He hasn’t set foot aboard a plane in more than a decade, but Blink-182’s Travis Barker has once again taken to the skies – and it’s all thanks to his girlfriend, Kourtney Kardashian.
The drummer, who survived a deadly plane crash 13 years ago, overcame his fear of flying when he recently jetted off to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with the reality TV star; her mother, Kris Jenner; and Kris’ boyfriend, Corey Gamble.
Travis celebrated the momentous occasion on Instagram, sharing a photo with Kourtney (42) in front of her sister’s Kylie Jenner's private jet. “With you anything is possible," the 45-year-old rocker gushed.
“Anything and everything with you," Kourtney responded.
Travis hasn’t travelled by air since his business jet crashed in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2008. He says the crash, which killed four people, led to him suffering severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Travis, accompanied by his bodyguard and an assistant, along with his long-time collaborator, DJ AM (Adam Michael Goldstein), boarded a private plane after performing together at an event that night.
"We all thought it was kind of a treat – we were on a private plane,” he recalls.
But just before midnight, as the plane was taking off, they heard a loud bang. The pilots aborted take-off, and the plane crashed into an embankment, bursting into flames on a nearby highway.
Before the plane exploded, Travis and DJ AM escaped through the plane’s emergency exit door.
“I was in such a hurry to exit the plane I jumped right into the jet, which is full of fuel," he says. “My whole body lit up. I had jet fuel on my whole body.”
Travis ran for his life when he jumped out of the plane, ripping off his clothes along the way “but little did I know I was still on fire because I was soaked in jet fuel”, he says.
He was eventually helped by DJ AM who put the flames out with the shirt off his own back. The pair were the sole survivors – the rocker’s security guard, Charles "Che" Still; his assistant, Chris Baker; pilot Sarah Lemmon; and co-pilot James Bland were all killed when the plane went up in flames.
Travis, who’d already had a lifelong fear of flying, suffered third-degree burns on 65% of his body. He spent three months in hospital, where he underwent 26 surgeries and multiple skin grafts.
"When I was in the hospital, I didn’t even know my two friends had passed away. I didn’t know the pilots had passed away. I didn’t remember anything,” he says.
Up until two weeks before he was discharged, a heavily sedated Travis thought the pilots and his friends were being treated at the hospital.
He fell into a deep depression after the crash and tried to pay his friends to take his life.
"They had to take my phone out of my room because I was making these phone calls," he shares.
"I’d call friends of mine and go, 'You know, I’ll deposit a million dollars into whoever’s bank account. I’m done’.”
He suffered a further setback when, almost a year after the accident, DJ AM died from a drug overdose at the age of 36. It was a bittersweet moment for Travis, who used his friend’s passing as a turning point.
He got to work on his recovery but the road to healing hasn’t been easy. He spent months learning to walk and play the drums again but despite the huge strides he made physically, the psychological scars remained.
In the years since the crash, Travis has only played Blink-182 shows when he could travel to the venue by car or boat. Things got so bad that he was replaced by another drummer when the band played at Australia's Soundwave Festival in 2013.
"If I saw a plane [in the sky], I was determined it was going to crash,” he says.
Travis, who has two children with ex-wife Shanna Moakler, earlier this year revealed he wanted to overcome his fear of flying for the sake of his kids, Landon (17) and Alabama (15).
“If I do it, and the angels above help me in my travels and keep me safe, I would like to come back and tell them, ‘Hey, I just flew here, and then I flew home. And everything was fine’.”
Now he hopes to start flying more regularly. Sources close to the couple say it was Kourtney who gave Travis his wings back.
"Kourtney has been incredibly loving and supportive,” an insider says. “It’s through her love, help and confidence in him that he was able to finally do this.”
SOURCES: INSIDER.COM, MENSHEALTH.COM, MAMMAMIA.COM.AU, ETONLINE.COM, EONLINE.COM, TMZ.COM, NME.COM