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- June 14, 2010
- Vol. 73
- No. 23
'This is a Miracle': The Travoltas' Baby Joy
After the Tragedy of Losing Their Son, the Travolta Family Shares Joyful News: They're Expecting. 'We Feel Blessed'
Good news has been a rare commodity for the couple since the devastating loss of their 16-year-old son Jett on Jan. 2, 2009, when he suffered a fatal seizure at their Bahamas home. The tragedy-and the subsequent trial of two Bahamians accused of trying to extort $25 million from Travolta, still unresolved after a mistrial-took a toll, and John, 56, and Kelly, 47, have coped with their grief in private while trying to keep life normal for daughter Ella Bleu, 10. Now at last the couple are experiencing undiluted joy again. "We tried for several years, and we didn't think it was going to happen for us," they tell PEOPLE of Kelly's pregnancy. "This is a miracle, and we feel blessed." Friends say it couldn't have happened to better parents-or come at a better time. "John and Kelly have been slowly trying to heal from something they never thought they could heal from," says longtime pal Lisa Marie Presley. "This is the beautiful ray of light they so desperately needed and deserve."
With Kelly a little over three months pregnant, a doctor has been staying with the family to monitor her health, says a source. (Contrary to a tabloid report, she's not expecting twins.) Lately the couple have spent low-key time with their extended families at their home in secluded Islesboro, Maine, where Ella and her mom were spotted selling lemonade together by the local market May 20. "It was so sweet," says an onlooker. After announcing the "wonderful" news on their websites May 18, John and Kelly were inundated with well wishes from fans. "We are so moved by the generous outpouring of support and goodwill we've received from people all over the world," the couple tell PEOPLE.
Buoyed by that support, the pair, who wed in 1991, feel rejuvenated. "I didn't see him smile for a very long time," says a Florida pal. "You hear about women glowing, but John's the one glowing right now. He seems ecstatic. It's like the old John is back."
After the death of Jett (who suffered from a seizure disorder and autism), John at times seemed lost in his grief. The veteran pilot was often spotted solo, seeking solace in his cherished airplane flights and lingering alone over meals everywhere from Miami to Tahiti. He stepped out to promote his movie Old Dogs (in which Preston and Ella costarred) last fall, and in January he flew to deliver medical supplies to earthquake-ravaged Haiti with Kelly and spoke of "working hard every day" to heal.
Kelly, meanwhile, chose to throw herself into work, starring in the teen romance The Last Song (she played Miley Cyrus' mom) and the drama Casino Jack. "I could see she was trying to heal through her acting," says her Casino Jack director George Hickenlooper, to whom Preston sent a Christmas card last December bearing pictures of both Ella and Jett.
But in recent months there were hints something might be changing for the family. "Kelly would see a woman carrying her baby and start talking about what a special time that was for her, how much she loved the newborn stage," says the Florida family friend. "She mentioned something about changing poopy diapers ... not something a mother of a preteen would say." The actress-who has yet to sport a serious baby bump-"seems serene, peaceful and happy," says the source.
Now, 17 months after saying goodbye to their firstborn son, the family is preparing once again for new parenthood. "They are over the moon," says Kelly's half brother Chris Palzis, who heard the good news from Kelly alongside friends and family at his recent engagement party. "There was lot of storytelling, laughing and hugging," Palzis says. "This is the best thing to happen to the family in a long time."
- Elizabeth Leonard/Los Angeles,
- Mia McNiece/Los Angeles,
- Anne Driscoll/Islesboro,
- Steve Helling/Orlando,
- Sara Hammel/New York City,
- Michelle Tan/New York City.
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