Jett's Ailments a Mystery to Friends

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2009 7:46 PM CST
In this image released by Rogers & Cowan public relations, actor John Travolta is shown with his son Jett in an undated family photo.   (AP Photo/Rogers & Cowan)
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(Newser) – Jett Travolta had a beaming smile and a boy's love of the water, but he was never heard speaking, and even the family's closest friends never knew what ailments he had, reports People. "I observed that he was significantly mentally handicapped," says actress Anne Archer. "John always communicated to him as if Jett could completely understand him. It was a kind of sweet exchange, where he was just happy with anything that Jett offered. Anything."

The 16-year-old needed round-the-clock supervision. While some speculated he had autism, his parents never discussed it, though they did speak of his battle with Kawasaki's disease as a toddler. In any event, he and his parents and sister Ella Bleu, 8, formed an exceptionally tight family. "Jett looked at John as if he was the sun and the moon," said family friend and attorney Michael McDermott. "And John reciprocated."