November 18, 2019

Loving and Losing Keanu Reeves

“For the first time in decades Keanu Reeves, star of John Wick and national treasure, appeared to publicly confirm that he’s in a relationship. On Saturday, he was spotted strolling down the red carpet at the LACMA Art + Film Gala hand in hand with artist Alexandra Grant. The pair reportedly met roughly a decade ago and have been friends ever since, even collaborating on an adult picture book in 2011. The photos of Reeves and Grant hand-clasped went viral on Monday, sparking mostly congratulatory light sobbing but also discussions around what it meant for one of Hollywood’s leading men to date someone “age-appropriate” (Grant is 46, while Reeves is 55).

To help explain the significance of a public, albeit quiet, declaration from Reeves, who is well-known for keeping his personal life private after the death of his daughter and girlfriend in 2001, I talked to the hosts of Slate’s Thirst Aid Kit—and Keanu Scholars—Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins.

Rachelle Hampton: I know y’all are generally reluctant to comment on the personal lives of Thirst Objects, but what were your first reactions to hearing the news?

Nichole Perkins: When I saw that Keanu was trending on Twitter, I was scared, honestly. I thought maybe he’d been accused of doing or saying something terrible, or worse, that he’d been in an accident. I didn’t think he was dead because I know one of my friends would’ve texted me something like that. After I clicked the trending and saw him holding hands with his longtime business partner and friend, I was shocked—then I relaxed into feeling happy for him, even as my teenage crush dreams faded away.”

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