New Weekly (Aus), October 1, 1998

Stepping In To Save Keanu

The shocking state of Keanu Reeves has led his family and friends to band together in an 'intervention' to rescue him...

(Note: there was no banding together. Inkhuldra, who sent me this article, says it was just tabloid speculation. The 'shocking state' in question was the result of Keanu shaving off all his hair for The Matrix pod scene. - Ani)

Family and friends of one-time Hollywood heart-throb Keanu Reeves have rallied together, fearing the star is self-destructing. They feel the only way back up for the star is through an "intervention" - a meeting where loved ones try to shock a person into admitting they have an alcohol, drug or emotional problem.

A thin, haggard and drawn Keanu startled even his most ardent fans at his recent performance with his band Dogstar at Hollywood's House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard.

His shaved head and shaved eyebrows only added to the emaciated look and fans got together after the performance to try to find out how to help their hero.

Led by two girls, who have followed Keanu and his career for five years, the fans agreed to approach Keanu's mother Patricia, a former costume designer for rock acts such as Aerosmith and Alice Cooper, and ask her and other family friends to join them in an intervention.

"When I look at the Keanu I knew a year ago and the Keanu of today I see changes that frighten me," says one of the girls. "He looked not much more than skin and bone and his shaven head made him look grotesque. Even his most loyal fans could see that something was wrong. We had a meeting the day after the concert and agreed to approach Keanu's family.

"I think it's going to take a drastic intervention to try to turn his life around, but if his family will help there are enough of us to see that Keanu gets help. "Of course, he's got to agree that he needs help, but anyone who's watched his behaviour recently can't be in any doubt about that."

Only a year ago a bedraggled, filthy Keanu was seen boozing with a homeless hobo in a dirty LA alley. He shared shots of bourbon, looked at pornographic magazines, and even tried napping in the gutter. Keanu, 34, claimed he was merely researching a film role about a homeless man who wins millions in the lottery.

But the actor, who earned around $24 million for his roles in Speed and The Devil's Advocate, still lives a gypsy lifestyle, according to his friends. He bought a $2.7 million luxury home for his former hippie mum near LA, but still lives by himself in hotel rooms and in friends' guest bedrooms. Keanu joins a long list of celebrities who have worried family and friends with their excessive and self-destructive lifestyles.

Most recently, Melanie Griffith stepped in and organised a dramatic intervention to get ex-hubby, Steven Bauer, into rehab. Steven admits he's at "rock bottom" with his heroin addiction and is leaning on Melanie for support.

"With a tear in her eye she put her arm around me, looked straight into my eyes and said, 'Steven, we all love you very much. It's time to get yourself some help. You're slowly killing yourself by using drugs'," he told US magazine the National Enquirer.

Actor Dennis Quaid credits wife Meg Ryan for standing by him during his rough times with cocaine addiction and anorexia. "It's great to have that support," says the actor, who admits he'd probably be in jail if it wasn't for his wife. Meg stuck by him during counselling and rehab, and Dennis has been clean since their marriage in 1991.

However some stars have not been helped by the fact that their loved ones - even their own parents - have been caught up in the world of drugs.

Former brat packer Robert Downey Jr has long been a drug user, admitting in 1988 that his father introduced him to the vicious cycle that landed him in jail for violating parole on drug and weapon charges.

The haze of drug and alcohol increased with stardom during the late '80s when Robert's then manager, Loree Rodkin, begged him to enter rehab. She says he promptly fired her for "making him face it".

Drew Barrymore hit the road to destruction early on in her career, with drug addiction landing her in detox twice by the time she was 14. She found solace with her drug-affected mother Ildiko Jaid Barrymore. Together they supported each other and went to rehab to beat their addictions. Now Drew's back on the A-list.

According to Belinda Walsh, Australia's only professional intervention specialist from Sydney's South Pacific Private Hospital, it's their charmed lifestyle which is seeing more and more celebrities fall between the cracks.

"I believe celebrities are definitely more prone to take that fall because of the way they live, and for them it's a long way down," says Belinda. "Often these people tie their whole value up in 'I'm a movie star', a rock singer or whatever and if they don't get the best deals, their self-worth plummets and they use substances to make themselves feel better. They medicate themselves to numb out. "Then you get stars who have reached the pinnacle of their careers, they can have anything they want and they get to the stage where there's nothing to strive for. What happens is that they become spiritually disconnected and they just get lost.

"When you think about it, it's almost perceived as the norm for a star to go out and get plastered night after night. Because it's almost obligatory, often these cases are quite severe by the time the public find out about it and before the star seeks help." Belinda believes it's harder for celebrities to seek treatment due to their high profiles and "bankability". "They really worry it can ruin their careers," she says. "And often a manager or agent isn't going to help if that star's still getting work. There's a lot of vested interest in these people."


Dogstar , Speed , Devil's Advocate, The

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