John Travolta first dipped his toe into the world of showbiz in the early ’70s, and since then, he has become a household name. And while the A-list actor’s personal life has been full of ups and downs, that hasn’t stopped him from speaking out about his time off-camera – by opening up about his only daughter, for instance.
Well before Travolta shot to fame, however, he spent the majority of his childhood growing up in New Jersey. There, along with his five older siblings, the future actor lived with his parents – both of whom had enjoyed a taste of life in the limelight. However, after dropping out of high school, Travolta headed instead to the bright lights of New York.
And in the Big Apple, the young performer managed to score a role in the stage musical Grease. Travolta would later go on to star in the successful film adaptation of the show, giving him one of his most notable roles to date. Prior to that, though, the actor got his big break in 1975 when he hit screens in the TV comedy Welcome Back, Kotter.
Then, in the years that followed, Travolta’s career went from strength to strength, with notable roles in films such as The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. The superstar’s personal life appeared to be hotting up, too, as during shooting for the aforementioned movie Travolta met Diana Hyland, and the two would then begin dating.
And despite their almost 20-year age gap, the couple appeared to be happy. Just seven months into the relationship, though, disaster struck. In 1977 Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer and, tragically, she would pass away that same year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Travolta was reported to have been devastated by her death.
According to the press, Travolta went into hiding after Hyland’s passing. And in the years that followed, the actor’s movies would bomb, too, leaving his career in the doldrums. The tide seemed to turn in 1989, however, when he starred in the hit romantic comedy Look Who’s Talking. And Travolta’s personal life improved as well, as he would meet his future wife, Kelly Preston, in that year.
Travolta and Preston had first encountered each other on the set of The Experts, and a romance soon blossomed. Indeed, just two years after meeting, they tied the knot. The couple’s marriage got off to somewhat of a bumpy start, however. The pair had wed on September 5, 1991, at an idyllic setting in Paris; in the end, though, the ceremony, which had been carried out by a Scientology minister, was subsequently deemed invalid. As a result, then, Travolta and Preston had their second wedding a week later – and, fortunately, this time it was official.
Meanwhile, Preston had faced her own trials and tribulations before getting spliced to Travolta. The actress had been married before, in fact, but Preston and her then-husband Kevin Gage ultimately got divorced in 1987. Then, shortly afterwards, she became engaged to Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen – that is, until Preston somehow suffered a gunshot wound from Sheen’s firearm.
Still, Preston and Travolta have now been married for almost 30 years, and the couple have had three children together too. Indeed, just a year after their wedding, Travolta and Preston welcomed their first son, Jett, who was then followed by Ella Bleu in 2000 and Benjamin in 2010.
However, shortly after Jett’s arrival, Travolta and Preston were dealt a blow, as their son was diagnosed with a very rare illness known as Kawasaki disease. This ailment causes the inflammation of blood vessels and, in some extreme cases, can even prove to be fatal. To make matters more complicated, the young boy also had autism and suffered from seizures too.
But the couple didn’t seem to let their son’s health issues impact their family life too much. Indeed, the young boy was encouraged to embrace his love of the outdoors. And the Travoltas enjoyed vacations abroad as well, including to the Bahamas. Still, according to reports, Travolta piloted the flights himself in order to ensure the safety of his loved ones.
Sadly, though, it was while the Travoltas were sunning themselves on vacation in the Bahamas that they suffered the ultimate tragedy. The family had traveled to the holiday destination to celebrate New Year, but events would take a tragic turn during the trip – and Jett would eventually pass away.
The young boy had suffered a seizure that had caused him to fall and hit his head on the edge of a bath. Heartbreakingly, Jett died as a result of the injuries he sustained, leaving his family devastated. And to make matters worse, in the months that followed, reports emerged questioning the circumstances surrounding Jett’s death.
What’s more, a high-profile legal case began after Travolta alleged that he was a victim of extortion. Two men, including a paramedic who had arrived on scene to help the actor’s son, reportedly demanded $25 million from the star. They apparently claimed that in exchange for the money, they would hand over a legal document that Travolta had allegedly signed regarding his son’s treatment.
Ultimately, though, the charges were dropped, even if this presumably did little to help the family process their grief. But the arrival of Benjamin a year after Jett’s death seemed to help the family’s wounds heal somewhat. The actor told Good Morning America in 2016, “Having little Benjamin has been a beautiful kind of glue for us to re-bond after a tremendous loss.”
Travolta also credits the Church of Scientology for helping him come to terms with the passing of his eldest son. The actor revealed in 2014, “I will forever be grateful to Scientology for supporting me for two years solid.” However, some people have claimed that the religion actually prevented Jett from receiving the appropriate treatment, as the church apparently does not recognize some of the medical issues with which the teenager had suffered.
And given Travolta’s loss, it is of little surprise that he seems so protective of his other two children. Still, in recent years, the Grease star appears to have opened up a little more about his family. While the doting dad was attending the 2017 SAG Awards, for instance, he made a heartwarming revelation about his daughter.
At the event, Travolta gushed about Ella Bleu. “[She] is fabulous,” the actor told James News. The star even went on to reveal that he’d love for her to follow in her famous father’s footsteps. And it appears that the young girl has indeed inherited her dad’s love of acting.
“She’s such a good performer,” Travolta continued. “I want her to pursue acting.” So, perhaps one day we may see more of the young actress on the big screen. Ella Bleu has already started her film career, in fact, having appeared alongside her dad in 2009’s Old Dogs.
But for now, it would seem that Travolta is happy with the role of protective father. How protective? Well, during a 2016 appearance on Ellen, the actor said, “I never want my children to leave the house, ever.” And we’re not surprised, too, with all the heartbreak and loss that the Travolta household has suffered over the years.
While Travolta seemingly gushes with pride and joy when it comes to his daughter, the same cannot be said for his fellow actor Jackie Chan. The star may have built a reputation as one of the nice guys of action cinema, but when it came down to being a father, he apparently wasn’t the hands-on, loving person his daughter would have liked.
Jackie Chan may be one of the most cherished action heroes of his generation. But according to his estranged daughter, the martial arts maestro isn’t as nice as he apparently seems. Here’s a look at the family drama that has brought Chan’s reputation into disrepute.
Born in Hong Kong in 1954, Chan got his start in martial arts at a young age. He learned how to fight during his time at the China Drama Academy, where he also studied acrobatics and acting. And the rigorous training in the latter pursuit seemed to pay off, as by his teens Chan had appeared in several movies – including Big and Little Wong Tin Bar, The Love Eterne and Come Drink with Me.
Next, after serving as a stuntman on two Bruce Lee movies, Chan was given top billing in 1973’s Little Tiger of Canton. And yet the fledgling actor wouldn’t come to wider attention until 1978 – the year in which Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master were released. Both films showcased Chan’s distinctive brand of comedic kung-fu and turned him into a star.
Then in the early 1980s, Chan first attempted to break into Hollywood – and yet the movies he made in the U.S. during that time, The Big Brawl and The Protector, struggled to find audiences. Still, he continued to boost his popularity in East Asia with The Young Master and the pioneering Dragon Lord. He also consolidated his record of Hong Kong box-office successes with 1986’s Armour of God.
After appearing in a number of sequels to his previous movies, Chan finally won Hollywood over in 1995 with Rumble in the Bronx. Three years later, he then starred alongside Chris Tucker in Rush Hour – a buddy cop movie that earned more than $244 million internationally. And Chan subsequently repeated that seemingly winning formula by joining forces with Owen Wilson for 2000’s Shanghai Noon.
After that, further Hollywood hits came for Chan in the form of The Forbidden Kingdom and Kung Fu Panda. Yet even so, the actor was exasperated with the types of roles that he was being offered in Tinseltown – not to mention the fact that he was unable to have a hand in the actual creation of the movies. So, Chan diversified, starting up a production company in 2003. He also appeared in martial arts-free movie Shinjuku Incident in 2009 and showcased his dramatic chops in the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid.
Then, after starring in his 100th movie, 2011’s 1911, Chan announced plans to retire from the action genre. He later went back on his word, though, going on to appear in stunt-packed flicks including Police Story 2013, Dragon Blade and Kung Fu Yoga. And he shows no signs of slowing down either; in the past five years he’s added Skiptrace, Railroad Tigers and The Foreigner to his prolific body of work.
But it’s perhaps no surprise that Chan once considered a move away from action films. After all, he has become renowned for the staggering amount of injuries that he’s suffered while performing the majority of his own stunts. For example, he once nearly died after fracturing his skull while shooting Armour of God. The star has also broken his nose, toes, hips, cheekbones, neck, ribs and ankle over the years as well as having dislocated his pelvis.
Meanwhile, despite his hectic work schedule, Chan has made time for a personal life too. Indeed, in 1982 he married Taiwanese actress Joan Lin, and they welcomed their first and only child, Jaycee, soon afterward. But Chan’s image received a blow in the late ’90s when it was revealed that he had cheated on his wife with Elaine Ng Yi-Lei. The one-time Miss Asia winner also gave birth to their daughter, Etta, in 1999.
Chan ultimately decided against becoming involved in Etta’s life, though. For a while, admittedly, he paid Elaine monthly child support of around $45,000, and he allegedly bought a costly home for his daughter and her mother. However, his financial help would eventually cease after Elaine moved to Hong Kong and entered the public eye.
What’s more, Chan would only publicly acknowledge Etta in 2004 during a promotional tour for Around the World in 80 Days. At that time, the star admitted, “I know I have failed my daughter, but since her mother is that kind of a person, I don’t know how to treat [my daughter].” In 2015, however, Etta revealed that she wasn’t angry with Chan for how he had behaved with her – even if she had never really seen him as her dad.
And in the same year that Etta spoke out about Chan, her relationship with her mother also reportedly came under strain. Elaine was even arrested following a spat between the pair over sedatives discovered in Etta’s bedroom, and she was subsequently left unemployed and struggled to make ends meet. In spite of Elaine’s plight, though, Chan is said to have refused to support her and Etta financially.
But tensions between mother and daughter seemingly continued to rise. In 2017 Elaine accused Etta of having removed personal objects from their home without permission. And indeed, Etta would later admit to having taken some of the items; according to the teenager, however, she had informed her mother beforehand that she would be doing so.
In April 2018 Etta then found herself in the headlines yet again when she made an emotional appeal on YouTube. The 19-year-old claimed that she and girlfriend Andi Autumn had had to resort to living underneath a bridge because of their parents’ homophobia. She also explained that they couldn’t rely on government homeless shelters, as that might lead to the pair being separated.
Etta also told viewers that she and Andi had tried everything. She said, “We’ve gone to the police, we’ve gone to the hospital, the food banks, LGBTQ community shelters – and all of them just don’t give a s**t. Two people in love that share true love are trying not to get split apart, and they’re trying to f**k us over just because… I don’t understand it.”
That said, the couple’s plea for help quickly racked up more than 100,000 views on the video-sharing platform. Etta had begun dating Andi, a social media star from Canada, in February 2017. And later that same year, she publicly came out on Instagram. “In case no-one got the memo, I’m gay,” she told her thousands of followers.
Previously, though, Etta had reportedly found it difficult to come to terms with her sexuality. She has also allegedly survived a number of suicide attempts. And yet Etta has credited her girlfriend for giving her the fortitude to accept herself. In a 2017 post on Instagram, she addressed Andi by saying, “I encountered many events that could have broken me. But, in actuality, you strengthened me.”
Meanwhile, during promotion for his action thriller The Foreigner, Chan was asked to comment about Etta’s coming out. “If she likes it, that’s fine,” the star succinctly replied. However, Chan has yet to publicly respond to the latest drama surrounding his daughter and the accusations of homophobia.
But while Etta’s father may not yet have spoken out about the YouTube video, her mother certainly has. In an April 2018 interview with the Oriental Daily News, Elaine blamed Andi, who is 12 years older than Etta, for being a negative influence on her daughter. Elaine also argued that Etta has mental health issues and suggested that the pair should concentrate on finding work instead of making YouTube videos.
Elaine also refused to take the blame for her daughter’s situation. She told the Oriental Daily News, “Many people in Hong Kong get paid low wages, but they still go to work. If they don’t have work, then they’ll film these videos to complain about their parents? How many of these videos would we see in a day then?”