John Travolta faces a ‘make-or-break’ moment over his 45-year devotion to Scientology after the death of his wife Kelly Preston, as he defied the Church’s opposition to cancer treatments, DailyMail.com has learned.
Travolta somberly announced his wife of nearly 30 years had passed away on Sunday, July 12from breast cancer at the age of 57, writing Kelly had ‘fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many’.
In the post, the 66-year-old actor openly praised Kelly’s medical team, adding: ‘My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped.’
Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center is at the forefront of cancer treatment in the United States, and is currently ranked the top hospital in the country for cancer care.
Former Scientology members and friends have come forward to praise Travolta and suggested he is breaking away from the Church, pointing out that founder L. Ron Hubbard was ‘really opposed to chemotherapy and radiation’.
Ex member and open critic Jeffrey Augustine told DailyMail.com: ‘The statement was unequivocal in the support of medical staff… It shows they’ve backed away from Scientology.’
He continued: ‘It’ll hurt to lose your wife of 30 years… there will be grief, it’s human. There’s no acknowledgement in that statement of Scientology, David Miscavige, or auditing, there’s nothing – that’s critical, he took care of it in his own hands, this is a personal matter, like ”I don’t need the Church”.
Representatives for Travolta and the Church of Scientology did not return DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Founder Hubbard said in his November 1959 lecture, that ‘cancer is not caused… it always requires a second-dynamic or sexual upset, such as the loss of children or some other mechanism to bring about a condition known as cancer’.
Augustine said: ‘Hubbard was really opposed to chemotherapy and radiation. But people realize it [auditing] doesn’t work when it comes to serious diseases.
‘In the Church, they’d say you lost Jett, so that’s why you got cancer, so we need to audit that out.
‘[But] they did it with medicine. This was handled professionally and elegantly, I really admire the way he did it, he made Scientology a non-part of Kelly’s death.’
Travolta, who had joined the Church in 1975, said in his statement he would be ‘taking some time to be there’ for his two children Ella Bleu and Benjamin, adding: ‘So forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while.’
Brendan Tighe, a former security guard for Tom Cruise and Travolta, told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s as tragic as it gets to me. I honestly don’t know what he will do. But I’d guess that he will go through the full gamut of emotion. They were definitely each other’s rock.
‘I’d also guess that he will take some time off with his kids to travel the world and get some space. His Scientology handlers will of course try to be there at every step, but he may not want the ‘help’ right away.’
On July 3 – nine days before his wife’s death – Travolta was spotted at a sports bar and grill, which happened to be a few hundred feet from the Church’s headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.
Former bar owner Clay Irwin was given the photos and passed them onto anti-Church blogger Tony Ortega.
Irwin has had numerous run-ins with Scientology, but said Kelly and Travolta ‘were the only two [Scientologists] I ever liked, they were always nice, always made me feel comfortable, and she’s a beautiful person, it’s upsetting.’
This is the second tragedy to impact Travolta after his son Jett died in controversial circumstances in January 2009 at the age of 16.
Sam Domingo, daughter-in-law of opera star Placido Domingo and one of the Church’s VIP members for 22 years, claimed she saw first-hand the ‘daily brainwashing’ Preston received at Scientology’s global headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, after Jett’s death from a fatal seizure.
The couple were publicly criticized for not admitting Jett had autism – a condition the Church doesn’t recognize – and instead said he’d suffered from the very rare Kawasaki syndrome, which is supposedly caused by frequent exposure to carpet cleaner, despite no medical evidence.
Domingo said: ‘I saw Kelly going in for her daily brainwashing. She was staying at the hotel at Flag Base. Kelly was the driving force behind [John’s] involvement, in my honest opinion.
‘She was like one of the Stepford Wives, always hanging out at Celebrity Centre International along with Jada [Pinkett-Smith] and Anne Archer.
‘Kelly would say herself that Scientology helped her get over Jett’s death, they believe he was reincarnated. She was constantly getting audited, constantly under the thumb, John Travolta had handlers 24/7 to get him through.
‘This will make or break him, he’ll pay a lot of money to get spiritual counseling to talk to Kelly, or he’ll maybe come to the realization that Scientology isn’t making him happy anymore nor saved his wife.’
Domingo claimed Travolta will be told not to grieve, because Scientology doesn’t allow time for it. She explained the Church’s core belief is that humans have millions of lives and the body is just a shell, as humans are constantly reincarnating.
‘Grief and feeling sad is very low on the ”harmonic [emotional] tone scale”, a lot of them stay upbeat, be happy, it’s very weird,’ Domingo said.
‘They believe the person has flown off, it’s something to celebrate, they’ve gone off to get a new body. The concept of death is very different from normal.
‘You see young kids saying: ”We mustn’t be sad, it’s great that mom’s going to get a new body”. I saw with old friends of mine who were still in, their kids posting stuff, like ”we’re staying upturned, upbeat”.
‘He would be getting auditing to communicate with Kelly’s spirit… address anything they need to finish up. His auditing would mean that he can say a proper goodbye, so she can go off and get another body. Some believe where they know they’re going and whom their new parents are.
‘They don’t get a chance to ever properly grieve.’
Leader David Miscavige spoke at the funeral of founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1986, saying: ‘The body he had could no longer serve his purposes. This decision was one made at complete cause by L. Ron Hubbard.
‘Although you may feel grief, understand that he did not and does not now. He has simply moved on to his next step… as Scientologists we know more than anyone that we are not bodies, we have bodies, and our current existence is one in a million that we have lived and will live.’
The Church of Scientology has not publicly commented on Kelly’s passing, nor the suicide of Benjamin Keough on the same day, whose mother Lisa Marie Presley was a member until 2014.
More remarkably, it failed to address prominent member That ’70s Show star Danny Masterson being charged in mid June for raping three women, amid accusations that Scientology harassed and intimidated his victims.
The silence has led critics to question the suicide rate of Church members and its long-standing mistrust of traditional medicine for conditions such as cancer.
For the past few weeks, the Church’s numerous buildings around Hollywood have been boarded up, heavily fortified against the Black Lives Matter protests.
Augustine said: ‘Scientology is useless. They boarded up all their Orgs during the protests in LA, when the social unrest happened, they were more concerned about their Orgs rather than the protesters. It’s their utter inability to do anything lately and this just adds to that.
‘I’ve never seen them this impotent, they don’t know what to do. They’ve not even issued a statement over Travolta, even though I’m sure they’ll have a memorial for Kelly.
‘There response to everything is to be boarded up. I had the streets to myself when I took these photos. Why have they gone deaf, dumb and blind? They retreated from the world.
‘L Ron Hubbard said that Scientology is supposed to confront anything and I have photographic evidence that they confront nothing.’