Now (UK), April 18, 2001

Keanu mourns his lost love

Keanu Reeves says a last goodbye to the girlfriend who never came to terms with the stillbirth of their baby

In the end, it was a heartbreak that proved too much for her. Jennifer Syme never got over loosing Keanu Reeves baby and no one was more aware of that than the father of the child himself

As the Matrix star helped carry his former girlfriend's coffin at the funeral service in a Beverly Hills church, Jennifer's former flatmate and closest friend Suzanne McGuire revealed how Keanu struggled and ultimately failed to prevent her from spiralling into a drug-fuelled decline following the stillbirth of their baby daughter Ava.

Keanu, wearing a black suit with a black shirt and tie, hugged and kissed Jennifer's mother Maria St John as he arrived at the Good Shepherd Church. He was later one of the pallbearers of Jennifer's white coffin, which was strewn with red, pink and white roses.

She was laid to rest in Los Angeles Westwood Cemetery, next to their daughter, who died 17 months ago. At the graveside, Keanu held hands with Jennifer's mother and his own mother Patricia.

Jennifer, 29, was killed in an early morning car crash in LA on 2 April. She died instantly when her Jeep Cherokee hit three parked cars and overturned. She wasn't wearing a seat belt.

She'd never got over the loss of the baby and had been treated for depression. Los Angeles police said it wasn't known if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, but they found two rolled-up dollar bills in the car with a 'white substance' on them. They are being tested for drugs.

Suzanne said of Keanu: "He's totally grief-stricken. They had a fall-out and hadn't spoken for about three weeks."

She claimed that Jennifer's drug problems "drove a wedge" between her and the 36-year-old actor. "He did everything he could. He can hold his head high. He supported her emotionally and financially. He offered to put her through the best rehab in the land, if she'd go. She never would."

Jennifer, a record company worker and bit-part actress, weaned herself of drugs when she learned that she was expecting Keanu's baby. But the death of their daughter and the grief and stress it caused plunged her back into addiction.

The couple met at a party where Keanu was promoting his band Dogstar. Jennifer had a small role in David Lynch's 1997 movie Lost Highway and the director was another of her pallbearers, as was former Red Hot Chili Pepper Dave Navarro.

Keanu was the first person Jennifer's mother called after learning of the death. A family source said: "Maria rang his Santa Monica apartment, but he wasn't there. His sister Kim gave her his number in San Francisco, where he'd been shooting The Matrix 2. Jennifer had told her mum she was still involved with Keanu and that they were still an item."

Keanu confirmed in a call to the LA Coroner's office that the romance was still on. But friends say the couple had hit a rocky patch as the actor "grew frustrated in his efforts to help Jennifer. 

"Even in the bad times, he'd leave messages on her answering machine. He'd say: 'It's me, babe, just checking in to make sure you're safe.' He was like that with her always checking in."

But his calls stopped "on or around 11 March" after Jennifer failed to heed "repeated warnings." 

"I think he may have been trying to shock her," says a source close to Jennifer. He'd just started filming Matrix 2 in San Francisco and northern California. He's due to head to Australia for several months soon to finish the film, then immediately start work on Matrix 3.

As well as the rolled-up dollar bills in Jennifer's jeep, police found prescription forms and the anti-depressant drugs clonazepam and cyclobenzaprine. 

"We know Jennifer was under doctor's care for depression following the stillbirth of her baby," said a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Coroner.

At the service, Keanu revealed a belief in reincarnation. One mourner said: "He spoke softly, but touched every heart."

Article Focus:

Lives and Deaths of Jennifer and Ava


Lives and Deaths of Jennifer and Ava , Matrix, The , Dogstar , Matrix Reloaded, The

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