LOOKING stone-faced and drawn, John Travolta cut a distressing figure when he was spotted on June 2 emerging from the headquarters of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, Fla. He had made the two-hour drive from his estate in Ocala to attend a secret, four-hour church meeting, and as he drove out of the parking garage in his black Jaguar, “John appeared to be seriously upset,” an eyewitness says. “At one point, when he stopped at a traffic light, it was clear he was having a very agitated conversation with someone over the phone.”
John may have every reason to feel unstrung. Sources claim that he and his wife, Kelly Preston, who have had one of the most enduring — yet scandalous — marriages in Hollywood, could be on the verge of calling it quits! The shocking reason behind the split? Bombshell claims have recently emerged about John’s alleged affair with a U.S. Navy man that began 30 years ago, when the Saturday Night Fever hunk convinced the sailor to give up his career and shack up with him at a secret hideaway!
“It’s an understatement that John and Kelly have had their rough patches over the years, with the persistent rumors about him being gay and having had multiple flings with other men,” an insider says. “But these new public claims about yet another secret lover are a huge embarrassment for Kelly, who’s had to put on a happy face for so long. I think the strain of having to live that lie has taken a heavy toll, and Kelly may have finally reached her limit.”
The latest allegations against John, 63, are contained in a ledger kept by his late business manager, Hollywood producer Jonathan Krane, who claimed that John “fell in love” with the sailor (whose identity has not been publicly released) in 1985 and persuaded him to leave the Navy and move into John’s estate in Santa Barbara, Calif. “While living together, they conducted their affair openly,” Krane wrote in an April 2002 entry — so much so that the housekeeper and cook threatened to go public and expose the actor. “I [told them] I’d be able to get them $25,000 as long as they filed a confidentiality agreement and left California,” Krane claimed, adding that when the deal was signed, “John hugged and kissed me and said, ‘Jonathan, you saved my life, you also saved my career.’ ”
According to Krane (who died last August), John was still hooking up with his lover even after he started dating Kelly in 1989. “John told me [he] wasn’t turned on by women, but… he needed [her] as a ‘beard’ because of his affair,” Krane claimed, adding that in December 1991 — three months after marrying Kelly — John revealed he had bought the ex-sailor a home in Daytona Beach that was only a five-minute drive from the Florida mansion John shared with his wife at the time.
Shockingly, John and the man allegedly have a continuing relationship; he was reportedly seen driving into Travolta’s gated community in Ocala on June 6 — just four days after John was spotted at Scientology headquarters!
“I heard Kelly became furious with John the night she found out about that visit, and basically told him, ‘Enough is enough!’” the insider claims. “To discover that John and his ex-sailor may have arranged a recent meetup in her own home… She and John have been through a lot together, but it seems like that was the final nail in the coffin.” (A rep for the couple denies Star’s story.)
Reportedly, long-suffering Kelly, 54, wasn’t a complete angel during their time together. While coming close to “breaking under the pressure” of being married to John , she strayed from her husband with Kevin Costner while they filmed For Love of the Game in 1998, according to Jonathan Krane, who claimed Kelly admitted to him she had an affair with the A-list hunk. Another source claims that when John got wind of the hookup, he jealously confronted Costner on the set and they had “a violent showdown… then they went into Kevin’s trailer to finish the argument.”
Otherwise, Kelly has staunchly stood by John and helped to keep up what Krane insisted was the facade of a normal marriage, despite John being hit publicly by one lurid gay scandal after another. A firestorm of publicity erupted in 2006, when John was photographed kissing his children’s male nanny, Jeff Kathrein, on the mouth outside his private jet. Six years later, John was slapped with lawsuits by multiple male massage therapists who claimed he sexually propositioned them.
A bigger bombshell hit in 2014, when John’s former pilot, Doug Gotterba, claimed he’d had a long-running affair with the actor from 1981 to 1986 — and announced that he was writing a juicy tell-all! John reportedly paid Gotterba a whopping $1.3 million to prevent him from publishing the exposé, but that didn’t stop the pilot from spilling sordid details about their alleged liaison, which he said began when John gave him a massage that “turned into something else.” During romantic trips to Hawaii, Africa and Europe, “I’d stay in the room next to John in luxury hotels, but [he] would ask me to join him in his suite and we’d spend the nights together,” Gotterba claimed, adding that John “tried to get me to make a sex tape with him, but I refused.”
And while they were rare, Kelly has had to deal with whispers that John had also cheated with members of the opposite sex — including rumors that he and Kirstie Alley had become way too close while filming Look Who’s Talking in 1989. Kirstie denied that she and John had had an affair, though she admitted that the flirting between them had gotten so heavy that Kelly “would bust me” about it.
SO MUCH at stake
If John and Kelly are headed for a split, divvying up their $275 million fortune could get sticky. “John earned the bulk of the money, but they’ve been married for so long that Kelly would be entitled to half of it,” says the insider. John would likely insist on keeping their Ocala compound, which has an airstrip and two hangars where he stores his fleet of beloved jets, “but I don’t think that will be a problem, since Kelly wants to relocate to L.A. In fact, I think they’ll be able to divide their assets without things turning nasty. John has always been very generous with Kelly.”
As for their children, Ella, 17, and Benjamin, 6, the insider adds, “hashing out custody is rarely easy in Scientology divorces, but Kelly is a devout and outspoken follower of the church, which will make it easier for her and John to reach an agreement. When Katie Holmes divorced Tom Cruise, she disconnected from the religion and insisted that their daughter, Suri, not be raised a Scientologist. There won’t be that kind of drama with Kelly and John. Despite everything that has gone down, they’ll always be friends. There really is a lot of love between them.”