Kelly Preston’s death from breast cancer on Sunday was a tragic end to her 29-year marriage to John Travolta, who gave birth to three children: Ella Bleu, Benjamin, and the late Jett, who died of an attack in 2009.
Preston’s death at 57 is unfortunately not the first time that 66-year-old Travolta has lost someone significant to breast cancer.
In 1977, actress Diana Hyland, with whom the actor had been serious for a year, died for the same reason. At 41, she was 18 years older than the 23-year-old Travolta and played his mother somewhat scandalously in the television film “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble”.
As soon as the cameras rolled, Travolta was struck.
“I thought I was in love before ̵
Hyland never had the career her young superstar friend would enjoy. Travolta was already the star of “Welcome Back, Kotter” on television and made “Saturday Night Fever” in 1977 and the legendary film musical “Grease” in 1978 – a series of extreme success that he would never repeat.
At the time of her death, Hyland was best known for TV roles such as “Peyton Place” and “Eight is Enough”. She also had a major role on Broadway and played Heavenly in Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” alongside Paul Newman. Still, she was a respected actress that many think she did great things about.
Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977, and despite a mastectomy, her prognosis deteriorated. Dedicated to the end, Travolta was with Hyland when she died, telling people he “felt her breath out”.
The actor never saw his early romance as an affair.
“I chose a house and Diana and I wanted to move in after this film,” he said to People. “If she were alive, it would be very likely that I would have married her.”