Hollywood’s Most Eligible Bachelor, Keanu Reeves, Gets an Age-Appropriate Girlfriend
Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant pose for photos holding hands at the 2019 LACMA Art and Film Gala on Saturday. Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Can you hear that keening? That is the sound of a million middle-aged hearts breaking. Keanu Reeves, the lone ranger of Hollywood, may be single no longer! The Canadian megastar was snapped hand in hand with a gowned woman at the LACMA Art + Film Gala, sponsored by Gucci, in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
It took observers a hot minute to clock the new couple and identify his date as his “long-time friend,” artist Alexandra Grant. And damn, get this: she’s age appropriate! Grant is 46 years to Reeves’ 56 years. It’s a Hollywood miracle in the same moment that Dennis Quaid, 65, just got engaged to a 26 year old. And then there is Peter Cook, Christie Brinkley’s 57-year-old ex, who just became engaged to a 21 year old. Or David Foster, 70, married recently to Katharine McPhee, 35. Anyhow, you get how big a deal this is.
So who is Grant? The silver-haired artist, with whom Reeves sweetly held hands for the duration of her first red carpet ride, has apparently known the Matrix actor for about a decade. They launched the X Artists’ Books imprint together in 2017, but before that they were collaborators on two poetry books, Ode to Happiness published in 2011 and Shadows in 2016 (words by Reeves, illustrations by Grant).
Of her work, CNN has said, “Grant explores the use of text and language in various works of media—including painting, sculpture, drawing, film and photography.” For anyone really upset about Reeves being taken off the market, her website is alexandragrant.com if they want to do a little harmless creeping.
The pair have been seen out and about together in Los Angeles a couple of times in recent years and months, and they have been featured side by side in paparazzi snaps. But it was the very clear look of love – and the PDA – they shared at the LACMA gala that confirmed their friendship was expanding to the next stage.
Reeves has been the perfect secret fantasy boyfriend forever; because he has been single (and stoic and, yes, also mostly silent) for so long, we could project our dreams onto him, safely. He’s the genuine nice guy, infallibly kind to strangers, respectful to all women, the brooding hero that only we understand. He has a tragic romantic resume. So yes, this new relationship is a Big Deal, worthy of caps.
Back in 1999, when Reeves was filming the first of two Matrix movies that made his career explode, his girlfriend Jennifer Syme went into labour at eight months. Their daughter, Ava, was stillborn. The couple split soon after the tragedy, but the story gets worse. In 2001, at the age of 28, Syme was killed in a car accident. On the official record, Reeves has been single ever since.
Reeves, who is a Canadian citizen, was born in Beirut. His mother was an English costume designer and his father, who was imprisoned and fell out of Keanu’s life around age 6, is of Chinese-Hawaiian, English, Irish and Portuguese background. By 1971, his mother remarried and brought Reeves, then 7, to Toronto. He grew up around Yorkville, attended both Etobicoke School of the Arts (he was expelled) and the private De La Salle College (he quit), before finishing up at an alternative school.
Following an early screen appearance in Young Bloods, the Rob Lowe hockey flick filmed in Toronto, Reeves was seen in the moody teen drama River’s Edge (both 1986) and the lush period piece Dangerous Liaisons (1988), before bursting into the pop cultural pantheon with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in 1989.
His wildly successful action franchises, Speed in 1994 and its sequel in 1997, then The Matrix (1999 to present day, with the upcoming release of Matrix 4 adding to Reeves’ career renaissance), did not have the usual effect of trapping its lead actor as one specific hero for life. Instead we see Reeves as three-dimensional – he is also a bass player (alt rock, his band was called Dogstar) and has tried his hand at both directing and producing, in addition to his poetry career – and we never see him typecast. When I think of Reeves, I don’t think of the black-cloaked, sunglasses and slicked-back hair Neo. I think of him as the young street hustler on a quest in 1991’s My Own Private Idaho, with his best pal the late River Phoenix, yet another sad loss for Reeves.
His most recent action franchise, John Wick, has just released its third instalment, and Reeves also appeared as Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4. But it is his internet presence that shows the most transformation. Circa 2010, there were a bunch of early-era memes of “Sad Keanu,” making hay of his customary taciturn expression. But in the shadow of #MeToo, Keanu has become a social media sensation for that most Canadian of things: being nice. He is celebrated virally for being sweet to his fans. And most notably for how gallant he is in photos.
Reeves has become the model New Man this past year, as a number of images made the viral round showing how respectfully he poses with women — from Dolly Parton to random Comic Con fans — by being physically aware, and keeping his hands off female bodies. In some cases, he hovers his hand above their shoulders, or shows an open hand instead of wrapping it around a waist.
But with (presumptive) new love Grant, he went for old-fashioned hand-holding, never leaving her alone on the red carpet this week. After all, he is a publicity master now, and can show the ropes to a girlfriend unaccustomed to intense public scrutiny. In footage, he looks happy, not an oft-seen Reeves look. And he does seem to want to protect her. But it is this simple fact — dating a woman in his actual, real-life age range — that can only burnish his woke credibility.