Keanu Reeves is one of the few celebrities that people have nothing bad to say about. Despite being in the spotlight for decades, he is known as being kind, compassionate, and generous with his money. He is humble, which makes fans love him even more.
He has also led a life that has been riddled with loss and obstacles, all followed closely by the public. From goofy teen star to action star, to serious philosopher, the many sides of Keanu make him incredibly interesting. He is candid about his thoughts on how William Shakespeare was a series of writers, not one person, and isn’t afraid to share his opinion on just about anything.
There is also an extremely private, although rarely-seen side of Keanu - most of his mandatory interviews are surrounding releases of upcoming films, so we don't learn a lot about his personal life. Today let’s unwrap the enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in another enigma that is Keanu Reeves. Here are 20 things Keanu Reeves would rather keep under the radar.
20 How Much Money He's Worth
Keanu Reeves is a down to earth actor who doesn’t lead the life of excess that other celebs do. Even though he is believed to be worth around $360 million, he certainly isn’t flaunting his worth with fancy jets, cars, vacations or taking on roles he doesn’t believe in.
Reeves even turned down the 11 million dollars offered to star in Speed 2, saying, “It was just a situation in life where I got the script and I read the script and I was like 'agggghhh.' It was about a cruise ship...and I was thinking, 'A bus, a cruise ship… Speed, bus, but then a cruise ship is even slower than a bus and I was like, ‘I love you guys but I just can’t do it."
19 That Time Sandra Bullock Broke His Heart
Sandra Bullock once joked that Keanu Reeves was never interested in her and implied that she had a crush on him. While he was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Keanu admitted that he felt the same way, saying, “She obviously didn't know that I had a crush on her, either” and added that he never said anything in order to be professional because they were working. So, I guess they and we all missed out on a chance to enjoy super couple Saneanu!
18 He Was Expelled From School
Just two years after being expelled from school Keanu moved to Hollywood and began his career as an actor. Even so, getting expelled from school never sat well with him. Keanu has said of his expulsion, “It’s a terrible letter to receive, saying you can’t come back to school next year. Getting asked to leave was very upsetting.”
17 He Rides Public Transit
Maybe filming Speed gave Reeves an appreciation for riding public transit. He is frequently seen riding the metro and is obviously aware of the rules of remaining a courteous rider. He was once filmed offering up his seat to a woman carrying a gym bag, just because he thought it looked heavy.
16 The Injury That Ended A Hockey Career
Keanu had dreams of playing for a national team but put that on ice when he obtained an injury that changed the trajectory of his career towards acting instead. When he spent a year at a private Catholic school where he was a goalie and even won MVP, a former teammate says, “I don’t recall how well we did that season, but I do remember thinking Keanu had a gift. I’d seen him play a handful of games at a competitive level and despite him not having much formal training, he stood out. He was a raw talent, acrobatic and unrefined, but he could steal wins.”
15 His Dad Abandoned Him
Keanu’s dad had recurring issues. He left the family when Keanu was very small and was arrested for selling illegal substances at an airport in 1992.
In 2002, Keanu opened up about his dad in an interview saying, “I spent my last vacation with him when I was 13 years old. On our last day, we sat on the veranda and stared at the dark sky. He hardly said anything that evening. The next day he brought us to the airport. Then we didn’t hear anything from him for 10 years. No calls, no letters, nothing.”
14 Losing A Best Friend At A Critical Time
When Keanu met River Phoenix through Martha Plimpton (a co-star and friend from the film Parenthood), they instantly connected. The two went on to star in the film My Own Private Idaho together and became even closer. Keanu quietly admitted to the loss of his friend - he was “definitely (one of) my closest friends from that era. We shared an artistic sensibility. River was just so down to earth, spiritual and a unique artist. Yeah, I miss him.”
13 Coping With Dyslexia
While both Keanu Reeves and his sister Kim are dyslexic, Keanu has said that it didn’t stop him from performing acceptably in school. Keanu serves as an inspiration for those with dyslexia and has been an avid reader since childhood.
When talking about what he'd read, Keanu said, “As a kid, we can start with the Count of Monte Christo... Lord of the Rings... we could go into some William Gibson, then we could do In Search of Lost Time by Proust...”
12 Grieving A Child He Never Knew
In 1999, Keanu was in love. About a year into his relationship his girlfriend Jennifer announced a pregnancy and were excited to start their family. Tragedy hit the couple on Christmas Eve, 1999, when their daughter Ava didn't make it through the pregnancy. Unable to deal with the grief from their loss, the couple broke up but remained close friends.
11 Coping With Love Lost
Just two years after the end of their romantic relationship Keanu suffered another loss when Jennifer Syme passed in a car accident following a party. Keanu has said in an interview with Parade Magazine, “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.”
10 How He's Really Able To Tackle Stunt Work
Even though Keanu keeps in excellent shape and likes to take on many of his own stunts, even he recognizes that things needed to be adjusted after he reached the big 50. In his work with John Wick, the star has said, “You take really cold ice baths. Every night." He also said of deciding which stunts he decides to take on, “You just become more efficient … in terms of what you learn, what you do, what you can't do, what you can do."
9 His 'Almost' Stage Name
Keanu is a Hawaiian name meaning, ‘cool breeze over the mountain’. When the star first arrived in Hollywood agents wanted him to change it. So, he came up with two alternatives: Chuck Spadina (likely a nod to his time in Toronto, Canada as it’s the name of a city street) and Templeton Page Taylor. His agents didn’t love those options, so they settled on his real name.
8 How He's Dealt With Grief & Loss
There are numerous memes floating around called ‘sad Keanu’, but not to make light of it, the star has had to deal with a lot over the years. Thankfully, he seems to have a healthy attitude.
Keanu told Parade Magazine, “Grief changes shape, but it never ends. 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." He added, “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."
7 He Feels He's Too Old For A Family
In an interview with Esquire Keanu admitted that he’s given up on the idea of starting a family. When asked he simply said, “It’s too late. It’s over…I’m 52. I’m not going to have any kids.” When the interview pressed, mentioning that Mick Jagger just fathered another child and he’s 76, Keanu simply said that Mick is ageless and moved on to another topic.
6 He Never Graduated From High School
Keanu moved around a lot as a teen and eventually dropped out of school altogether. When he lived in Toronto, he went to a local art school, Etobicoke School of the Arts, but he was ejected from the school. Keanu says, “It was a very small school and I guess I didn’t fit in. I had conflicts and run-ins with the staff. The principal and I didn’t see eye-to-eye. I was one of those ‘Why?’ kids — I asked too many questions about everything. I couldn’t stop even if it got me into trouble.”
5 Why He Won't Date
Despite being essentially the most eligible bachelor since George Clooney was single, it appears Keanu isn’t interested in a long-term relationship. Even when he is in a relationship Keanu likes to keep his romantic life very private. While many say because of the multiple losses he’ll never settle down, something he said at a 2019 news conference gave swooning women everywhere a glimmer of hope. When asked about his thoughts on love he said, “You know, I’m the lonely guy. I don’t have anyone in my life. But if it does occur, I would respect and love the other person; hopefully it will happen for me.”
4 What Happened To His Sister
Keanu Reeves remains close to his sister, who has battled cancer for over a decade. In response to this, he has been a huge supporter of charities including Canada’s SickKids Foundation, and Stand up to Cancer. When asked about spending a lot of money on charity, Reeves has said, "Money is the last thing [he] think[s] about. [He] could live on what [he has] already made for the next few centuries."
3 His Dirty Secret
Keanu Reeves picked up the habit of smoking as an adult when he smoked for a role in the 1996 film Feeling Minnesota. After that, he was hooked. Reeves is not a fan of this dirty habit and has described it as “a prison”, stating that he’d be happy to quit but hasn’t been able to yet. Photos as recently as earlier this year show that Keanu still hasn’t managed to put out that habit.
2 His Repeated Razzie Nominations
Despite being a popular actor, Keanu has had his share of flops, some of them so epic they earned him six nominations for Razzie awards. The Razzie Award of ‘the golden raspberry’ is awarded to ‘the worst’ actor from the previous year. Keanu has been nominated for this ‘honour’ six times for his roles in Johnny Mnemonic , A Walk in the Clouds, Chain Reaction, Hardball, Conor O'Neill, and Sweet November.
1 His Secret Foundation
Keanu delayed the filming of The Matrix sequels in order to spend more time with his sister, Kim, when things were looking grim for her in her battle with leukemia. Thankfully she’s now in remission. In 2009, to celebrate his sister he started his own foundation, he said, “I have a private foundation that’s been running for five or six years, and it helps aid a couple of children’s hospitals and cancer research. I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.”
Sources: Parade Magazine, Esquire, Lessons Learned In Life, Today, Insider, Indy 100, New Ravel, The Richest, Showbiz Cheat Sheet