Keanu Reeves. The man, the myth, the legend. Keanu is a divisive actor - there are entire Twitter threads and subreddits dedicated to documenting daily Keanu activities, but there's also a large group of people who believe he's not worth all the hype or the fame.
With a net worth of $350 million, he's been in television and film since the early 80s and he doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. His Twitter has been inactive for years, his Instagram is non-existent, and he doesn't reveal much about his life ever, but here's what we've managed to collect.
He Gets High On... Ballroom Dancing?
Yes, that’s right. Keanu Reeves, John Wick, Neo from The Matrix, the man who has his own motorcycle shop (more to come on that), loves ballroom dancing. Reeves was on The Graham Norton Show in May of 2019 when Norton asked him about it, and Reeves said he took the classes because “it sounded like fun!”
When talking about the classes, Reeves described it as ‘amazing, thrilling… it was pretty special,” and that he got a high from doing the waltz for the first time.
He Saw A Ghost Once
Back in October 2014 on Jimmy Kimmel, Keanu Reeves told the story of the time he believes he saw a ghost. He was six or seven and had just moved from Australia to New York with his mom, siblings, and family nanny, Renata.
While sitting in his room a floating jacket appeared in the doorway, with no head or body supporting it. He turned to look at Renata who reportedly stood there in shock and he thought to himself ‘well it must be real then.’ Kimmel responded in laughter saying, “that’s a reason to move [apartments] to me!”
Immortality Or Anti-Aging Cream?
Much like Paul Rudd, if you look at pictures of Keanu Reeves in the 90s there seems to be no signs of aging between then and now. There’s a theory online that Keanu Reeves is actually immortal, dating all the way back to 748. The theory is Reeves started as the former King of the Franks, Charlemagne, then became actor Paul Mounet from 1847-1922 before claiming his current form.
There’s definitely a physical resemblance between the three men, and Keanu has been quoted talking about how he could live on his current earnings for the next few centuries, which seems a little suspicious.
He Chose Winnipeg Over De Niro and Pacino
To be or not to be, that’s the question, right? Well, in this case, Reeves chose not to be after reportedly turning down the opportunity to be in the 1995 Al Pacino and Robert Deniro movie Heat. He would’ve played the role that was portrayed by Val Kilmer.
Instead, he chose to move to Winnipeg to star in the role of Prince Hamlet at the Manitoba Theatre Centre’s production of Hamlet. Reeves performed to sold-out crowds every night, with fans coming from across the country and around the world to see the performances.
He's Lived On Multiple Continents
Reeves was born in Beirut in 1964 (again: what’s his secret?) to an English mom and American-Chinese-Hawaiin father. After his parents divorced when he was 2, Keanu was moved to Sydney, Australia for 3-4 years before moving to New York City. After staying in NYC for a few years, his mom moved them to Toronto in 1970 or ‘71.
He stayed in Toronto with his family until he chose to move to LA permanently when he was 17. He remains a Canadian citizen and identifies as Canadian, but also holds a U.S. Green Card.
He Never Obtained A High School Diploma
Reeves has said in multiple interviews that he wasn’t an academically-focused teenager. He was much more interested in sports than education which led to him being a troublemaker in class. While living in Toronto he attended four different high schools in five years, including the Etobicoke School of the Arts - which he was expelled from.
The end of his academic career came at 17 when he dropped out of high school to pursue his acting career. He moved to LA at this time to live with a former step-father and he never obtained a high school diploma.
Not All Of His Teeth Are Real
In a 2008 interview, Keanu Reeves talked about how he wouldn't wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, which led to a fair number of injuries. He's been in a few accidents, which have caused a ruptured spleen, a broken ankle, and the loss of some of his teeth!
"Once, a car pulled a U-turn in front of me, didn't see me coming and I couldn’t get out of the way. That one’s responsible for my fake teeth," Reeves said in the interview.
He Was On The Same TV Show As Drake
Degrassi is basically the Canadian version of Law & Order SVU. It feels like every famous Canadian actor has been on at least one episode of Degrassi, including Drake and Keanu Reeves.
Reeves played a supporting role with one-episode arch on the show’s season one summer event, which aired in 2013. The show is still on the air, and premiered in October of 2001. Other famous actors who have been on Degrassi include Nina Dobrev, Shay Mitchell, Stephen Amell, and - most famously - Drake.
He Bought An Icecream Cone Just For The Receipt
Just to further prove what we already knew, a story recently surfaced attesting to the goodness of Keanu Reeves. Writer James Dator told a story on Twitter about how he met Reeves when he was 16 and got his autograph in an unconventional way.
Dator unsuccessfully tried to get Reeves’ autograph when he showed up to the box office he worked at. After he sold Reeves the ticket, he heard a knock on the box office door. It was Keanu Reeves handing him a receipt from the concession stand, with his autograph on it. Dator then watched Keanu throw a brand new ice cream cone into the garbage. Turns out Reeves had bought the cone just so he could scribble an autograph for the boy.
He Might Be Married To Winona Ryder
Usually, you would know if you’re married to someone or not, right? Well turns out Keanu Reeves and Stranger Things star Winona Ryder could be legally married. The two co-starred in the 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula where they filmed a wedding scene that might have been legitimate.
According to director Francis Ford Coppola, the priest in the scene performed a full ceremony, meaning Keanu and Winona are legally married. Normally a wedding scene in a movie doesn’t have any legal effect on the actors, but since Coppola decided to film the scene with a real priest in a real church in LA, it could be argued that the two are actually married.
There Were Rumors That He Is A Lonely Guy
In a recent interview, Keanu Reeves supposedly admitted that he was "a lonely guy." He reportedly stated, "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’ll happen for me." However, just a week after the supposed interview, it was revealed that the interview wasn't real.
A rep for Reeves explained that "This interview did not happen [...] This was pieced together from several interviews and the majority of these questions were not asked nor answered. They are fabricated." Maybe Reeves isn't that lonely after all.
He's A Secret Philanthropist
Keanu Reeves runs a private foundation that contributes funds to children’s hospitals and cancer research organizations. One of his sisters was diagnosed in the 90s with a form of leukemia, which is the inspiration behind the charity. The secret part of it though is that he doesn’t publicly take credit for the foundation.
In a 2009 interview, 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.”
He's A Published Author
After a photo of Keanu sitting on a bench eating a sandwich went viral as the ‘Sad Keanu’ meme, Reeves started to write a poem titled ‘Ode to Happiness’ which was meant to be poking fun at himself. The poem featured lines like "I wash my hair with regret shampoo" and “I draw a hot sorrow bath.”
His friend Janey Bergman thought it would be funny to turn the poem into a children’s-style book to give back to Reeves as a gift. Bergman worked with illustrator Alexandra Grant for six months to create the grown-up picture book. A limited 4000 copies were printed by German publisher Gerhard Steidl.
He Considered Changing His Name
When he first came to Los Angeles in the 1980s, casting agents suggested that he change his name because it was considered hard to pronounce and too exotic. Keanu's name is Hawaiian and means "cool breeze over the mountains."
Some of the options he started using were "Chuck Spadina" and "Page Templeton III" when applying for roles, but ultimately he stuck with Keanu because he found himself using his real name once he got to the auditions anyway.
The Early Roles Of Keanu
Long before he gave us The Matrix or John Wick or even Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, a young Keanu was performing off the screen and on stage. His first professional acting role was a production of Damn Yankees he starred in when he was 9. Following that, at 15 he played the role of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet at the Leah Posluns Theatre in Toronto.
His first on-screen role came in 1984 on the Canadian TV show Hangin’ In, and throughout the 80s he was in a handful of commercials.
He Puts The Sucess Of The Film Above Salary
On multiple occasions, Keanu has been known to insist on forfeiting parts of his salary in order for the film to hire other actors. Exhibit A: When filming The Devil’s Advocate, Reeves took a pay cut of a few million dollars so the producers could bring on Al Pacino as well.
Exhibit B: When filming The Replacements in 2000, Keanu took a 90 percent pay cut from his salary in order for Gene Hackman to come onboard the project. Above all, Keanu just cares about making the best films he can.
Before Acting There Was Ice Hockey
Reeves is the first to admit that he wasn’t academically inclined when he was in high school, perhaps proven by the fact that he went to four high schools in five years. One thing he did love though, was hockey. He was given the nickname ‘the wall’ for his skills as an ice hockey goalie.
He dreamed of playing in the NHL but after an injury in high school, he had to give that dream up and instead focused on acting. However, it’s rumored that when he moved to LA he joined a road hockey league which he continued to play with long after he became famous.
He Voluntary Takes Public Transportation
Keanu is a man of the people. Yes, he does own a Porsche and multiple motorcycles, but the man also takes public transportation by choice. He has been spotted on the subway multiple times, including a video that went viral a few years ago where he gave up his seat to a woman with a heavy bag.
Another example is back in March when his plane was stranded due to mechanical issues, he chose to take a bus with all the other passengers rather than request private transportation. One passenger documented the whole saga on their Instagram story.
He's A Business Owner
Beyond everything else he does, Keanu Reeves owns two business: a production company and a motorcycle shop. Reeves co-founded the production company 'Company Films' which helped produce the 2010 film Henry's Crime, that Reeves also stars in.
His second business is a bit of a 180 from a production company: he co-founded the Arch Motorcycle Company in 2011. Arch is a motorcycle manufacturer that builds and sells custom motorcycles out of their only location in Hawthorne, California.
He Cares About The Crew
Keanu Reeves loves to give away money but refuses to take public credit for it. After the success of The Matrix, when signing his contract for the second and third films, he insisted on giving a large portion of his salary to the special effects and costume teams.
In total, Reeves earned approximately $256 million from The Matrix trilogy, and it’s estimated he gave nearly $75 million of that away to the crew because he believed they were the unsung heroes and deserved it as much as he did. Additionally, for Christmas one year he gave a crew member a $20,000 bonus to help their family during hard times.
He Likes To Do His Own Stunts
If they allow it, Keanu is always willing to do his own stunts! In his latest movie John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, 90% of the stunts are performed by him, especially if they involve motorcycles. At 54, he admits that it’s definitely harder on his body, saying “it’s more about recovery, but with experience, though, you become more efficient and hopefully you get better at what you’re doing.”
Interestingly, the director of the John Wick trilogy, Chad Stahelski, actually got his start as Keanu Reeves’ stunt double for The Matrix. He served as a stunt coordinator for the films later on.
He's Had Numerous Stepfathers
Reeves never lived with his biological father, but he has had several stepfathers throughout his life. His mother was constantly remarrying, only to get divorced again. This meant that Keanu had no shortage of male figures in his life, especially during his formative years.
Although he may not have had the most stable home life, it's clear that he wasn't negatively affected by having different men in his life. If anything, he most likely learned a lot about himself in the process.
He Worked In A Restaurant
Even though Keanu Reeves is one of the biggest actors in the world at the moment, he didn't start at the top. Even as a young man, Reeves was dedicated and worked hard in order to make his way in the world.
When he was a teenager living in Toronto, he worked in an Italian restaurant. He was clearly a valued employee since he worked his way up to the position of manager. Even from a young age, he understood the value of hard work.
His First Serious Part Was Rob Lowe
In 1986, when Keanu Reeves was still a young actor, he appeared with Rob Lowe in the hockey film Youngblood. Filmed in Canada, it was Reeves' first serious role and had a significant impact on his career.
The film gave him the confidence to make the move to Hollywood in hopes of starting a legitimate acting career. He left Canada in a 1969 Volvo and had a few small roles before being cast for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. The rest is history.
He's A Man Of Many Talents
On top of his acting and love for motorcycles, Reeves is also a skilled musician. Back in 1991, he became a member of the grunge band Dogstar in which he played bass guitar and performed at numerous large shows.
Some of his most notable shows include opening for Bon Jovi in Australia in 1995 and playing at the Glastonbury music festival. Although the group disbanded years ago, that didn't mean that Reeves stopped playing music. He notes that it's still a very important part of his life.
He Had A Stalker Encounter
It's clear that Keanu Reeves has plenty of fans out there, many who could even be described as obsessed. Reeves is no stranger to these fans trying to get an opportunity to talk to him or even see him in person. However, in 2014, one fan took things too far. On September 12, 2014, while in a deep sleep, Reeves was woken by a sound in his house.
As he investigated, he found a woman in his library who claimed she just wanted to meet him. Reeves remained calm and called the police as he spoke with the intruder.
Another Stalker Within A Week
Just three days after the incident with the woman in his library, Reeves had a run-in with another crazed fan. A second woman managed to get through an unlocked gate and successfully make it into Reeves' home.
She proceeded to take a shower in Keanu's personal bathroom and then went for a swim in the pool -- entirely nude. Although he wasn't home when this occurred, he was notified when the police were called to his house. The woman was arrested for trespassing.
Reeves Experienced Two Tragedies Back-To-Back
In 1999, Keanu Reeves girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth eight months into her pregnancy and the child was stillborn. The tragedy put a strain on the couple's relationship and resulted in them breaking up just weeks later.
Then, on April 2, 2001, Syme was driving in Los Angeles when she sideswiped three parked cars, rolled her own car, and was thrown from the car. It was believed that she died instantly and had been taking two different prescription drugs for depression at the time.
Filming A Movie May Have Got Him Hooked On Cigarettes
If you've been on the Internet in recent years, you'll know that there's no shortage of pictures featuring Keanu Reeves smoking cigarettes. However, Reeves was not always an avid smoker and may have picked up the habit when filming for a movie.
While starring in Feeling Minnesota, he was required to smoke cigarettes because his character did. Eventually, he became addicted to nicotine and although he may be trying to quit, hasn't successfully accomplished that goal yet.
He's A Big Fan Of Shakespeare
Playing the slacker Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure almost led to Reeves being typecast as a goofy actor. However, all of that changed after he was cast as Don John in the 1993 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. As it turns out, this wasn't Reeves first experience with Shakespeare.
He performed in the production of Romeo & Juliet in Canada, and after Much Ado About Nothing, went on to star in Hamlet at the Manitoba Theater Center. He wanted to be in Hamlet so bad that he even turned down two major film roles for the part.
His First Acting Role Was A Coca-Cola Commercial
A lot of actors get their start in commercials before slowly working their way up to becoming movie stars. This is no different for Keanu Reeves. His first acting gig was in a Coca-Cola commercial.
He plays a cyclist in a race, and after losing the race is comforted by his coach who hands him a bottle of the soda which Reeves thankfully accepts. When another cyclist asks who his coach is he replies, "my dad," and that's the end of the commercial.
He Enjoys Hanging Out With The Homeless
Keanu Reeves isn't particularly fond of giving interviews unless he has to, but the paparazzi have certainly captured some interesting situations Reeves has put himself in. One of these was when he was spotted enjoying the company of a homeless man.
He was seen sharing snacks, drinks, and laying on the ground with the man, listening to the man tell him stories. Although this isn't anything particularly special, it's just another thing that establishes Reeves as one of the more unique and down to earth celebrities out there.
He's A Spiritual Person
There's no denying that Keanu Reeves is a complex individual. For instance, although he doesn't belong to a particular religion he doesn't consider himself to be an atheist. He's expressed interest in various philosophies such as Buddhism but is mostly just spiritual in his own right.
When asked if he was spiritual, he responded by saying, "I don't know? I don't know the spiritual Richter-scale measurement! That's a weird answer, isn't it? I don't know. Do I believe in God, faith, inner faith, the self, passion, and things? Yes, of course! I'm very spiritual ... Supremely spiritual ... Bountifully spiritual ... Supremely bountiful."
He's An Avid Reader
While Reeves may not have the most stellar educational history, that wasn't due to a lack of intelligence. Keanu Reeves is a huge reader and likes to be challenged by the novels he chooses to read.
Some of his favorite books include The Count of Monte Christo, The Lord of the Rings, The Idiot Notes from Underground, In Search of Lost Time, and numerous others. Not only does he read for enjoyment but also to complete books that may seem daunting to others.
He Knows Martial Arts
Although he's far from a martial arts master, chances are that he knows more than the majority of the population. Because he likes to perform most of his own stunts, that means he needs to educate himself about the stunts and actions he's doing.
When preparing for the Matrix series, Keanu studied over 200 different types of martial arts in preparation for the role. On top of that, he also received actual martial arts training in order to play Neo.
He Was best Friends With River Phoenix
Reeves and actor River Phoenix were good friends in the film industry as upcoming stars. The two really started to bond when they were both in the film My Own Private Idaho in 1993. Unfortunately, that same year, Phoenix died of a drug-related heart problem outside of a nightclub.
On Phoenix's death, Reeves has commented, "River was a remarkable artist and a rare human being. I miss him every day." He also didn't blame Hollywood for the actor's death and admitted that Phoenix had underlying problems of his own.
He Wasn't Afraid To Experiment
Even though Reeves lost his best friend to drugs at a young age, that didn't stop him from experimenting himself. While he has never gone into detail, he has opened up on the subject.
"I've had wonderful experiences," he said. "I mean really wonderful. In teaching. Personal epiphanies. About life. About a different perspective — help with different perspectives that you have. You know what I mean? Relationships to nature. Relationships with the self. With other people. With events.” It appears the substances he was taking were more psychedelic in nature.
He's A Fan Of The Olympics
Although Reeves would rather spend his time reading, building motorcycles, or riding the subway rather than watching TV, the Olympics are an exception. Only happening once every four years, the event has a special place in his heart.
He commented: "You know, I don't have a favorite TV show, but I do know that I love watching The Olympics. Whenever the Olympics are on, I just love watching them, the moments that you get these incredible athletes dedicating so much of their lives to the moments that happen in the Olympics, and it is great to be able to witness that."
There's An Upcoming Bill & Ted Movie
For years, Keanu Reeves has toyed around with the idea of making another Bill & Ted film along with Alex Winter. Well, it looks like we'll be seeing another one in the near future since the script has already been written.
Reeves discussed the film, stating, "I have spoken about it to Alex (Winter), who is a good friend of mine, and we came up with this idea of the characters in their forties [...] Now that I am already in my mid-forties, we might have to wait until we are in our fifties to do it."
He Learned To Surf From Point Break
While filming the action/surf film Point Break, director Kathryn Bigelow ensured that several real surfers were cast to ensure that the movie looked as realistic as possible. The other members of the cast were urged to learn how to surf as well, including Keanu.
He enjoyed it so much that he started surfing regularly and continues to surf today. This isn't surprising considering that Reeves prefers to do most of the stunts his characters perform himself.