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Travolta Acknowledges Son's Autism

9/23/2009 1:34 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

John Travolta John Travolta made his first public statement acknowledging Jett had autism.

Travolta told the jury in the Bahamas extortion case that Jett was autistic and suffered seizures every 5 to 10 days. Travolta said, "He was autistic. He suffered from a seizure disorder."

Travolta testified the seizures would last 45 seconds to a minute.


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How very sad that Travolta admits AFTER his son's death that the boy was autistic. The Church of Scientology does not accept this disorder, so in a way it's ironic. Had that child been given the CORRECT treatment, including seizure medication designed for kids with autism, perhaps this terrible tragedy might never had happened.

1803 days ago


Nobody has the responsibility to share anything with the public, so I don't fault them with that. I do fault them for telling an absolute lie. However, their denial and beliefs clearly led to their child not having the correct treatment or therapy. That I fault them greatly for. The outcome of this child's life could have been very different.

8. I agree with 7. Why did they not acknowledge their son was autistic? By sharing their trials and tribulations with raising a son with autisim, they could have helped other families like Jenny McCarty does.

Posted at 12:59PM on Sep 23rd 2009 by JoDale

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1803 days ago

To #26    

The Travoltas do not owe the "autism community" anything and anyone who says otherwise is behaving selfishly. It was their right to deal with their son's disability in their own way. It's clear that they loved their son and in the end, that may have been the most important thing they could have done for him.

1803 days ago


Just adding my two cents worth to many of the comments re:
autism and Scientology. Just think how much the Travolta family could have helped so many millions of children, and their caregivers, and the health professionals who treat these children (and adults), by putting a fact on autism -- much the same way that Rock Hudson had the courage to do when he was battling AIDS. I, too, have huge issues w/ Scientology, but when it directly affects children this way, it makes me even more upset. Jett might not have died if the Travolota family were treating his autism. This is something the Travoltas will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. One of Sly Stallone's sons, from his first marriage, also has autism, and he refuses to talk about it.

1803 days ago


I get so sick of seeing people get bashed because they elect not to publicly acknowledge a child's illness or disability. Whether they are the child of a celebrity or not, EVERYONE is entitled to privacy about medical conditions. So what if John Travolta and his wife did not acknowledge Jett's autism while Jett was alive. Wasnt Jett entitled to privacy about his condition? His parent's fame did not negate his basic rights as a human being. What the hell is the fascination with acknowledgment about affairs that are none of anyone else's business!

1803 days ago


Again, I agree the Travolta's didn't owe the public or the autism community anything. However, they crossed the line when they started spreading lies and untruths about Kawasaki. Every medical expert has said there is no link between Kawasaki and seizures. Jett might actually have truly had Kawasaki when he was two, however it had nothing to do with his condition or seizures. They were irresponsible for spreading those untruths. They were also irresponsible because of Scientology for not having their son treated CORRECTLY for autism and not even acknowledging it to themselves. Their child might be alive today if they thought more about him than their junk religion.

94. I get so sick of seeing people get bashed because they elect not to publicly acknowledge a child's illness or disability. Whether they are the child of a celebrity or not, EVERYONE is entitled to privacy about medical conditions. So what if John Travolta and his wife did not acknowledge Jett's autism while Jett was alive. Wasnt Jett entitled to privacy about his condition? His parent's fame did not negate his basic rights as a human being. What the hell is the fascination with acknowledgment about affairs that are none of anyone else's business!

Posted at 4:55PM on Sep 23rd 2009 by Paula

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1803 days ago


Dr Fred,
People with autism do feel, anger, sadness, etc. What they don't have is EMPATHY. I know this because I have TWO..

1803 days ago


I am the father of a 6 year old Autistic child that looks very familiar to Jett (blue eyes with “that” stare). Nobody – but nobody should have to go though this. Let alone dying in your arms and having to testify about this. I hope that Mr. Travolta uses his celebrity (as an honor to his son) for Autism awareness and helping us find a cure for this despicable disease.
Facts and Statistics figures for this disease
• 1 in 150 births1
• 1 to 1.5 million Americans2
• Fastest-growing developmental disability
• 10 - 17 % annual growth
• $90 billion annual cost3
• 90% of costs are in adult services3
• Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention3
• In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion4
My prayers go out for him and his family.

1803 days ago


It saddens me that they did keep his autism secret and Scientology )Tom Cruz etc) do not beleive in certain types of medications etc like he was bashing Brooke Shields when she came out about her battles after child birth. And he also attacked Matt Lauer about drugs to treat these conditions. This CULT is dargging people down and alot of ceelbrities GIVE there money to this so called church when the Travoltas could have walked away when this cult and there friends Cruz and others would not accept this precious boys autism. My son is 10 yrs old and he has autism, he is sweet, gentle, kind and very loving. He has emotions, people say they dont have thme but they do. He gets scared, he feels sadness and joy just like anyone else. My plea here is to WAKE UP people and realize this is CULT and get away and take more interest into raising awareness to autism, and Mr and Mrs Travolta you can reach out to many families and help them. Do something to honor your beautiful son Jett!

1803 days ago


Some of you people clearly don't know what you are talking about. John Travolta did not deny his son's autism because he was 'a private person'. He had no qualms about running around saying it was Kawasaki Disease. Travolta didn't talk about it because HE DIDN'T BELIEVE his son suffered from it because he is a Scientologist and they believe things like autism don't exist and are figments of psychiatrists imaginations. In other words, his son never got the help he needed in coping with his autism. To make matters worse, his son DIED because he was on no medication, something completely deplorable, inexcusable, and criminal because he was a Scientologist and they don't believe in psychotropic drugs, which happen to be prescribed for people who suffer from seizures. How could a child suffer from FREQUENT SEVERE seizures and die on no medication, especially when his parents had no problems paying for it?! These people should be in jail, NOW. Just like faith healers and all the other fanatical people who let their ideologies get in the way of providing treatment for their own children. SICK.

1803 days ago


No family has to "admit" to the public anything about their child's medical conditions. Nobody has an obligation to let their child be the "poster child" for a particular disease, or to spearhead a movement for the recognition of the disease.

Nobody here has any idea what the parents were thinking or doing for Jett privately. If it made it easier with their co-religionists to say "Kawasaki disease" in public (which could have been the trigger for Jett), who cares? They knew what they were dealing with and saw plenty of doctors. Nobody here had the right to know the correct diagnosis. It just wasn't any of our business.

But I can definitely say that seizures can be extremely difficult and even impossible to treat - some people have drug-resistant epilepsy. The side effects of the drugs can be as bad as the disease. Their doctors keep switching drugs on them, trying to find something that reduces the frequency and severity of seizures without too many horrible side effects (one fellow I knew thought he was doing well when he "only" had a few grand mal seizures per month along with many petit mal ones, although his long-term and short-term memory were both vanishing rapidly from both the drugs and the seizures; he couldn't drive a car or operate machinery, and basically he was unemployable). At some point, quality of life rather than quantity has to be considered.

You are more likely to know someone with treatable epilepsy, because most people fit in that category, so all they need to do is take the medication regularly and then they are seizure-free and can operate normally, drive cars, etc. My uncle was one of those lucky ones, his grand mal epilepsy was controlled consistently by regular dosing with Dilantin.

But Jett obviously didn't have the treatable sort. Just to let organs of the body recover from side effects, people in his situation have to go off medications periodically, and also before trying a new one you might have to clear the old one from your body. Obviously his parents went to great lengths to monitor Jett as best they could, but there's a limit to how much invasion of privacy a teenager will tolerate. Life expectancy for a child with his kind of drug-resistant epilepsy is not great, and I'm sure his parents realized their time with him might be too short no matter what they did. Undoubtedly that was also a factor in emphasizing quality of life rather than tormenting him with drugs that caused more problems than they cured.

1803 days ago

the truth hurts huh    

10. The Travolta family has the right as the parents to care for their son in a manner which the wanted. Personally, I think Scientology is a scam for schumcks but its still a free country.

Posted at 1:09PM on Sep 23rd 2009 by susanne

Susanne - I agree with you about Scientology and Scientologists ..... however ....

Courts sometimes do step in to mandate that parents provide certain care for their children. What about the boy with cancer whose mother didn't want him to have chemo and they disappeared together. It was considered child abduction and she was labeled a criminal. So "free country" and parents caring for their children however they want to does not necessarily always apply.

Either way - the Travoltas made an obviously reckless decision with their son's health and well-being - in the name of a cult religion. That is abhorrent and sad.

1803 days ago



TRAVOLTA FAMILY TRAVESTY: Wild Hogs Star Gives own Autistic Son the Silent Treatment - May 10, 2007

1803 days ago

Little Octagon    

Perhaps it's not so terrible that Travolta didn't acknowledge his son's autism publicly until now. Look at what happened with Jenny McCarthy. The last thing autism awareness needs is another high-profile parent espousing a junk-science agenda and spreading misinformation.

1803 days ago


I think it is absolutely shameful that the Travoltas continued to deny their son's Autism during his life. For what reason? To protect their son? From whom? Look at every celebrity that has a special needs child; Jenny McCarthy? Colin Farrell? Toni Braxton? Sylvester Stallone? See any of them with crowds of people with pitchforks outside of their homes, crying, "KILL THE DISABLED CHILD!"?
No, they get a three page spread in People to USE THEIR CELEBRITY TO BRING ATTENTION TO AN ILLNESS THAT IS AT THIS TIME AN EPIDEMIC IN THIS COUNTRY. It is one thing to refuse to discuss an issue that is, of course, extremely personal and private. But to out and out LIE and DENY that the child has the illness? That speaks to nothing more than embarassment in my opinion.

1803 days ago
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