Canvas Cultures
Canvas Cultures

It’s a cliché that money doesn’t buy you happiness. But it does buy you the freedom to live your life the way you want.

Danny Goncalves -

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves achieved superstardom as an actor in the ’80s and ’90s via iconic movie roles such as Ted in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) and Neo in the science fiction classic The Matrix (1999), but, like many people irrespective of wealth and status, endured profound hardships along the way.

In 1999, Keanu Reeves became most famous for his role in the groundbreaking science fiction film, The Matrix.

It earned an impressive $463.5 million at the box office and was nominated for and won four Academy Awards. The Matrix is a happy story in a lot of ways, but the life of its star wasn't always.

Now 50 years old, Keanu's life has been full of more tragedy than you would expect from a movie star. Despite each setback, he's kept pushing forward. It's helped develop himself into the awesome person that he is on and off the screen.

At age 3, his father left, he attended 4 different high schools and struggled with dyslexia, making education very difficult.  As a funny and uplifting side note, his babysitter from the age of 4-5 was Alice Cooper.  Not urban legend, but very true.  At age 23, his best friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose.I n 1999, the love of his life, Jennifer Syme, was pregnant with their daughter.  In January 2000 Reeves and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, 29, buried their child, a girl named Ava, who had been stillborn at 8 months. The grief proved too much for their relationship, which ended several weeks later.

18 months later, Jennifer was killed in a car accident.

Reeves was quoted during this time in saying “Grief changes shape, but it never ends." It's a lesson that we'll all likely learn.  Even with those immense tragedies, Reeves would push on.

He's starred in a variety of blockbusters and has become a wealthy man, but the pain of his losses has changed how he thinks about money. He's well known in Hollywood for being among the more charitable actors.  Reeves has been quoted in saying that he likes to keep it simple and that money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries.

After the successes of The Matrix and its sequels, Reeves gave $80 million of his $114 million earnings to the special effects and makeup staff of the films.  He also took pay cuts on the films The Replacements and The Devil's Advocates so stars like Gene Hackman and Al Pacino would agree to be in the film while keeping casting within the designated budget.

Reeves is the kind of celebrity you wouldn’t know would be worth $350 million.  He doesn’t own a big house like other stars, and he doesn’t wear fancy clothes, and his oftentimes spotted riding the subways like a “normal guy”.  However, he does enjoy his money, just not in a ridiculously extravagant way, aside from riding the subways he can be seen driving his Porsche or one of his classic motorcycles. He’s been photographed on many occasions getting in and out of limos.

In the end, Keanu Reeves has shown that even in the face of tragedy, a good person can thrive.