For years fans have touted the 57-year-old as one of the nicest actors, who has remained humble despite all the fame.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 29, 2022. It has since been updated.
If there’s anyone in Hollywood that deserves the love they get, it has to be Keanu Reeves. For years fans have touted the 57-year-old as one of the nicest actors, who has remained humble despite all the fame. Insider has even dedicated an article to the star that lists eleven reasons why he is the “greatest person ever.” It includes little heartfelt acts like frequently posing for pictures and signing autographs whenever people request it and being respectful to his fans. But it’s his random acts of kindness that make us fall head over heels for him. From giving up his seat on a crowded subway train to donating money to a children’s hospital secretly, he truly embodies the spirit of humanity. Maybe that’s why it breaks our hearts all the more to know about his past which is filled with tragedies.
Not many are aware that the man behind the tough character John Wick has spent most of his life coping with one heartbreak after another. First, he lost his best friend, then his girlfriend and fate didn’t even spare his baby daughter. The string of misfortunes began in 1993 when River Phoenix, a rising actor and the brother of Joaquin Phoenix, died of a drug overdose when he was just 23, according to PEOPLE. His sudden death greatly impacted Keanu who spent years trying to heal. Then in 1998, he happened to meet Jennifer Syme at a party and the two immediately hit it off. The actress of eight years younger than Reeves but it seemed like they were meant for each other.
After a year of dating, the loving couple became pregnant with their daughter, Ava, according to Fabiosa. Little did they know that their happiness was short-lived Syme gave birth to their stillborn baby daughter on Christmas eve in 1999. What was supposed to be a celebration of new life turned into a grieving period that the pair could not overcome together. Thus, Keanu and Syme broke up shortly after their late daughter’s funeral to heal individually. Even though their romantic relationship ended, the two shared a bond that could not be broken off easily and so they remained best friends. But in 2001, Keanu lost his best friend for the second time as Syme passed away in a tragic car crash.
“Grief changes shape, but it never ends,” the actor told Parade, per Daily Mail. “People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, ‘It’s gone, and I’m better.’ They’re wrong. When the people you love are gone, you’re alone. I miss being a part of their lives and them being part of mine. I wonder what the present would be like if they were here – what we might have done together. I miss all the great things that will never be. Damn it! It’s not fair! It’s absurd. All you can do is hope that grief will be transformed and, instead of feeling pain and confusion you will be together again in memory, that there will be solace and pleasure there, not just loss.”
It seems like Reeves has given a lot of thought to death, given the heartbreaking losses he’s had to suffer in his life. During an interview with The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, the star left the show’s host and everyone in the audience at a loss for words when Colbert asked, “What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?” To this, the actor profoundly responded, “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.” That line was enough to make a room full of people silently think about the heavyweight of his tragic past that Keanu carries around. But he hasn’t given up hope to find happiness and live a fulfilling life.
During the interview with Parade, he shared how the tragedies were a “turning point” of his life that made him cherish it even more. “I don’t want to flee from life. I know the beauty of it,” he expressed. When questioned whether the loss had changed him in some way, the Speed star said, “I’m trying not to be alone so much. And, man, it’s a struggle. I want to get married. I want to have kids. That’s at the top of the mountain. I’ve got to climb the mountain first. I’ll do it. Just give me some time.”