Keanu's battle for Kim
Keanu Reeves has lovingly supported his younger sister through the most traumatic period of her life. Now he's taken her on a holiday to Tahiti
As film star Keanu Reeves flies into Tahiti with a slim, dark-haired woman by his side, there's no mistaking the look in his eyes as he gazes happily at her. It is obvious that he loves her.
She is the woman who receives flowers and special messages from him at least once a week; the one he suns with on tropical beaches; the one he took as his date to the Oscars five years ago, introducing her as "the very special woman in my life".
Yet Keanu's affection for this beauty has a nobility and virtue beyond the tacky world of Hollywood. She is his younger sister, she has faced death, and he will do anything for her. Keanu, 34, has lovingly supported Kim, 32, since she was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer more than 10 years ago.
"I love Kim," Keanu says. "She's so brave, and I want the very best for her. You can star in hit movies, but that's nothing compared to going through what Kim's been through."
The siblings have always been very close. When Keanu was a baby, their constantly travelling parents, Patricia and Samuel, moved from his birthplace of Beirut, Lebanon, to spend a year in the Sydney suburb of Dover Heights. Kim was born in Australia, at Sydney's Royal Women's Hospital, Paddington.
The toddlers were thrown together by adversity when their parents split soon after. Patricia moved her young family to New York and then Toronto, Canada, They weathered her three remarriages, and the birth of their half-sister, Karina, in 1976.
Kim has bittersweet memories of their childhood. "We never had anyone to play with us, to watch me riding horses or Keanu playing hockey," she recalls. "But what we always had was each other."
A friend remembers that the two were always inseparable. "He was very much the elder brother and felt very strongly about her."
Keanu cheered Kim on through her early career as a model, and she took him in when he was finding his feet in Hollywood. But it was when Kim's illness was at its worst that his true supporting nature shone through.
"Keanu helped me so much through my illness," Kim says.
"When the pain got really bad, he would sit with me and hold my hand, and keep the 'bad man' from making me dance. He was supporting me and comforting me all the time, even when he was away."
The pair recently took time out from Keanu's Hollywood commitments for a holiday together in tropical Tahiti. Now, after eight years of battling the disease that took her to the brink of death, Kim is in remission and can revel in the balmy sunshine.
In Tahiti, Keanu carried Kim's bags, opened doors for her and guided her to the water's edge for a ferry boat ride.
Keanu's support of his little sister has always been loyal and unswerving. He rarely speaks about Kim's health - those close to him say it's for fear of breaking down in tears.
Keanu was expected to return to Australia for the April 7 premiere of Matrix, the science fiction thriller he filmed here last year. During the shoot, he also toured with his rock band, Dogstar, and went out of his way to sign autographs for a group of children suffering from leukaemia.
Explaining his action to friends, the star simply said, "Someone in my family has cancer."