John Travolta: “My Son Was Autistic”

In the extortion trial that started this week in the Bahamas involving the death of his 16-year-old son Jett, PEOPLE reports that John Travolta publicly stated for the first time that his son had autism:

My son was autistic and he suffered from seizure disorder every 5 to 10 days,” Travolta told the court. “He would suffer a seizure that would last 45 seconds to a minute and sleep for 12 hours.”

With wife Kelly Preston in the courtroom supporting him, John also revealed to the nine-person jury how he attempted to save Jett’s life after the nanny woke him up at around 10:15 AM on Jan. 2 to tell him Jett was unconscious. John explained that he went downstairs and saw his son on the ground with one of his caretakers doing chest compressions.

The 55-year-old Golden Globe-winning actor went on to testify that he performed CPR on Jett, which ultimately did not save his life.

Filed under: John Travolta

Photo credit: Splash

  • Em

    So sad 🙁 may Jett rest in peace!

  • nosoupforyu

    I feel sad for them but why in the world wasn’t this boy on medication for seizures that came so frequent. There are many more medications other that Depakote.

    I work with children who have autism and other developmental disabilities.

    • Medications work different for each person who has Autism and other disabilities. While someone with seizures may find medications that help, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will work on someone who has autism.

  • rachel s

    I remember when Jett first passed it was speculated that he had autism, but it appeared that the Travolta’s publicly denied Jett ever having autism. I think it may have been due to their religious belief, Scientology, in which they don’t believe in neurological/psychological illnesses.
    I hope that Jett received the proper treatment he needed when he was still alive, and not denied due to religious beliefs.

  • Anna

    I’m sure they tried medications, maybe they just didn’t help? We are not family, they have no obligations to inform the media and the public of their children’s health issues, medication etc. Just because we don’t know something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  • LaKesha

    I think it is a bit shameful that the media is leading with this as a headline. I’m sure that it caused the parents a great deal of pain to have a child that was suffering, and even more pain to lose that child. To exclaim ‘ A ha, he was autistic’ is shameful.

  • nosoupforyou

    Anna, you are incorrect. John said they tried Depakote and it didn’t work, so Jett wasn’t on any medication. While the family has no obligation to inform the public, he chose to say that. That is beside the point. Go to WebMD and look up the medications available to treat seizures. Autistic kids have a higher rate of seizures.

    In addition, Mrs. Travolta has participated in organizations/activities that oppose the use of behavioral medications in children. I have a son w/ ADHD and medication is an integral part of his treatment. At age 12, he is alive and thriving.

    However, losing a child is the worst thing I can imagine. I wish them peace and healing. Their child will forever be in their hearts.

  • Jenny

    LaKesha thank you for your insightful comment. I really thought about that title….in the end I thought it was so pivotal that he finally admitted his son’s condition after his death. However, I definitely hear what you’re saying and will take your thoughts into consideration for the next ‘hot topic.’

  • Marilyn

    Didn’t Kelly say Jett’s problems started when they had their carpet cleaned and the chemicals affected Jett? If she knew it was autism, why did she say that (unless at the time, she didn’t know it was autism and found out later). In any case, I hope they’ll be ok. It’ll take some time to heal.

  • Anonymous

    My heart breaks for them. My son is autistic and has ADHD, luckily he does not have seizures. My thoughts are with you John and Kelly.

  • Audrey

    Not all seizures are controlled by medication.

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