5 Life and Difficulties
It could be mentioned that Reeves' upbringing was not a walk in the park. Reeves’s father was arrested for selling heroin when he was 12, his mother was a showgirl, subsequently marrying several times, and creating a family of stepsisters and an uncertain life for the young Reeves. Beyond that, his sister Kim has been battling leukemia for over 10 years, according to the UK Dailymail, his daughter was stillborn in 2000 and his partner, mother to the stillborn child, died in a tragic car accident in 2001. This is reality for Reeves and we could all agree that these issues would knock most people down. Although, it seems this life has not only spurned his drive toward movie star greatness, but has provided him with an outlook that is humble and generous. Helping others and spreading his wealth seems to be much more important than lining his own pockets. His ability to overcome these difficulties and become a huge success has been a blessing for all he touches.
The easiest difference to notice with Keanu’s being, is his choice of lifestyle. Hollywood stars usually tend to move into lavish houses as soon as they make it big, this isn't the case for Reeves. He did finally buy a place in the Hollywood hills in 2003, but that was only after having lived in rented houses and hotels for his entire career. Long seen as the richest man without a home, when he did finally buy a place, it was rather modest for a man worth $350 million. Besides this house, he also has secondary apartments. Not the lavish penthouse style, 3 story homes, but regular flats without too many frills. Most stars have several mansions, in all corners if the world, but Reeves just keeps flats in New York and his hometown of Toronto, simple needs met with simple dwellings..
Although he loves motorcycles and owns a few, he often takes public transportation to get places. There are countless images of Reeves sitting among the commuters, reading the newspaper on the subway. He simply does not seem to give into the excess that his money could provide. Or course, this is all relative, as he does have much more than average people but on the whole, when compared to the other actors who have had success of his magnitude, he is rather erased. Never controversial, rarely seen in the tabloids, he has led a quiet celebrity life, which is actually a shame because his life should be celebrated as possibly one of the most generous actors in Hollywood today.
2 Generosity and views on Money
In 2003 Reeves was quoted in Hello! magazine with saying: “Money is the last thing I think about..” This may sound like a marketing ploy. A quote used to endear the audience to the actor. Nothing can further be sourced from the truth for Reeves, he is one of those rare individuals who practices what he preaches. When cast in The Devil’s Advocate, Reeves took a several million dollar pay cut in order to get Al Pacino on board, he did the same for The Replacements where he took a 90% pay cut in order to get Gene Hackman on the cast. Additionally, he even refused an $11 million pay day for filming the sequel to Speed, and an opportunity to be in the film Heat with De Niro and Pacino, in order to play Hamlet. This was not for a world re-known theatre company, in which he was performing the play in a major city or in front of large audiences, but at the modest Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, Canada. These were personal refusals of money, but he has done more than just refuse money, he has shared the wealth with those who are often forgotten in the movie process. The most telling tale of this thoughtful use of movie salary money was taking close to $75 million of his well negotiated ticket sales based salary, for The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions and gave it to the special effects and costume design teams. Citing that they were the true heroes of the movie franchise. This equated to over $1 million dollars per person, instantly making them all millionaires. He also gave every member of the stunt crew Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Having your name attached to charities is a big deal in Hollywood. This is a perfect way to support a cause, while raising your profile. Reeves has spent millions of dollars supporting various causes which he supports. Whether it be PETA, SickKids Foundation, Stand up To Cancer or the numerous other charities he supports, the money is there and he does not look to get any attention or publicity through it. He has spent over $5 million dollars to help his sister in her fight against leukemia. It is also said by the Examiner that Reeves has a private cancer foundation to help a few children’s hospitals and cancer research, but he does not attach his name to it, preferring to provide funding and not take any credit for the work it does. Giving money to others is a part of his beliefs and way of life.
If there was any doubt about Reeves' true sincerity on his charitable lifestyle, you can look to his actions with a homeless man, with whom he spent half a day sitting with in his squat, sharing food and just talking to him. There was no starstruck reverence, no condescension on Reeves part, just two humans talking about anything and everything, sitting on a sidewalk in LA.
Whether it be giving away his money, riding the subway, supporting charities or spending time with regular people. Keanu Reeves is arguably more interesting than any of the characters he has portrayed through roles.