He’s still got it. In a new campaign for Capital One, John Travolta — dressed as Santa Claus — channels his iconic Saturday Night Fever character, Tony Manero, strutting his stuff on the street before breaking out his signature moves on a light-up dance floor. “Doing the ad was so fun for John,” says an insider exclusively. “He has a great sense of humor and likes to poke fun at himself. He loves that people are getting a kick out of it.”

As John’s 70th birthday approaches in mid-February, the source exclusively tells Closer the beloved actor has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. “John has lots of things he wants to do, and places he wants to fly to on one of his planes and explore,” says the insider of the avid pilot. “He loves to keep learning.” The big birthday comes after a devastating period for the star. He’s still grieving the 2020 death from breast cancer of his wife of 28 years, Kelly Preston, at age 57, and the 2009 loss of their 16-year-old son, Jett, but he’s feeling ready for a recharge. “Turning 70 is a milestone he’s looking forward to,” says the source. “Despite losing Kelly and Jett, John still has a zest for life.”

Healing Journey

The Pulp Fiction star was heartbroken when Kelly died, and his recovery has been slow. In 2021, John opened up about his healing process. “I learned that mourning someone, dealing with grief is something very personal,” he told Esquire Spain, adding that he’d become overwhelmed by the grief surrounding him at the time. “Many people approached me, and then I felt [so] saturated with everyone’s sadness that I didn’t know what to do.” He’s learned that time does not always heal all wounds. “It’s been a struggle since Kelly died,” says the source. “She made life so beautiful. John misses her every day — her voice, her hugs, everything.”

The Gotti actor and his two surviving children, Ella Bleu, 23, and Ben, 13, work to keep the memory of Kelly alive on a daily basis. “They talk about Kelly and reminisce about their fun times and their highs and their lows, too,” says the source. Birthdays are time for celebration. On October 13, on what would’ve been Kelly’s 61st, John posted a portrait of the Jerry Maguire actress on his Instagram, writing, “Happy Birthday Kelly! We love you!” Shares the source: “John has pictures of Kelly around the house and she’s still very much in their lives. Their memories keep them all going.”

Support System

The kids have been a lifeline for John. “Fortunately, John has his kids to keep him from falling into a deep funk,” reveals the source. “They remind him of Kelly so much.” Indeed, Ella has decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps, which makes him a proud pop. In addition to starring in the upcoming Lost in Wonderland, she launched her modeling career during 2022’s New York Fashion Week and released a single, “Dizzy,” in June. “Ella’s a strong young woman with a big heart,” says the source. “John gives her advice all the time, but knows she’s got a good head on her shoulders. She’s wise beyond her years.”

John Travolta Has ‘Zest For Life’ at 70 Despite Losing Wife Kelly Preston and Son Jett Travolta
Getty Images

He’s had to act as both father and mother for Ben, who was just 9 when he lost his mom. In a touching 2021 interview with Kevin Hart, the actor opened up about difficult conversations he’d had to have with his son. “[Ben] said to me once, ‘Because mom passed away, I’m afraid you’re going to,’” John shared, adding that he encouraged Ben to live without fear or regrets. “[I said,] ‘Let’s look at [death] like it’s part of life. You don’t know exactly. You just do your best at trying to live the longest you can.’” In that way, he’s become a mentor to the boy he and Kelly called their “miracle baby,” born after the death of Jett. “It’s important that he’s present for Ben,” says the insider of the teen, especially during this stage in his life.”

Helping people has always been important to John. In a 2015 sit-down on Good Morning America, the Get Shorty star talked about his controversial religion, Scientology, saying that it has been “a beautiful thing for me” and that he’s “saved lives with it,” adding, “[I] saved my own life [with it] several times.”

Looking Ahead

Work — past and present — continues to be a healthy distraction for John. Some of his best memories are from movie sets, including filming 1978’s hit Grease with the late Olivia Newton-John. “I had waited so many years to do that because I had done it on Broadway,” John recalled of appearing in a small part in the original musical. “That whole movie I was indulging in my fantasy coming true because it was that important to me.” He’s set to star in the action flick Cash Out and its sequel and is also working on a rom-com with Katherine Heigl. “I’m very selective right now because I have the privilege to be so,” he’s said. “I’m just figuring out what’s next.”

Dating is still a question mark. Friends are urging him to meet someone, but he’s not quite there yet. “Kelly was the love of John’s life, and no one will ever come close,” says the source. “He has his kids, his work, his hobbies and his friends, and that’s enough to fulfill him for now.” But never say never. Adds the source, “John hasn’t ruled out having a companion in the future. When he’s ready, he’ll know.”