Kelly Preston Kept Her Cancer Battle a Secret While Filming Final Movie, Co-Star Says

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Photo credit: LOIC VENANCE - Getty Images
Photo credit: LOIC VENANCE - Getty Images

Just over a year after Kelly Preston died of breast cancer, her final movie Off the Rails has made its debut. Oddly enough, the film follows a young girl fulfilling her mom’s cross-country travel dreams after losing her to cancer, and not a soul on-set knew about Preston’s health struggles while making it.

She intentionally kept her diagnosis private, which must have been difficult given the movie’s story. “That’s what people do—they go through it on their own because of worries about insurance for the film, and working again afterwards,” Preston’s co-star Sally Phillips recently said on the British talk show Loose Women, per the U.K.’s Mirror.

Phillips continued: “We’ve had a couple of high profile examples of that recently, haven’t we? Chadwick [Boseman] and Helen McCrory didn’t tell anyone.”

The actress recalled working with Preston, who was 57 when she died on July 12, 2020, survived by her husband John Travolta and two kids, Ella and Benjamin.

“She was so bloomin’ beautiful. And so vibrant and you would never have known,” Phillips said. “She was so professional.”

Travolta shared the movie’s trailer on Instagram, noting that Preston was “very proud of it and of all of the wonderful talent that she got to work with.” The film released in the U.K. and Ireland on July 23.

Amidst the emotional turmoil left by the pandemic, Travolta and his family have spent the last year grieving, and although he was quiet for many months, he opened up about the heartbreak in a recent interview with Esquire Spain.

“Living in mourning is something personal,” he explained, adding that it was difficult for him to navigate while tending to his kids. “The first thing you should do when you experience grief is to go to a place where you can mourn, without any interference," he continued. “Even though it’s great to have company, sometimes it becomes like you’re helping them rather than putting yourself to work overcoming feelings of loss and grief.”

Although the sadness never fully goes away, Travolta and his family are slowly finding a new normal. Earlier this month, he celebrated an Emmy nomination for his TV show Die Hart, and in May, honored Preston’s first late Mother’s Day.

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