John Travolta's poignant return to the public eye at D23

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Real emotion overwhelmed the hype and business at the D23 Expo today in Anaheim, Calif., when Face/Off and Phenomenon star John Travolta—who lost his beloved son, Jett, earlier this year—made his first public appearance since then.

Travolta appeared to a standing ovation in the company of his wife, Kelly Preston, and daughter Ella Blue, to promote the Disney film Old Dogs, in which the entire family stars.

"I appreciate the audience's love for me," Travolta told the cheering crowd. "I hope they love Old Dogs as much as we do, because it's got my baby in it, [Ella Blue], and my other baby, [Preston]."

The family presented a solid unit, holding together in public. When an audience member shouted "We love you" from the crowd, Travolta mouthed back the words, "Love you too."

Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook jokingly offered Ella Blue a 25-picture deal based on her debut performance in Old Dogs. She agreed, saying, "Yes, it was so much fun [working on Old Dogs]."

Old Dogs stars Preston as the long-lost lover of Robin Williams' character, who brings two children to his attention. Travolta plays Williams' ladies'-man best friend. "It was a little tricky," Preston said. "Robin is wild and hilarious. It was a dream come true, because it's Ella's first movie, and I got to work with John."

Old Dogs opens Nov. 25.