In 1999, the Wachowskis made Keanu Reeves synonymous to their sci-fi cult film series — The Matrix. Reeves immortalized the role of the iconic ‘Neo’ and his name was forever etched in the pages of Hollywood history as a powerhouse action performer.
While his films mostly had happy endings, Keanu’s own life was rife with tragedy and sadness. This is the story of a man who never gave up, brushed off the dirt, got up, and moved on with life.
A child of divorce, Keanu’s formative years were full of adversity after his father left when he was just 3-years-old. While they were in touch for a while, they gradually drifted apart, leaving Keanu without a father-figure in his life.
During his childhood, Keanu changed four schools, owing to him and his mother constantly being on the move. Not only was his education disrupted by them moving from city to city, Keanu also battled dyslexia as a child due to which education was always a challenge. Due to the lack of understanding of dyslexia at that time, Keanu was constantly bullied by his peers and could never really get along with his schoolmates.
Ultimately, when he was in high school he ended up dropping out without receiving his diploma as the education system had never been inclusive of someone with his condition.
While he was in the process of coping with life, Keanu suffered another setback at age 23. His best friends, River Phoenix passed away due to drug overdose and the incident left him devastated.
In a Reddit AMA Keanu told the world, “He was a remarkable human person and actor. We got along very well, and I miss him. I think of him often.”
In 1998, there was finally some sunshine in Keanu’s life when he met and fell in love with Jennifer Syme. The two were madly in love and were expecting a daughter. But they soon went through devastating heartbreak as their child turned out stillborn. Following this tragedy, the two gradually fell apart and went their separate ways.
18 months after, it seemed fate was not done testing young Keanu. Jennifer’s life was taken in a car crash and a grief-stricken Reeves tried hard to cope with the series of losses in his life.
“Grief changes shape, but it never ends.” — Keanu Reeves, Parade Magazine, 2006.
It is believed that the collective hardships in his life made him the intense actor that he is. He is also known for being charitable, often dedicating a large chunk of his pay to an underpaid film support staff and artists. Having accepted pay cuts to work with stalwarts like Al Pacino and Gene Hackman, Keanu is also famous for being quite the humble soul.
About his golden heart, Redditor Kahi once wrote, “A family friend builds movie sets, doesn’t design, is one of the poor dudes that just builds. Anyways he worked on the set for the Matrix and Keanu heard about family trouble he was having and gave him a $20,000 Christmas bonus to help him out. He also was one of the only people on the set that genuinely wanted to know people’s names, would say hello and mean it and would talk to people as if they were his peers and not below him just because they were practically making nothing to build a set. I’ve never heard anyone say Keanu is a douche, seems like the nicest person in Hollywood from a second-hand experience.”
Throughout his life, Keanu has struggled to achieve success. He is where he is because he never lost hope and rose above his misfortune. Still, a humble soul who gives back to society and believes in spreading positivity in the world, Keanu Reeves truly deserves every moment of his fame.