John Travolta has credited his faith and fellow members of the Church of Scientology for helping him recover from the death of his teenage son Jett in 2009. The 16 year old died from a seizure during a family holiday in the Bahamas, and, in a new live onstage interview with British TV personality Barry Norman in London, the movie star called the tragedy "the worst thing that's ever happened in my life".
He added, "The truth is, I didn't know if I was going to make it. Life was no longer interesting to me, so it took a lot to get me better.
"I will forever be grateful to Scientology for supporting me for two years solid, I mean Monday through Sunday. They didn't take a day off, working through different angles of the techniques to get through grief and loss, and to make me feel that finally I could get through a day."
During the 90-minute chat at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Travolta also discussed his career highs and lows, explaining that, "It got a little complicated for a few years," when he failed to land decent roles prior to his rebirth in Pulp Fiction.
He said, "A lot of things added up to a five-year period that wasn't so good for me... There were people who were much hotter than me who wanted the role, but Quentin (Tarantino) put his career on the line and refused to make the movie without me in it."
During Sunday's (16Feb14) A Conversation with John Travolta, which came just two days before the actor's 60th birthday, he also showed off his impression of Sir Sean Connery and gave dancing lessons to a handful of lucky fans in the audience.
The celebrity pilot's West End debut ended with the presentation of an airplane-shaped cake.
It's been three years since John Travolta and Kelly Preston's 16-year-old son Jett Travolta's tragic death in the Bahamas. Now, the actress is opening up about the health conditions and environmental factors she believes contributed to his sudden passing.
Jett died during the family's vacation in the Bahamas in 2009 after suffering from a seizure and hitting his head on a bathtub. "[Jett] was autistic. He had seizures and when he was very young, he had Kawasaki Syndrome," Preston said on the November 21 episode of The Doctors.
The actress, 50, (pictured above with John and their 2-year-old son, Benjamin, this September) believes Jett's health conditions were caused by a number of factors, including her use of antibiotics while breastfeeding, toxic chemicals in the environment, Kawasaki Syndrome (a rare autoimmune disease), and complications from her "fast and hard" childbirth. The antibiotics, she shares, “gave [Jet] thrush,” an infection of Candida yeast, which some studies have linked with the symptoms of autism.
During the interview, Preston, who's credited Scientology in the past for helping her cope, made a plea for parents to look into organic foods. "I strongly believe as a mother, as does my husband, that there are certain contributing factors that lead to autism and some of it is very much the chemicals in our environment and in our food."
Now, she says that she and John are trying to raise their two younger kids, Benjamin and Ella, 12, in a cleaner, healthier environment.
The exact causes of autism are still a mystery but it's spurred many a debate in Hollywood. Some celebrity mothers like Jenny McCarthy and Holly Robinson Peete have been outspoken, blaming the condition on childhood vaccines and promoting dietary changes among other things. Meanwhile, others like Amanda Peet and many in the medical community have said that not vaccinating children is irresponsible and dangerous, and urge the need for more research into environmental and dietary causes.
More:Kelly Preston Says Scientology Helped Her Cope With Son's Death
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Paramedic Tarino Lightbourn and his lawyer, Pleasant Bridgewater, have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion, but new evidence, obtained by America's People magazine, could put the pair behind bars.
Videotape recorded secretly by the Royal Bahamas Police show Lightbourn and Bridgewater attempting to secure a multi-million payment from Travolta for the return of a form the star signed just before his son was pronounced dead.
Reports suggest the document, concerning where Travolta's son Jett should be taken after suffering a seizure at the family's holiday home, fell into the paramedics hands.
In the footage, Travolta's lawyer, Michael McDermott, asks Lightbourn why he's proposing the deal via a phone conference, to which the paramedic replies, "I was poor all my life. You know, me and my family, were struggling all our life. I wanted to do things for charity all of my life."
The two men then appear to discuss payment options, while Bridgewater listens in.
According to a People reporter, who has seen the hidden camera footage, Lightbourn eventually agrees to a price of $15 million (GBP10 million) for the document and then protests when Travolta's lawyer suggests the cash is handed over in installments, stating, "I can't do installments. I want to get this behind me. I want to put this to rest. I don't want to see you anymore."
The 44-minute phone meeting ends after a deal is done, prompting Lightbourn to reportedly state, "Case closed. Case closed... Once this is closed, it's buried deeper than the Titanic."
A month after the alleged negotiation, Travolta met with Bahamas police officials to file a complaint that led to the current Nassau trial, which began earlier this week (beg21Sep09). The actor has already testified and is expected back on the stand next week (beg28Sep09).
The former Bahamas senator arrested over an alleged plot to extort money from movie John Travolta has been arraigned on two charges in the case, days after vowing to prove her innocence.
Pleasant Bridgewater was arrested last Thursday for her alleged involvement in plans to extort money from Travolta and his wife while the couple was mourning the loss of their teenage son Jett.
She resigned from her post this past Monday, insisting she would fight the "untrue and unfair charges" against her.
Bridgewater was charged in court today with "abetment to extort and conspiracy to extort", following accusations she conspired with an ambulance driver to release a document related to the 16-year-old's death.
Travolta is one of 14 witnesses expected to testify as part of the Bahamian Attorney General's prosecution case.
Under Bahamian law, Bridgewater was not required to enter a plea. She is next scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 11.
Emergency medical technician Tarino Lightbourne has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to extort and conspiracy to extort from the movie star after being charged this past Monday.
Bahamian authorities say paramedic Lightbourn was attempting to sell a one-page "refusal to transport" letter signed by John for the sum of $25 million dollars.
Lightbourn was the first paramedic on the scene to help transport Travolta’s son Jett to the hospital when the 16-year-old suffered a seizure on Jan. 2. The teen later died.
"The document did not apply in the Travolta case," Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Marvin Dames tells People.com. "It did not apply because he was very ill, and so, the only alternative would be to take him to the hospital. Refusal to transport documents are for cases involving minor injuries. If your injuries are minor and you don't want to be transported, the ambulance driver would produce that form. It waives responsibility on the part of the hospital."
Dames says the alleged case started two weeks ago when Lightbourn's attorney, former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater, contacted Travolta's attorney and said that her client was interested in selling the document. Travolta responded by contacting the Royal Bahamian Police via his lawyer.
"The complaint states the request was for $25 million," he says. "At the time, she represented the young man. She would have made the request."
Now authorities must determine the authenticity of the "refusal to transport" letter. Dames says, "we don't know where the original is. We don't know if he generated the document."
The senior assistant commissioner believes that the Travolta's did everything they could for their son.
"We were satisfied from all our investigations that the Travolta family and those who rendered aid to Jett did all that was humanly possible to revive Jett," Dames says. "All did what they were able to resuscitate him."
"There's no evidence to support that there was any effort to avoid medical treatment," he adds. "Lightbourn said that himself in several interviews."
The Travolta’s close family friend former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchombe was detained on Friday, but released. No charges were filed.
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