Keanu Reeves’ secret tragic life explored – from devastating loss to abandonment

Like many celebs, The Matrix star Keanu Reeves is someone who certainly seems like he has it all going for him, and he has cemented himself as one of Hollywood's best-loved stars.

But despite all his wealth, talent, hard work and success, life has thrown a number of horrific challenges in the way of the actor, who turned 56 today.

From his ex-girlfriend dying in horrific circumstances, his dad leaving him at a young age and his best pal River Phoenix's death, Keanu has suffered some huge losses in his life.

Through all the trauma, it would be enough to break anyone's spirit, but Reeves has always maintained a positive mindset and he has only grown in empathy and compassion with every single heartbreak life has thrown in his way.

In 1999, Reeves was struck by tragedy when girlfriend Jennifer Syme gave birth eight months into her pregnancy to Ava Archer Syme-Reeves, who was stillborn.

The pair ended up splitting several weeks later.

Just a few years later, on April 2, 2001, Jennifer was driving alone on Los Angeles' Cahuenga Boulevard when she sideswiped three parked cars, rolled over several times, and was thrown from the car.

Authorities believed she died instantly and was only 28 at the time of her death.

According to his friend Bret Domrose, Reeves, who was scheduled to begin shooting back-to-back Matrix sequels during the subsequent spring, sought "peace and time" to deal with the incident.

Reeves addressed his never-ending grief in a 2006 interview. "Grief changes shape, but it never ends," Reeves told Parade.

"People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, 'It’s gone, and I’m better.' They’re wrong.

"When the people you love are gone, you’re alone."

Reeves has previously said the deaths of Ava and Symes are the reason he avoids serious relationships and having kids.

As well as losing his daughter and girlfriend at young ages, he also lost his best friend, who died when he was only 23 years old.

Actor River Phoenix died in 1993 of a drug overdose outside of the famed celeb hangout spot in Los Angeles, Viper Room.

Reeves was also 23 at the time and reportedly found the death and grief very difficult to cope with.

Phoenix was considered to be an incredible actor of his time and for his age.

The star showed off his talent in films such as Stand by Me and River’s Edge, which were universally praised by critics.

But it was on the set of I Love You to Death that Reeves and Phoenix met and instantly became best buds.

It led to Reeves landing his pal a role in My Own Private Idaho, after he said his friend was perfect for the role.

In December 1989, Reeves rode more than 1,000 miles on his motorcycle to hand deliver the film’s treatment to Phoenix and persuade him to take the role.

As well as suffering heartbreak in later life, Keanu also had a tough childhood.

Reeves' dad, Samuel Reeves, who was a geologist, walked out of his life when he was only three years old.

It left his mother, showgirl and costume designer Patricia Taylor, to raise the future star as a single mother.

Keanu, who was born in Beirut, then moved to Hawaii with his mother, following his dad leaving.

They also lived in New York and Canada and moved around quite a bit.

By the time he was 17 he dropped out of high school after attending four different schools.

To this day, he says it was his struggles with dyslexia which made his education a bigger challenge than it is for most people.

But despite the heartbreak and challenges Keanu has had to overcome in his life, he has gone on to become one of Hollywood's most successful actors.

He is also one of Tinseltown's most loved stars and there are many articles with the headline: "Proof That Keanu Reeves Is the Nicest Guy in Hollywood."

His former co-star Winona Ryder described him as an ally to females on-set, as she once claimed that he refused a director's request that he go along with the other male actors in shouting at Ryder until she cried.

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