John Travolta has credited his belief in Scientology with helping him get through what he described as the "worst thing that's ever happened" to his life — the tragic passing of his 16-year-old son Jett in 2009.
Jett, who Travolta confirmed was autistic, reportedly suffered from Kawasaki disease — in which the blood vessels throughout the body become inflamed — at the age of two and also had a history of suffering from seizures. The latter would prove fatal while the family was in the Bahamas on a Christmas vacation.
The 16-year-old is said to have hit and injured his head severely during the episode. EMT's were unable to revive him and a death certificate issued by the Bahamian government attributed the cause of his death to a seizure.
Speaking to Us Weekly about Jett's death, Travolta said it was "the worst thing that's ever happened in my life. I didn't know if I was going to make it." However, he said he survived because of Scientology — which he has practiced since 1975 after being given a copy of 'Dianetics' while filming 'The Devil's Rain' — and the church's continued support during those dark times.
'Dianetics', written by founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, is a set of ideas and practices regarding metaphysical relationship between the mind and body followed by practitioners of the religion
Travolta would go on to create the Jett Travolta Foundation, a non-profit organization to help children with special needs, in honor of his son but credited his recovery to his faith. "The church never left our side for two years," he said. "'I don't know if I would have made it through without their support. Our church is the number one thing that keeps us grounded."
These days, Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston — who married one another in 1991 having met on the sets of 'The Expert' in 1989 — are busy ensuring their other two children, eight-year-old Benjamin and 18-year-old Ella, are on the right paths.
"Our children keep our interest in life very high," Travolta said. "Their future is very important to us," adding that while both had their fair share of chores, their household responsibilities also included "helping anywhere that's needed."
Both children seem to be following in their parents' footsteps as well. The Daily Mail reported that Ella had recently finished wrapping up crime thriller 'Poison Rose' alongside Hollywood bigwigs such as Brendan Fraser, Morgan Freeman, and of course, her father. Benjamin is said to be similarly interested in the performance arts.
"They're smart kids and they do well because they're encouraged to apply what they learn," Travolta said. "Ella is making a living as an actress. We're very proud of her. She's old-school elegant and gifted in the arts."