Kelly Preston didn't tell anyone on her final film that she had stage 3 cancer

Late star Kelly Preston didn’t tell anyone on her final film that she was fighting cancer.

The 57-year-old actress died of breast cancer in June 2020, with her husband John Travolta confirming she been privately fighting cancer for two years.

Preston even kept her illness a secret from her co-stars on her final film, Off The Rails, despite having stage three breast cancer.

Sally Phillips acts opposite the late actress in the comedy-drama, which follows three friends in their 50s and the teenage daughter of a late friend repeating a European trip they took when they were 18, and said that the cast had no idea there was anything wrong during filming.

Sally, 51, told Yours magazine: ‘When we made the film in 2019, Kelly had stage three breast cancer. We had no idea she was ill.

‘No one knew, except Bill Kenwright, our executive producer. Kelly kept it quiet.


‘I think this is standard practice in the US, due to insurance issues, plus TV and filmmakers over there seem to think you won’t be capable of doing the job if you have cancer.’

The cast and crew found out about Preston’s illness during post-production work on the film and at that point, the actress was ‘too ill’ to do anything else.

Sally said: ‘It was a massive shock. By then Kelly was too ill to do anything. It was pre-Covid and I desperately wanted to see her but when someone is that ill they need to be with their family.

‘We did have some really interesting chats away from set.

‘My eldest son, Ollie, has Down’s syndrome, while Kelly and John’s son Jett, who died in 2009 aged 16 from a seizure, was on the autistic spectrum and had learning difficulties. Jett was still very present for her.’

Sally added that Preston was ‘more than capable’ during filming and was ‘always laughing and joking’ with her co-stars.

Off The Rails, which features the music of Blondie, also stars Jenny Seagrove, Ben Miller, Franco Nero and Dame Judi Dench, and is dedicated to Preston’s memory. 

Travolta, 67, shared the news of his wife’s death via a statement last summer, saying: ‘It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer.

‘She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.  My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side.

‘Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered. I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while.  But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.’

The couple, who were married for 28 years, shared daughter Ella, 21, and son Benjamin, 10; their eldest child Jett died aged 16 after suffering a seizure in 2009.

Preston was best known for her roles in films including Jerry Maguire, Twins, Mischief and For The Love of the Game.

Off The Rails is in cinemas now. 

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