The anatomy of a Hollywood rumor. We've all heard the stories. Richard Gere has a problem with small furry animals. Rod Stewart had a pint of sperm pumped out of his stomach. Hollywood is a petri dish for this kind of urban myth, and one of the latest--involving the reputed marriage between 'Velvet Mafia' media mogul David Geffen and pretty-boy actor Keanu Reeves--has all the classic hallmarks of innuendo and wishful thinking. One minute Reeves was the sexiest (and implicitly most heterosexual) man alive, the next a billionaire's blushing bride. Here, we trace the Geffen-Reeves reports from their origins to the present.
e 8.30.94 DAILY MIRROR, England. The London tabloid is the first to report that the pair were spotted "painting the town red at parties and going on wild shopping sprees." The story also claims that Geffen spent $12,000 on Keanu at the Barney's New York clothing store in Beverly Hills, adding that they were seen "giggling like schoolboys as they tried on mounds of $500 shirts."
12.14.94 VOICI, France. The magazine reports that Geffen and Reeves were married by a rabbi in an LA restaurant, calling the union "the first gay marriage in the history of show business." The article described the outfits worn by the couple and their guests--said to include Steven Spielberg, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Elizabeth Taylor--and noted that a hired band of twelve musicians regaled the group until 2 a.m.
12.20.94 DAILY MAIL, England. The English tabloid reports that Reeves laughed off rumors that he had taken part in a gay wedding. "It's a joke," says Reeves. "Somebody probably took that magazine for a lot of money."
12.27.94 THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The first U.S. suggestion of a marriage appears in a blind item in George Christy's column.
1.14.95 THE VANCOUVER SUN. The paper reports a further rumor that Reeves is dating a dancer from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
1.21.95 THE BOSTON HERALD. "Both parties have officially denied the nuptial rumors, but sources close to Geffen swear it's true."
1.24.95 USA TODAY. The paper reports that Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg are expected to visit Reeves in Canada, where he is playing Hamlet.
3.27.95 TIME. Geffen tells TIME that he's never "met or laid eyes on" Keanu Reeves.
Though the American press, bound by stricter libel laws that its European counterpart, was treating the item as little more than a rumor, the marriage story mushroomed as it started surfacing at dinner parties and in salons, gyms, and restaurants. Someone knows someone who knows the LA decorator who redid the house where the wedding took place--in this version, in the Hamptons. A Beverly Hills manicurist claims that one of her clients goes to the hairdresser who did Geffen and Reeves' wedding do's--in Hawaii. Geffen himself says (while denying the story) that he met someone whose trainer swears he attended the wedding.
4.04.95 SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The paper mocks reports of Geffen and Reeves' "unholy rite in France."
5.28.95 TORONTO STAR. The paper reports that Geffen visited Reeves in Canada. Geffen "sent a limo" for Keanu, who is "in deep denial" about the relationship.
7.95 OUT. Keanu attempts to take matters in hand with a cover story in the "straight" issue of the gay magazine. He shrugs off the rumor and recalls being phoned by friends asking why they hadn't been invited to the wedding.
8.95 VANITY FAIR. A second cover story for Keanu. "I've never met him," he says of Geffen.
So what started the whole saga off? Three Hollywood reporters speculate.
George Christy (Columnist for THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) "In Europe they reported the rumor as fact. I decided to mention it in the column, and I feel pretty stupid for doing it, because I'm not interested in rumors. Financial, sex, and health gossip is always below the belt. I write a positive column."
Kevin O'Sullivan (Writer for New York DAILY NEWS and British tabloids) "It comes down to the relationship between publicists and the press. When publicists have a product to sell, they work the glossy magazines. When something like this comes up in the tabloids, they become ostrichlike, and it spreads. The smart actors have figured out you don't need a publicist at all--it's a waste of $5,000 a month."
Michael Musto (Columnist for THE VILLAGE VOICE) "It probably started with another boyfriend who looked like Keanu. Some gay people were horrified by the rumor, but to me it's equal-opportunity rumormongering--there should be gossip about gays and straights. It's a form of silliness that we all play into. And I know plenty of people who'd like that rumor to be true."
"I don't know why anyone cares, and I don't know if it matters or not. I just, uh, I don't - it's, you know, the whole aspect of coming out. I mean, there is a whole - people, you know, who are gay have decided that it can be - that whole thing about calling people out - and you have to share that, because there needs to be an equality and a lack of prejudice, and you need to have a voice, so, I mean, it's important, but I'm not involved in those dynamics and I have no point of view on it."
- Keanu Reeves to USA Today
"There's nothing wrong with being gay, so to deny it is to make a judgement."
- Keanu Reeves to Vanity Fair
Told “Out” Magazine in the July-August 1995 issue that he’d never met Geffen and was not gay.