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."