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06th Dec 2022

John Travolta pays tribute to his ‘soulmate’ Kirstie Alley as she dies aged 71

Steve Hopkins

‘Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had’

John Travolta has paid a heartfelt tribute to Kirsty Alley after she lost a short battle against cancer on Monday. She was 71.

Alley, best known for her role as Rebecca Howe in Cheers, starred alongside Travolta in the successful 1989 romantic comedy Look Who’s Talking.

“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again,” the actor wrote on Instagram after her family confirmed her passing.

In 2019, Travolta described Alley as his “soulmate”.

Explaining how he’d only be up for a Look Who’s Talking reboot if he could work with Alley, he told US Magazine: “I would do anything with Kirstie. So let’s see what happens.”

Alley had previously echoed the sentiment, revealing in 2018 that while the pair never had a romantic relationship, something could have happened if they both hadn’t been with other people when they met. “I almost ran off and married John,” she said on Celebrity Big Brother UK.

The two-time Emmy-winning actor died surrounded by family, a statement on social media confirmed.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a short battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” Alley’s children wrote.

“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead.”

Alley’s children said in the statement that “as iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother” and spoke warmly of her “zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating”.

The family said Alley had inspired them “to live life to the fullest, just as she did.”

Alley is survived by son, William True Stevenson, daughter, Lillie Price Stevenson and a grandson.

She appeared as the on-off love interest of Boston bar owner Sam, played by Ted Danson, in Cheers.

From 1997 to 2000 Alley had her own sitcom on US network NBC, Veronica’s Closet and in 2018 took part in UK Celebrity Big Brother. She finished as runner-up.

Kirstie Louise Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1951, and moved to Los Angeles in 1980, where she was an interior designer, Variety noted, was involved in the Church of Scientology, and sought treatment for a cocaine addiction through its affiliated Narconon program, which she credited with her sobriety.

Alley’s film career began in 1982 with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which she soon followed with Blind Date and the 1985 miniseries, North and South.

In 1987 she played alongside Mark Harmon in Carl Reiner’s hit comedy, Summer School, then, later that year replaced Shelley Long on ‘Cheers’.

Alley won an Emmy for the role in 1991. Her second Emmy was for the 1994 television movie David’s Mother in which she played the parent of a teenager with autism.

Alley’s career also included NBC’s ‘Veronica’s Closet’, Showtime comedy ‘Fat Actress’ and co-starring with Travolta in the three Look Who’s Talking movies.

Alley served as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig’s weight loss system, then parted ways and started her own company Organic Liaisons. She later returned to Jenny Craig, which acquired her company.

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