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Thread: John Travolta's rift with Scientology; still grief-stricken over son's death

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default John Travolta's rift with Scientology; still grief-stricken over son's death

    Dead of night, and on a deserted Florida landing strip, the silence of the oppressively hot early hours is broken by the low whirring of an electric golf cart, driving lazy circuits.

    At the wheel is a bulky, lone figure, hunched forward over the controls as he tries to kill time during another long, sleepless night.

    It is a sight that has become something of a regular occurrence in recent weeks, as Hollywood star John Travolta acts out his bizarre nocturnal ritual on the private runway that services his Jumbolair estate.

    'We often see John driving himself around at night,' one of Travolta's neighbours told me this week.

    'It's sad to see. You rarely catch sight of him during the day. We used to see him driving around on a buggy with his son. Now it's just John by himself. He's always been a night owl, but now even more so.'

    But then Travolta has much on his mind. Six months after the tragic death of his only son, Jett, during a family New Year holiday to the Bahamas, he is said by his closest friends to remain in a state of almost constant distress.

    Work has been cancelled, the shutters pulled down, and until a rare appearance in public this week, the actor had been living the life of a virtual recluse.

    His friend and fellow actor Denzel Washington, who appears with Travolta in the upcoming thriller The Taking Of Pelham 123 - which was shot before the tragedy - gave an indication of the depth of his co-star's despair: 'One minute he's OK, the next he's in tears. He's such a sweet, sweet person.'

    Certainly, those around the Pulp Fiction star are privately concerned about his state of mind.

    And Travolta cut a miserable figure when he was spotted for the first time in months on a flying visit to Miami this week.
    ohn Travolta with his son Jett, who died in January

    The 55-year-old actor, who was sporting an eccentric handlebar moustache and a shapeless, baggy shirt, looked bloated and puffy. He hid under a black baseball cap as he ate an unhealthy lunch of cheeseburger and chips alone outside a fast-food joint.

    Few would blame the formerly lithe Saturday Night Fever and Grease star for over-indulging his long-time love of junk food as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his 16-year- old son, who died after suffering a seizure at his father's holiday villa.

    But if rumours buzzing around Hollywood this week are to be believed, it's not just the death of his beloved son that has been torturing Travolta of late.

    His distress, say sources close to him, has been compounded by the first cracks in his 34-year relationship with the Church of Scientology, the cult-like religion of which Travolta is a prominent and generous benefactor.

    And there are dark mutterings that if he carries out private threats to leave, the organisation will go public with embarrassing details of his private life, including, it is claimed, allegations of past homosexual relationships.

    Sources in the U.S. disclosed to me this week that his son's sudden death has 'deeply shaken' Travolta's faith in the strange sect, which makes wild claims about its ability to cure a variety of physical and mental
    disorders.

    The star - who, thanks to his dedication and open cheque book, has risen to the top of the secretive organisation - is said to be angry that the religion was unable to help Jett, who was widely reported to have suffered from autism.

    'There have been strong rumours coming out of Scientology that John Travolta is disappointed that the religion was not able to help his son more,' Rick Ross, an American author and lecturer on Scientology, told me this week. 'It's led him to question his faith.'



    Travolta is also said to be upset that senior members of the sect have instructed him to undergo intensive sessions with one of Scientology's 'ethics officers', trained to question the actor and other grieving family members to establish whether their 'negative influences' might have contributed to the tragedy.

    But there is much more to this than just a questioning of a once rock-solid faith. 'I think it would be very difficult for John Travolta at this stage, given his history with the religion, to extricate himself from the Church of Scientology,' said Mr Ross, who has investigated the sect for almost 30 years.

    'It would be a huge move on his part because Scientology keeps files on its celebrity members containing embarrassing personal information about them.

    'And Scientology has proven in the past that it has a penchant for releasing that information to embarrass people who have left and who have said things it doesn't like.

    'If celebrities leave, they tend to do it quietly and keep their mouths shut, because if they do speak out, they are opening themselves up to attack from Scientology.

    'That's why I think Travolta will want to keep his problems with the Church private.'

    Travolta's friends have been speculating among themselves for months that he now deeply regrets adhering so strictly to the cult's outlandish instructions over his son's medical treatment.
    John at a book signing of Scientology founder Ron Hubbard's best seller Battlefield Earth in 2000

    Committed Scientologist: John at a book signing of Scientology founder Ron Hubbard's best seller Battlefield Earth in 2000

    His sense of guilt is said to be compounded by his blind acceptance of the Church's claims that conditions such as autism do not exist, but are merely psychosomatic.

    It recommends they are treated by detoxification programmes and vitamins, rather than conventional drugs.

    Indeed, Travolta's wife, actress Kelly Preston, campaigns vociferously against psychiatric drugs and the family's lawyers have confirmed that Jett had been taken off the antiseizure-drug Depakote because, they say, it failed to work.

    Instead, Preston 46, herself a committed Scientologist, is said to have enrolled her son on a Scientology-led Purification Rundown course.

    This involved treating Jett with saunas, food supplements, Vitamin B and vegetable oils which, the sect claims, can dislodge toxins trapped in the body's fatty tissues.

    Perhaps because Scientology does not recognise autism as a clinical condition, she and Travolta, who also have a nine-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu, instead claimed that Jett's condition, which rendered him virtually mute and caused up to four epileptic fits a week, was caused by the little-known Kawasaki Syndrome.

    They claimed that the illness, which affects the heart and is not usually seen in children over the age of five, was caused by the carpet detergents that Travolta, who is obsessive about cleaning, insisted were used in his son's bedroom when he was a baby.

    But now, it seems, the double Oscar nominee is doubting the wisdom of following Scientology's weird prescriptions.

    Word of Travolta's loosening ties with Scientology is certainly a blow to the religion. He and fellow movie heart-throb Tom Cruise have been its two most significant Hollywood disciples.

    Travolta is also known to have pumped millions of his own fortune into its new Superpower Centre, being built at Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.

    According to insiders, he has reached the rank of Operating Thetan VII, one rung below the most senior position in the Church, which adheres to the teachings of controversial 1950s science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

    The author bizarrely claimed all humans are descended from Thetans, space aliens who were banished to earth 75 million years ago.

    At great expense, Travolta turned another of Hubbard's novels, Battlefield Earth, into a disastrous 2000 film.

    But to reach such an exalted level within Scientology, Travolta, insiders say, has had to submit himself to years of so-called 'auditing', during which disciples are connected to primitive lie-detectors and subjected to hours of questioning about their innermost secrets.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Hollywood's obsession with the secret sect, talk in the smarter salons of gossip-hungry Tinseltown is now all about what Travolta might have divulged during these sessions.

    At the centre of this rather frenzied speculation has been his continued relationship with Jeff Kathrein, the fellow Scientologist whom Travolta was photographed kissing on the lips on the steps of a private plane three years ago.

    Strangely, 29-year-old Kathrein, who is a wedding photographer from Florida, was described as Jett's nanny when it was revealed that he had discovered the boy's body on the floor of a bathroom in Travolta's 3million beach house in Grand Bahama last January.

    It is not the first time that Travolta has been the subject of whispers about his sexuality.

    In 2001, he was the subject of lurid claims that he had tried to pick up a business executive in a California health club.
    Screen star: The actor with Olivia Newton-John in the classic movie Grease

    Screen star: The actor with Olivia Newton-John in the classic movie Grease

    The allegations came three years after Travolta was named as a homosexual in U.S Federal court papers, issued by a former member of the Scientology Church, who alleged the sect used the actor as an example of how gays could be 'cured' by the religion.

    Earlier, the prestigious Time magazine also reported allegations made by Richard Aznaran, the former security head of Scientology, that the Church's leader, David Miscavige, had repeatedly joked about Travolta's 'promiscuous homosexual behaviour'.

    Aznaran's claims came just months after the star was the subject of wild accusations in an American supermarket-tabloid that he had enjoyed a two-year affair with a gay porn star called Paul Barresi, who had a bit part in Travolta's 1985 flop, Perfect.

    In the wake of Barresi's claims, Travolta - who at 37 was still a bachelor - announced his sudden engagement to Miss Preston, who was already a committed member of the sect and with whom he starred in the forgettable 1989 comedy The Experts. The couple married two years later.

    The actor's only previous serious relationship was in the mid-1970s, with actress Diana Hyland.

    She was 18 years his senior, but the couple moved in together after appearing in a U.S. television movie. Tragically, less than a year after they became an item, she died in his arms of breast cancer.

    Despite the gossip, his marriage to Preston is one of the most enduring in Hollywood. Their three homes include a state-of-the-art 14 million Florida mansion, which was built to resemble an airport terminal and has parking for trained pilot Travolta's Boeing 707 airliner and two Gulfstream jets.

    Despite this, Travolta has admitted that he and Preston have had to resort to years of marriage counselling to keep their relationship on track.

    And while Preston has returned to work after the death of their son, Travolta has done much of his grieving in private.

    In April, for example, he flew himself to Tahiti to spend time alone over Jett's 17th birthday.

    To add to the tension, the couple are said to be dreading returning to the Bahamas at the end of September, for the trial of an ambulance driver called to treat Jett.

    The man and his female accomplice are accused of trying to extort 12 million out of Travolta by threatening to go public with embarrassing private details surrounding the teenager's death.

    Even so, sources told me this week that the couple are desperate to have another child. His friends can only hope that the prospect of a new life might finally lift Travolta out of his grief.

    Read more: Is John Travolta cracking up? It's not just grief - and guilt - over his dead son that are tearing the actor's apart | Mail Online
    Is John Travolta cracking up? It's not just grief - and guilt - over his dead son that are tearing the actor's apart | Mail Online
    For some reason this article makes me sad. Travolta has always struck me as a decent man, albeit one who got mixed up with a very scary cult. I hope he just says fuck it and walks away. I don't think anyone will care one iota about his homosexuality, particularly since it's not any big secret. How sad he's lived a lie for so long and how sad he is missing his son so much. I can't imagine the pain. His wife, on the other hand, comes across as an opportunistic harpy of a Co$ zealot.


    On a side note: why remake Pelham 123?
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Gold Member powerorchid's Avatar
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    ^^agree - do it do it, leave the cult John!

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    Silver Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    He probably feels a huge amount of guilt about not looking into various treatments that have been proven to help kids with Autism. Jenny McCarthy has had a lot of luck with the methods she's been integrating with her son. It's hard for me to believe that people can be so gullible as to belong to a "religion" that is so restrictive and closed minded.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    There are cults, large and small, all over the world and all kinds of intelligent people get sucked in.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Yea I agree, no one in this day and age would (should) give a f**k about his sexuality, so if he feels bad about the whole thing, he should break off. But I guess we don't know what would hold him back from cutting ties if he's been with them for a while.

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    I hope John leaves.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Suck it up, princess. You fucked your kid over because of your bullshit.

    Enjoy living with that for the rest of your miserable life.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    He is suffering terribly. He is pretty broken-I won't be surprised at what ever he does next.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    If this article is accurate, then he sounds very depressed. It's one thing to bury a child, but it's another to feel like you could have been the cause. Add to that he is living a lie, and trapped in a cult. It doesn't get much worse. I hope he's got some buddies (not for CO$) looking out for him.

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    Silver Member Lily317's Avatar
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    Guilt can cause alot of damage in a person's life.

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    Elite Member Lalique's Avatar
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    Well, sounds like he and his wife stopped the meds that could of prevented the seizure that killed his son. Have fun living with the knowledge that you basically killed your son.
    What I really want to know is whether it makes your poop glow in the dark after eating it! ~ Kittylady

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    Elite Member Jexxifer's Avatar
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    But there is much more to this than just a questioning of a once rock-solid faith. 'I think it would be very difficult for John Travolta at this stage, given his history with the religion, to extricate himself from the Church of Scientology,' said Mr Ross, who has investigated the sect for almost 30 years.

    'It would be a huge move on his part because Scientology keeps files on its celebrity members containing embarrassing personal information about them.

    'And Scientology has proven in the past that it has a penchant for releasing that information to embarrass people who have left and who have said things it doesn't like.

    'If celebrities leave, they tend to do it quietly and keep their mouths shut, because if they do speak out, they are opening themselves up to attack from Scientology.


    Or worse -I would hate to see John go through all of this just to end up committing "suicide".

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    Gold Member powerorchid's Avatar
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    I'd like to see him get a good lawyer and leave Scientology. If they smear his name surely there is something they can do - it's blackmail right? Every-one knows he is gay or bi-sexual no-one is gonna care what they come out with, Scientology is hated any-way.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Suck it up, princess. You fucked your kid over because of your bullshit.

    Enjoy living with that for the rest of your miserable life.
    That is true though.

    And I wish the media would stop with 'blaming' his tragedy on his unhealthy eating habits and weight. He's been like that for years, not because of what happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    He probably feels a huge amount of guilt about not looking into various treatments that have been proven to help kids with Autism. Jenny McCarthy has had a lot of luck with the methods she's been integrating with her son. It's hard for me to believe that people can be so gullible as to belong to a "religion" that is so restrictive and closed minded.
    I'm sure he does! There have been lots of kids diagnosed with varying levels of autism these days, not sure what the cause of that is. A friend's 4 year old was diagnosed as highly-functioning earlier this year. The earliest appointment she could get at the hospital for setting up his treatment plans was 3 months or more away from his diagnosis! At that point she felt like the best she could do was research on her own. She found lots of information that offered tips on routine and diet. She decided to cut out gluten figuring it would either work or wouldn't. She said within days she could start to see a difference in the way he behaved. It's obviously not a cure but it's great that she was able to find something that easy to change that can help him.

    I feel bad for JT and KP. They've lost their son and each person deals with grief differently, some well and others not at all. It's possible that in 10 years time KP will be having a complete breakdown over it and JT will be stable and going on with life. Your brain/body makes you deal with stress whether you want to or not.

    I also understand, not condone it at all but do understand the urge to pretend that there's nothing "wrong" with your kid. As a parent you want to protect your kids, giving them the best and it's hard to deal with the notion that they have something else to deal with in life. I don't think anyone can deny that JT is a good father and adores his children but as parents, we all make mistakes sometimes. Unfortunately, there are LOTS of instances where religion has been a major factor in delaying treatment and has resulted in the death of a child. The part that is most unfair in that is that the children themselves have no say in their treatment.
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