John’s attitude towards his son.

He could have elaborated a little bit and maybe told us why Jett is more into the outdoors than movies or how often he plays sports, etc. He just didn’t want any followup questions about Jett, because they are hiding his illness. If they truly still believe he has Kowasaki disease (instead of Autism, which most of us believe he has), then why not discuss THAT? Because it’s all a lie…

TwinsMommy on

I feel so sorry for Jett.
They should focus more on the Son they
have instead of talking about a child
a 3rd child that has yet to be concieved.
Not to mention the fact that she is @ an age
that Most fertility doctors won’t even do IVF (with her eggs) due to such a LOW % of it actually working.

Airen on

Whoa.–john travolta is my most favorite person ever [besides olivia newton-john] and i always agree with what he says/does cuz im like completley obsessed with him and i totally love him to death… but wow. Wtf! poor jett– i feel he should get even more attention because of the fact something is wrong with him–not less. i don’t think they should be trying 2 have a third baby untill they can handle paying equal amounts of attention to the children they have!

Annoynomus on

PSB- Why are you calling Jett’s disability an illness? If he DOES indeed have Autisum, it certainly isn’t an illness! It is a disorder, but not an illness. It’s not an illness anymore than Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, or Mental Retardation are illnesses. Also, I want to point out that Jett may NOT have Autisum. He may have a different disorder (no, NOT Kawaski diease. That really IS an illness, and it’s one that goes away completely), you know.

PSB on

Sorry I used the wrong term, I misspoke (I just didn’t know the proper term). I should have said disorder – I didn’t meant to imply anything by it.

And yes, it’s possible Jett has a mental disorder other than autism, but there’s no way he has Kawasaki disease. I think Kelly must have just latched onto that disease because a lot of kids with autism are very sensitive to environmental toxins like cleaning chemicals and food additives.

Annoynomus on

PSB- The thing with Kawaski Disease is that, when a kid gets it, they are sick for a little while, but then they get over it just like if it were the flu or a cold or something. Most people do not realize that (I didn’t realize it myself until I saw a TV documentary on it). Therefore, it is very possible that Jett DID have Kawaski diease however many years ago when Kelly mentioned it. However, then got over it, so now he doesn’t have it any more.

Ayla on

I really think people should get over their bad feelings for this family.

I am sure that both Kelly and John Love Jett just as much as they love Ella.

If they don’t want to go into details about Jett’s problems, it is their right not to. It is not Our right to know everything about them.

I work with several Autistic children and they are all different. Some are great at sports but can’t get used to being around crowds. Some are good at writing. Many can be very obsessive about things. We had one boy who got it into his head to dig up wild onions and he did this at every recreation period for a month,

These kids can play sports, read, write, learn, and do most of the things others do.

Very often these kids are not touchy feely kids.. Many can’t take being overstimulated.

Some children have severe autism and some are almost 100% normal Autism is a spectrum disorder so there are many children with many different spectrums of this disorder.

Seems to me that they are doing right by Jett by keeping him out of the public eye which probably distresses him. That doesn’t mean they aren’t proud of him and don’t love him.

We are not there and we don’t know the facts.

Alsom if they want to have another child it isn’t our business. Just because JOhn said that they have their princess, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love jett and wants a boy to replace him.

I find it sad and pathetic the way people can make such bold statements about this family who they have no direct contact with.

Iheartme on


I don’t know if you all are aware, but there is an article in the current issue of W in which John Travolta is interviewed (just got my copy in the mail today.) He mentions a bit about his upcoming movie, some more about Ella and a bit about Scientology. No mention of Jett.

Just thought I’d let you know if anyone is interested in checking it out.

Annoynomus on

Ayla- Well said! ITA! Just because the Travolta’s are celebrities does NOT give us the right to know everything about them. We do not know them or have direct contact with them, so we have no way of knowing what goes on behind closed doors.

Kelly on

No matter that John says I cannot ignore knowing that he is a member of the Church of Scientology and they believe the following:

One of Scientology’s major goals is to change society’s views about death, dying, and those L. Ron Hubbard considered to be “past the half-way point”: the disabled.

Scientologists believe (1) that a disabled person is in such a state due to his or her own failings, (2) the disabled person will deliberately move in the direction of death, and (3) disabled people (Individuals who score low on the emotional tone scale) will also bring death to those around them. (See L. Ron Hubbard’s book, Self Analysis, chapter 4)

This is so disturbing on so many levels….

whoareyou on

Another celeb who never shows his own autism son is none other than Slyvester Stallone, who talks and only shows his daughters and son Sage.
The one left out is Seth Stallone.
Does anyone know if Sly’s into the same Scientology as Travolta?

Emily on

Amen Kelly! I know we have freedom of religion but when it disregards people in that way, I mean where’s the human rights activists? Obviously they’re not Scientologists!

Even if they don’t speak about Jett, they should at least say why. For example, he doesn’t like the public eye, he doesn’t like getting his pics taken or something like that.
And they never stand up for him! For all we know he’s on this site reading these things and what do his parents probably tell him?!

So depressing! I had such respect for John & Kelly. I’m pretty disappointed with how they turned out.

Samantha on

Can you post some pics of Ella from the hairspray premire?

Daryl & Carol Lee Cooper on

Someone please pass on message to the TRAVOLTAS: The recent photos of Ella Blue
(puffiness under eyes)indicate a food allergy….Most common allergens are corn & milk products! PLEASE TRY a change of diet.

Bettie Harvey on

I think all of you should back off of this family. Unless you are in there shoes, you have no idea what goes on.

I think they have integrity for not exploiting their son’s condition, this is a personal choice of theirs and you need to respect that.
Look p all they do for people and charities, walk in their shows for some time and see how you feel. Grow up!!!!!!!!!

melissa on

i think trying for another baby is fab and i love them both everyone says ella gets all the attention but i bet ya jett gets the same amount john loves jett you can see he loves him cause he was the first born you can see he just loves kids full stop

JC on

It is with GREAT SORROW that I extend my condolences to John, Kelly, and Ella Travolta. I cannot even imagine the deep sorrow that they are going through right now. What wonderful, loving and endearing John and Kelly are as parents. No one loved their children more than John and Kelly. God Blessed them with Jett, and Kelly. Now, Jett is John’s guardian angel!!!! As John flies his jet up in the sky….. he will feel Jett’s presence even more. Our Lord and Savior has embraced Jett with His loving arms. May the all feel some comfort over that. God Bless you too Ella. I know you will miss your brother very VERY much! May you hold dear to your heart Jett’s precious memory.
Many Blessings to you all.