Keanu Reeves is one of the world’s biggest actors, having starred in countless blockbuster films like Speed, Point Break, The Matrix series, the Bill and Ted films, The Devil’s Advocate, Constantine, My Own Private Idaho and, more recently, the John Wick franchise.
He’s also become the subject of a world-famous meme, after a photographer captured him looking forlorn while eating a sandwich on a bench – which led the internet to drum up ‘Sad Keanu’ jokes left, right and centre.
However, behind all the fame, success and amusing memes, there’s a heartbreaking past to Reeves that not everyone knows about.
Born in 1964 in Beirut, Reeves isthe son of an English woman and a Hawaiian man of Chinese, English, Irish, Hawaiian and Portuguese descent.
His father abandoned him and his mother when Reeves was just a kid (later being arrested with large quantities of heroin and cocaine), and after that his childhood involved moving around a lot as he lived with various stepfathers.
According to an interview with Rolling Stone, he’d lived in Lebanon, Australia and America, settling in Toronto at the age of seven before later making the move to Hollywood in the mid 80s.
Following success with films including Bill and Ted and Point Break, Reeves’ next big movie was 1991’s My Own Private Idaho, in which he starred with River Phoenix – a young man that became his good friend, until Phoenix’s untimely death from a drug overdose.
Reeves told Rolling Stone: “I enjoyed his company. Very much. And enjoyed his mind and his spirit and his soul. We brought good out in each other. He was a real original thinker. He was not the status quo. In anything.”
The hard times didn’t stop coming, either. In 1999 Reeves and his girlfriend Jennifer Syme lost their daughter in the final stages of the pregnancy.
18 months after that, Syme was then killed in a car accident.
Understandably, Reeves remains fairly elusive, and is known for being polite – almost shy – in interviews.
“I think actors and actresses are maybe a little more private than other celebrities,” he told Esquire.
“I don’t know. I’m a pretty private person. But I don’t have anything to tweet, or say, or anything.”
Since the ‘Sad Keanu’ meme went viral, you’ll be happy to know that something a little more positive has come out of it, with the internet rallying with an outpour of love for the actor – from a Reddit thread detailing anecdotes of Reeves’ incredible generosity to the mobilisation of a global ‘Cheer Up Keanu Day’.
Featured Image Credit: PA