The actor and his wife Kelly Preston talk about giving in to their children


John Travolta has played some tough guys in his career, but when it comes to his children, he’s a bit of a pushover.

“Daddy says yes to everything,” his wife Kelly Preston told PEOPLE during Tony Bennett‘s 90th birthday party at N.Y.C.’s Rainbow Room.

“You have to!” Travolta, 62, responds. He says he’s “worse with Ben,” the couple’s 5½-year-old son, than he is with 16-year-old daughter Ella Bleu.

“He is that dad,” Preston, 53, adds with a laugh.

John Travolta Kelly Preston Tony Bennett Birthday

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And their children have learned to go to Dad when Mom says no.

“They come to me first,” Preston says. “[Ben] comes to me and says, ‘Can I have ice cream?’ at midnight and I say, ‘No, no, you have to go to bed’ — and, mind you, it’s midnight and he’s 5.

“And Dad’s like, ‘Sure! Do you want hot fudge on that?’ ”

And Travolta doesn’t deny it. “He says, ‘I want to stay up all night,’ and I say okay because I know by 2 a.m. he’ll be asleep,” the actor clarifies, smiling.

But Mom is still stuck with the hardest part. “Then the meltdown happens and I have to carry him off when he’s saying, ‘I’m too tired, Mama,’ ” she says, and they both laugh.

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One thing they both said yes to was when Ella decided not to act in the movie they are currently filming together, The Life and Death of John Gotti, based on the story of crime boss John Gotti. Preston plays his wife in the film, and Ella was set to play their daughter but changed her mind.

“She decided not to, she’s gonna wait to do something different,” Travolta said of his daughter deciding not to work on the film.

“She’s so smart, she’s so confident. She will do it when she feels it’s the right time,” the American Crime Story actor explains. “She did Old Dogs with us and she was great, but now she wants to come back the way she wants to come back.”

When asked if the couple are happy their daughter decided to follow in their footsteps with a career in acting, Travolta proudly replies, “Oh yeah!”

Maggie Parker