The family had kept Preston’s cancer fight entirely private except for those in their trusted inner circle, so the news was met with shock and heartbreak far and wide. They were parents to daughter Ella Bleu, 22, and son Benjamin, 11, together. In 2009 their eldest son, Jett, died at 16, a crushing loss that they weathered together—as they did everything in life.
“I was not that happily married, let’s put it that way. I was really with the wrong person,” Preston explained to Cohen about the situation she found herself in when she first met her future second husband.
She had been Mrs. Kevin Gage since 1985, the couple having starred together in the 1986 cult-classic SpaceCamp—and though she was candid about not being happy later (they divorced in 1987), she played it cool in the moment.
“I remember she was going down the steps,” Travolta recalled first seeing her, talking to Us Weekly in 2018. “And I was on top, and I said, ‘May I ask you a question?’ and she said, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘What’s it like to be married? Is it a good thing?'”
Preston apparently wasn’t in the mood to spill her guts right there. “She said, ‘I love it,'” Travolta remembered, “and I thought, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great to be married to someone who loves being married?'” (Sadly, Travolta had lost his girlfriend Diana Hyland to cancer in 1977. They met making the 1976 TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.)