Preston talks with Navy family members at the USO holiday party at Rockwell Hall Gym on Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia, December 3, 2005.
|Born||Kelly Kamalelehua Smith
October 13, 1962
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
|Years active||1976–1983 (model)
|Spouse(s)||Kevin Gage (1985-1987)
John Travolta (m. 1991-present, 2 children)
Preston was born as Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her mother, Linda, was an administrator of a mental health center, and her father, who worked for an agricultural firm, drowned when Preston was three years old. Her adoptive father was Peter Palzis, a personnel director, with whose name she began her acting career, and her stepfather was Lee Carlson. As a child, she spent time living in Iraq and Australia as a result of her biological father's work. While living in Australia, she attended Pembroke School in Adelaide, South Australia. She later attended Punahou School and studied drama and theater at the University of Southern California.
At 16 years old, while living in Australia, Preston was discovered by a fashion photographer who helped her get work in commercials and other small parts, which eventually developed into a successful movie career. Her first prominent role in a film came as the "popular girl" in 1985's Secret Admirer opposite C. Thomas Howell.
She is a spokesperson for Neutrogena and appears in print and television ads. She played the girlfriend of her husband's character "Terl" in the 2000 film Battlefield Earth, and received "Worst Supporting Actress" at the 21st Golden Raspberry Awards for her role in the film.
Preston was featured in the chart-topping Maroon 5 music video, "She Will Be Loved" in 2004. The video features a love triangle and romantic scenes between Preston and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. In 2008 she was cast in a television pilot for a potential show called Suburban Shootout. She had a short term recurring role on Medium. In 2008, Preston starred in the Lifetime Original Movie "The Tenth Circle", directed by Peter Markle. The film was shot in Nova Scotia and featured Ron Eldard, Brittany Robertson, Michael Riley, Jamie Johnston, and Geordie Brown.
Preston was married to actor Kevin Gage from 1985 to 1987. She also had relationships with George Clooney and Charlie Sheen. Clooney's pet pig, Max, was a gift for Preston that Clooney kept after the couple split up. Sheen presented Preston with a 2.5 carat pink diamond engagement ring when he proposed to her in 1989, although they never married. After living with Sheen for one year, she ended the relationship in 1990, shortly after an incident in which Sheen accidentally shot her in the arm.
Preston first met John Travolta in 1987 while filming The Experts. The pair married in 1991. Two ceremonies had to be conducted because the first, performed in Paris on September 5, 1991 by a French Scientologist minister (both Preston and Travolta are Scientologists), was legally invalid. The second ceremony took place a week later, on September 12, in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Their son, Jett, who was born on April 13, 1992, died on January 2, 2009 while the family was on vacation in The Bahamas. The cause of death was attributed to a seizure. Jett, who had a history of seizures, reportedly suffered from Kawasaki disease in early childhood. Long a source of speculation, in September 2009, Travolta testified that their son had autism and suffered regular seizures, as part of his testimony in a trial which resulted after an extortion attempt following Jett Travolta's death. The couple also have a daughter, Ella Bleu, born on April 3, 2000.
On January 23, 2009, three people were arrested in the Bahamas in connection with a multi-million dollar extortion plot against the Travolta family around the circumstances of Jett's death. One of the men, Obie Wilchcombe, a member of the Bahamian Parliament and former Bahamian Minister of Tourism, was described as a "close friend" of the Travolta family. The other two people allegedly involved are EMT Tarino Lightbourne and former senator Pleasant Bridgewater, who was charged with abetment to extort and conspiracy to extort. She resigned from the Senate as a result of the allegations.