Keanu's gay lifestyle
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Keanu Reeves has always been one of Hollywood's least conventional heartthrobs, but his behaviour recently has the rumour mill revved up like never before.
For years the star of movie block buster Speed has been a gay icon around the world with his androgenous, pouting looks.
And now he is reportedly living a gay lifestyle, flaunting a wild public friendship with gay Hollywood billionaire, record mogul David Geffen.
Although Keanu's name has been linked with actors Lori Petty, Sofia Coppola and singer Paula Abdul, he has never been seen squiring any beautiful young actors or models around nightclubs, unlike other young brat-packers Johnny Depp, Christian Slater and Brad Pitt.
Recently Keanu and Geffen have been painting the town red at parties and going on wild shopping sprees. On one mammoth trip Geffen, 51, splashed out $11,500 on clothes for Keanu in Barneys, in Beverly Hills, and they were seen "giggling like schoolboys and teasing each other" as they tried on mounds of $500 shirts.
Wheeler-dealer Geffen also came to the rescue when Keanu's home in LA was damaged in this January's earthquake by inviting him to move in to his Malibu mansion. Ironically, Geffen only decided to live as a gay man after being dumped by his lover, Cher, in 1975.
Keanu has not commented on the gay accusations, but he has not avoided playing them up, either. In My Own Private Idaho, sources say the late River Phoenix developed a crush on Keanu, who played a junkie rent-boy. There was also the early theatre production Wolfboy, in which Keanu starred, where he kissed and caressed another man - the publicity stills from the production became gay collectors' items around the world.
But the attention his rumoured gay lifestyle is getting is the least of Keanu's worries. In June, when his father Sam was jailed in his native Hawaii for 10 years for supplying cocaine and heroin, Keanu refused to help him and swore never to talk to the 52-year-old drifter again. Chinese-Hawaiian Sam has not seen his son for 17 years, following a bitter divorce from Keanu's English mother, Patricia.
His Speed co-star Sandra Bullock says: "Keanu has been through harder times than he admits. He definitely has a past that hurts. There's a sadness in his eyes, and you want to ask: 'What is it?'"
Sam Reeves, a geologist by trade, is desperate to make amends with Keanu and has gone to enormous lengths to stop his conviction harming his son's career.
From his cell in Halava Correctional Institute, a penitent Sam says: "I've had so many offers to tell all about the family but I just don't want to harm him.
"I'm not proud of myself as a father but I am proud of him. I hope we can be reconciled one day, so I can explain why he didn't have a father as a young boy.
"I hope he doesn't think I'm some evil drug lord. My actions never victimised anyone," he told a judge. Sam's friends, near his humble prefab house in Pahoa, Hawaii, confirm he never told them Keanu was his son, and even in jail he hid the information from inmates for two years until it leaked out from other sources.
Keanu's cousin, Leslie, claims Sam tried to wheedle money from him some years ago, but this is denied by the actor's Hawaiian grandmother, Momilani, who says: "My son was not a good father. But then Keanu has not been a good grandson. He makes no effort to contact me."
Seemingly following in his father's footsteps, rumours of drug abuse have dogged Keanu since his early days as one of Tinseltown's hellraisers. His behaviour while playing a junkie male prostitute in My Own Private Idaho caused concern. He was even quoted as saying: "I want to be on speed. I want to be a speed freak for a while. Is that a stupid thing to say?"
When his close pal River died of a speedball overdose in Johnny Depp's Viper Room last year, while Keanu was shooting Speed, director Jan De Bont observed: "It hit Keanu very hard. It was a shock to him." Since then Reeves has become a strict anti-drugs campaigner.
Keanu, whose name means "cool breeze over the mountains", is also fiercely protective of his tough-minded mother, Patricia, and says: "She's happy that I'm doing what I want to do and that I'm not at home doing drugs and stealing from her."
He is also devoted to his two sisters - Kim, a part-time model in her 20s, and recently graduated Karina, 18, who lives in New Jersey.
Keanu was born in Beirut in 1964. His father walked out on the family when Keanu was two years old. His mother and sisters bounced from Australia to New York before finally settling in Toronto, Canada. Patricia was a costume designer for singers such as Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Alice Cooper, who would sometimes bunk down at their house.
Discipline was not Patricia's strong point and Keanu switched schools four times in five years before dropping out in 1984. His only academic interest was in acting but he was kicked out of drama school for talking. After working in a hockey rink and an Italian food store he landed small parts on TV.
Two years later he jumped in his clapped-out 1969 Volvo and drove 5,000 km to Hollywood. He did the rounds of endless auditions, winning small parts until 1987 when he was cast in River's Edge because of his distinctive looks.
A year later he was starring opposite Michelle Pfeiffer and John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons. Since then, Keanu has scored roles in 20 movies, including Parenthood, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Point Break, Dracula, Much Ado About Nothing and this year's Little Buddha.
But despite his success, Keanu dismisses fame and the usual star trappings, saying: "I don't want to be super-famous. That would be awful. I don't mind doing another action film but I don't want to be the next Stallone.
"I prefer to be free and unfettered. I like the option of being able to do anything and go anywhere," he says.
It may be full speed ahead for his career, with his new movie A Walk in the Clouds in production and a sequel to Speed in the pipeline, but the maverick Keanu says: "My idea of happiness is riding my bike, sports, being with friends, conversations, learning, a beautiful repast with my family, wine and glorious food, and lying in bed with my lover."
But, for the moment, Keanu is trying to keep to himself whether that lover is a man or a woman.