Woman's Day (Aus), November 27, 1995
SUPERSTAR KEANU'S SHAME
I HOPE DAD DIES IN JAIL
by Kitty O'Sullivan
'The story with me and my father is pretty heavy - full of pain and woe'
Hot Hollywood hunk Keanu Reeves has turned his back on his jailed father who abandoned him when he was a child. Sam Reeves, 53, has been desperately trying to contact Keanu from the Hawaiian prison where he's serving a 10-year sentence for drug possession.
"I'm not very proud of myself as a father, but I am proud of my son," says Sam. "I hope we can reconcile so I can explain why he didn't have a dad as a young boy."
But the Speed heart-throb, who's touring Australia with his band, Dogstar, refuses to take his father's calls and has made it clear he wants nothing more to do with him.
His disgraced dad was arrested last year at Hilo airport in Hawaii carrying large quantities of heroin and cocaine after police got a tip-off he had drugs in his suitcase.
Sam, a geologist of Hawaiian and Chinese descent, is hoping Keanu will pay a top lawyer to appeal his conviction. He claims the drug bust was set up by a bitter enemy.
But Keanu says: "I haven't seen my father since I was 15, and I have no plans to see him now. Remember the '60s burnout guy? That was my father. He was a deadhead reject."
Keanu admits dabbling in drugs himself. When he collapsed in his dressing room trailer while making Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, it sparked rumours of an overdose. But he swore off drugs for life after his close friend, River Phoenix, died in 1993 of a heroin overdose,
Keanu told a friend: "Drugs are truly evil. My dad dealt in death, and he deserves to rot in jail until his sentence is over so nobody can die from the drugs he sells."
His paternal grandmother, Momilani Abrahams, says that Keanu refuses to talk to her or her jailed son. "He doesn't want to know us any more," she says. "He won't take Sam's calls for help."
The 31-year-old superstar was just a young child who idolised his dad when Sam suddenly abandoned him and his English mother, Patricia, a seamstress to the stars.
Keanu rarely saw his father in the next few years, and missed him so much that his mother paid for him to see a psychotherapist until she was convinced he'd recovered from the trauma.
"The story with me and my father is pretty heavy - full of pain and woe and all that stuff," he says.
Keanu, who stars in two new movies, the love story A Walk In The Clouds and the techno thriller Johnny Mnemonic, was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He moved to Australia and New York before finally settling in Toronto, Canada. But his mother married twice more - he has two half-sisters - and moved several more times.
Because of his nomadic upbringing he never had any roots, and even today he lives like a hermit out of a suitcase. Although he's paid $12 million a picture, Keanu travels from one hotel to another as he jets around the world to movie locations or concert gigs.
When he's in Los Angeles, he stays at the posh Chateau Marmont, where he stores most of his possessions. When he's going on the road, he packs a few T-shirts, socks, underwear, one suit, a sports jacket, a pair of shoes and a couple of pairs of jeans.
Tragically, the trauma of his father abandoning him was compounded by low self-esteem caused by dyslexia, and Keanu became a very lonely and shy young man. "I don't like being the centre of attention," he confesses.
Sandra Bullock, who starred with Keanu in Speed, says: "There is a lot of pain there. I would often see Keanu go off by himself and there's a hint of sadness in his eyes. But he keeps it to himself."
Speed co-star Dennis Hopper says: "He has some inner turmoil he deals with. He's always very charming, but he'd be more content if he could get away from people."
Dina Meyer, who plays Keanu's bodyguard in Johnny Mnemonic, adds: "He's very quiet, very introverted. You just want to say: 'What's happening in there?"
Without any friends, Hollywood's loneliest and oddest superstar finds solace by playing his bass guitar full blast and riding his motorbikes at reckless speeds. The hell-raising star has had several spills, and has the scars to prove it. One, from his groin to his navel, is from the time he ruptured his spleen when he took a bend too fast in LA.
In the past few years he's been arrested three times while driving with a suspended license, and in May 1993 he was charged with drink driving and fighting with the arresting police.
With a Speed sequel in the planning stage, Keanu is being hyped as the hottest action star in years. But his superstardom has come with a heavy price: vicious rumours are being spread that he's gay.
The allegations surfaced after it was revealed he'd played a homosexual in a Toronto show called Wolfboy, and posed for publicity shots kissing a young man.
After the gay magazine Out made him its coverboy, he was asked by an interviewer whether he was gay.
"No," he replied. "But you never know." He fuelled the rumours himself by playing a homosexual hooker in My Own Private Idaho and kissing River Phoenix.
Keanu took another blow when rumours hit the showbiz world that he'd secretly married gay record mogul David Geffen. Then a Canadian magazine claimed he was having an affair with a male dancer in Winnipeg.
Keanu, who has dated actresses Sheri Rose and Sofia Coppola and Australian model Joanna Clealand, finally hit out at the slurs.
"I'm not gay," he says. "I love women more than any guy I know. I don't know why I'm the target of these rumours.
"When I think about it, my blood boils. I've never met David Geffen. But suddenly this rumour was everywhere."
Keanu has made a desperate attempt to set the record straight before the evil gossip destroys his career. For a while he was openly flaunting his relationship with sexy blonde Amanda De Cadenet, the estranged wife of rocker John Taylor. Then, earlier this year he cavorted in a pool with sex-bomb Sharon Stone. And recently he's been dating up a storm with gorgeous Cheers star Jackie Swanson, who's been seen everywhere with him, even accompanying him when he and his band perform at venues around LA.
But Keanu isn't planning to settle down just yet. He says: "Because of my parents' divorce when I was young, I'm in no rush to get married."
|inkhuldra||Keanu's driver's licence (2010-01-27 06:03:25)|
| ||"In the past few years he's been arrested three times while driving with a suspended license, and in May 1993 he was charged with drink driving and fighting with the arresting police."
Is this correct? I thought he was arrested once and had his driver's licence revoked because he was caught driving under the influence.
|Anakin McFly|| (2010-01-27 10:36:05)|
|: I have no idea. |
|inkhuldra||Probably not (2010-01-27 19:21:26)|
| ||Nah, considering the rest of the article I suspect that it's mostly invented by the writer. If he'd been arrested three times the tabloid media would've mentioned it. Especially if he'd really fought with the arresting officers.|
|LucaM||well, (2010-01-28 02:00:34)|
| ||he was arrested once, hence that mugshot available all over the net. |
|seer||And.. (2010-01-29 07:14:40)|
| ||Me thinks that it is for the most part pieced together fabrication indeed ;).|
|Guest||lie (2013-03-26 23:52:39)|
| ||this story was made up by writer. this is one of the stories were he said he will open up a few details of his life more w/ reporters & media since he never did liked talking to any of them and he said they make up stuff once he snobs them. pathetic losers!|
|Anakin McFly|| (2013-03-27 00:04:49)|
|A lot of the details are actually remarkably accurate, but the quotes are dodgy; in particular, "When I think about it, my blood boils". Keanu explicitly said at other times that he didn't mind the rumours at all, because there was nothing wrong in being gay and he didn't care if people thought he was.
Unless by 'blood boils', he meant something else... :|
|pjbf1979||late comment is late but... (2017-03-26 06:23:39)|
| ||This is BS. I believe it's pieced together from other interviews he's given, with a heavy amount of made-up crap.
For one, given his relationship with Samuel, I'm pretty sure that Keanu would not call him 'Dad'. That made me instantly suspicious of this article. I've only ever seen where Keanu calls him (when he even bothers to talk about him) 'my father'. Which jives with the fact that people as estranged from a father as Keanu is generally use 'my father' not 'Dad'.
As someone else said, he dgaf if someone thinks he's gay. I'm reasonably sure he doesn't care about ANY rumors about him.
|Guest|| (2018-01-10 16:14:32)|
| ||wow he used to take drugs too|
|Guest|| (2018-01-10 17:16:29)|
| ||He is clearly not a Saint. |
Probably normal back on year 80's and 90's guys used drugs for fun or experimental.
|Guest||grandmother (2018-03-28 17:00:51)|
| ||My mom was really close to his paternal indigenous Hawaiian grandmother when my dad & she lived in Hawaii for six months in 1956. We had a large portrait painting of her which was done by a female friend of both her & my parents in our house. She was really beautiful in the painting; wearing a traditional skirt & long black hair.
I didn't realise the girlfriend my mom spoke of was related to Keanu Reeves until very recently when I read his grandmother's name somewhere. (On an ancestry site when I was looking for my mom's friend; as I was trying to return some personal correspondence of my mother's that she had w/ friends in Hawaii).
I stumbled upon you here because I was looking up his (Keanu's) grandmother/my mom's friend again moments ago & just read that his father recently passed in January 2018 . (Which I read on a Hawaiian FB page that did not mention Keanu. It mentioned his grandmother's name - so that's how I found it).
If this is true about his relationship w/ his grandmother it's very sad. My mom had only lovely things to say about her. My dad worked for the radio station there (& later mentored a young David Geffen - to circle back to the article... small music industry world...) & that's how they met his grandmother somehow. She was in the same circle of people. My mom knew her by her indigenous name: Momilani.
This person who wrote this article is obviously homophobic; as they kept referring to any rumour & suggestion that he may be Gay w/ words like "evil". To mirror what another commenter wrote here; I doubt Mr.Reeves would respond w/ horror at people wondering if he was Gay. (Unlike Mr. & Mrs. Gere's full page advert taken out to dispel similar rumours). Lol... "evil"... obviously this article was at best a grand distortion.
Btw... I don't know what happened to the painting. My mom divorced my dad & moved to another town & when I visited her in her new house all her paintings were missing - including an amazing family oil painting done by a friend of my grandfather that had survived the allied bombing of Berlin & another very large painting done by a well known local American illustrator. She was elderly by then & had no answer for me as to where they were. Probably this beautiful painting of Momilani was stolen during the move. I try not to think about losing all those paintings & how they are most likely in some NYC area former mover's garage or storage space or living room right now! It was a big nonsensical loss.
|Anakin McFly|| (2018-03-28 17:15:26)|
|Hey! Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing about Momilani. I'm sorry to hear about the painting.
I heavily suspect that this article was fabricated at least in part if not totally, because they don't tally with the other things Keanu has said about his family, and don't match his speaking style either. It's also a debunked rumour that he was ever with Sharon Stone, which doesn't say much for this magazine's reliability.
His actual commentary elsewhere on the gay rumours included this line: "For a while people were saying that David Geffen and I had gotten married. That just blew me away. Not because they thought I was gay, but that they thought I could land a guy that hot."
That really doesn't seem like someone who would say that the rumours make his blood boil.
At another time, he said that he never thought it necessary to address the rumours, because it would suggest there was something wrong with being gay. So in light of that, his alleged comments here are definitely off.
He has also spoken of his grandmother at other times, and there didn't seem to be any particular hostility there. It's possible though that there was a point when he wasn't on the best of terms with her, given his feelings about his father.
|Guest|| (2018-03-28 17:20:08)|
| ||I forgot to mention: the recent (Jan 2018) obituary for the father of Keanu did not mention his (the father's) mother/Keanu's grandmother; or Keanu or anyone else.
It said nothing; only his father's name & the date. It was in a Hawaiian paper (or online news only?). I hope the reason is that he was sent off in an indigenous tradition & some people loved him but were not interested in the settler tradition of writing an obituary... Otherwise it is very sad...
|Anakin McFly|| (2018-03-28 17:32:40)|
|I think a big part of the reason was that they didn't want the funeral to be invaded by voyeurs who were just there because it was Keanu's father, such that the less information shared publicly, the better it would be for the family's privacy. One of the posts specifically stated that Sam's children would not be attending, probably to ward off people who might have gone there hoping to catch Keanu.|
|Guest|| (2018-03-28 18:31:24)|
| ||I posted my last PS about his father before I was able to read your lightening fast reply. I hate when that happens as it comes off as rude; as if I've ignored what the person wrote!
Thanks for your condolences about the painting. I grew up in the music industry & am pretty jaded; so it is not the Keanu connection - which I only knew of in the last couple years - that makes me ill thinking about it. It's the fact that it was so beautiful. And I grew up w/ it from childhood. She only wore a grass skirt in it. This was still the colonialist settler fifties; so there was obviously a different standard for who could be painted w/ their breasts showing. (See the recent National Geographic where they attempt to make amends for all the naked photos taken only of indigenous girls & women). My mom is German & from Berlin where they had nude beaches etc. so did not get the American memo about nudity.
I remember asking who it was & she would tell me over & over about her friend Momilani sitting for this portrait by another female friend. She (Momilani) was still pretty young at the time the portrait was done. We're referring to her as "grandmother" here - but this was long before Keanu was born!
My mom had some contact w/ still very traditional indigenous Hawaiians there - because she told me how they put fish oil in their hair. And they would surf & swim w/ that in their hair & it protected their hair & skin.
The painting was also really important to me because in it she had chocolate brown skin & my dad is Arab American (& was sometimes taken as "a black man" by white people in certain parts of America & suffered a bit of the consequences of that) & I take after him. We grew up an hour from NYC where there was nobody who looked like me - aside from my father & Black Native pediatrician - & that beautiful painting of Momilani. This was in the 1960s/70s when blonde & pale brunette models ruled & the same was true for film & television; so her painting really helped me have a healthy view of myself as a girl of colour.
When I was looking for her (per explanation above re. my mom's letters) I read something online where Keanu spoke very fondly of living w/ his grandmother. To refer to your point though: I can understand when people have to go no contact w/ certain people; not because of their behaviour specifically - but due to behaviour of others around them. This happens to so many people. A friend of mine had AIDS & his sociopathic boyfriend basically bullied all his friends out of their life. So I know what you mean. None of us could associate w/ this monster boyfriend without being torn to bits. So we were not able to be around him when he passed.
That quote you just wrote about David Geffen : LOL!
Supposedly Joni Mitchell's 'Free Man in Paris' was about him. In which she sings (in his voice) "I deal in losers & telephone schmoozers" (are those the exact lyrics?). I believe it. My father spent hours & hours on the phone w/ those people.
Anyway... that painting let me know I wasn't an alien from another planet of brown people. My siblings were really pale & Euro looking & my sister told me I was adopted - Lol! So thank God Momilani sat for that portrait & the painter gave it to my mom! God knows how I would have felt about myself if I hadn't had her beautiful portrait in front of me everyday from infancy.
Thank you so much for letting me write about it here!
|Guest|| (2018-03-28 18:51:43)|
| ||Our comments crossed again. Lol. It should be good luck - like speaking at the same time.
I'm sure you're right about the funeral. I never even thought of that. Thanks for bringing me back to planet Earth. Lol. The real world where horrid people mob total strangers grieving at family funerals...
I think on one of the big ancestry sites it gives a family tree on the paternal Hawaiian side. And that's where I initially saw the connection. Because as I said I was not looking up 'Keanu Reeves'. I just typed in 'Momilani' + 'Hawaii' & probably even misspelled her name. (Anyway it is spelled a few different ways online). And she had recently passed & from the age & bio & cv of where she had worked etc. I knew it was my mom's friend. I guess that's not a common name either.
Thanks for all your interesting insights. I'm off to search for an older photo of David Geffen to see if Keanu is being far too self deprecating by saying he couldn't pull him. I've forgotten what he looked like years ago. I suspect I'll find flared trousers & longer hair...
|Guest|| (2018-03-29 00:47:27)|
| ||*'dreamers & telephone schemers' - I think we're the lyrics in the song about Geffen. Sorry for the off topic - but I had to correct what I wrote earlier! |
|Guest|| (2018-03-29 00:57:08)|
|Guest|| (2018-03-29 13:15:07)|
| ||Correction re. painting of Keanu's grandmother (my mom's friend):
Since posting earlier I've remembered Momilani was wearing a traditional pareo in the painting (cloth wrapped around hips worn by Polynesian women which has different names in different places... I don't know the Hawaiian word) - not a grass skirt. Sorry for the mistake. It's becoming clearer the more I try to remember it.
Also the painter was a white woman (though a friend of Momilani) ; so it had a bit of the colonialist 'white gaze' to it - by painting her naked except for the pareo & w/ long black middle parted hair & medium/dark brown skin. It was 1956 & she (Momilani) travelled in this radio & television/theatre (?) circle in Honolulu; so I don't know how long her hair really was or how much time she spent in the sun to have dark skin & I doubt she walked around in only a pareo. So some or a lot of that was probably artistic license. I don't have a photo of her from then - so I don't know.
Thanks again for reading. xx