Keanu Reeves has put his career on hold to look after his ailing sister
by David Cairns
Caring Keanu dashed back to LA from Sydney, where he has been shooting the Matrix sequels, to keep a vigil by his sister Kim’s bedside.
Her leukaemia, a condition she has bravely been battling for years, had taken a turn for the worse.
Pronouncing himself ‘worried sick’ about Kim, Keanu declared that she’s the most important thing in his life, and he vowed that he would ‘always be there for her’.
He is filming both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, but shooting has been put back, he reveals on his website.
The anxious actor also revealed he was cancelling planned Asian concerts for his band Dogstar.
‘Kim is the most important thing to me, Keanu explains.’
‘It puts everything into perspective when you’re faced with a situation like this with a loved one.
‘She was always there for me, you know. I will always be here for her.’
Shattered Keanu has kept up his hectic schedule after Kim told him in January that this year could be her last. The brave horse breeder, 35, has battled her illness for more than a decade.
Keanu sold his house in Burbank so he could spend more time with Kim. He splashed out $1.3 million on a new home with a purpose-built equestrian centre in the LA suburb Thousand Oaks.
Family friend Chris Fowler says: ‘She is the one woman who has always had Keanu’s unconditional love. The guy is knocking himself out.
‘He has been waiting on her hand and foot, cooking meals, and even tidying the place up and preparing her medication for her.
‘He tried to keep on top of his shooting schedule, and he feels immense loyalty to Dogstar fans.
‘But it’s the family ties that presently dictate Keanu’s actions – and the whole of Hollywood is willing him on.’
New Idea has learnt that Keanu jetted from Sydney to LA on May 19. Six days later he was back Down Under.
On June 18 he jetted to LA again after aides warned him that Kim might not have very long left.
Keanu then announced on his website that the Asian concert dates were off, and he also informed fans that his filming schedule was being extended.
‘Keanu’s biggest fear,’ scriptwriter Chris says, ‘is that he might be out of the country when Kim leaves us. That would be his worst nightmare’.
Three months ago, Keanu shelled out $46,000 to take Kim and several of her close friends to the picturesque isle of Capri in Italy.
‘Everybody had a ball,’ says Kim’s longtime friend Cathy Koslow, who was a guest on the trip.
‘Keanu’s face was a picture on the flight home.
‘His sister snuggled up close to him and whispered: “This is the best I’ve felt in two years.”
‘Kim took Keanu’s advice to try yoga. He told her it would help her remain positive – it sure did.’
Keanu has used yoga to fight the toll of tragedy that has struck him over the years, Cathy says.
The actor was devastated just over a year ago when former girlfriend Jennifer Syme died in a car accident.
A year earlier the couple had been expecting their first child but the baby – who they’d decided to name Ava – was stillborn.
‘Keanu has always believed that he led a charmed life as a celebrity,’ a musician friend says.
‘But in his personal life it seems heartache is never too far away.
‘Kim’s condition has deteriorated and it has really gotten to Keanu, especially after she has fought such a hard and long battle. It’s like the life is being sucked out of her – and he doesn’t believe she deserves it.’
Postponing a flight back to Sydney, the actor recently flew Kim to France so she could receive an innovative new treatment.
Cathy says: `Kim told him to go back to work, but Keanu was like: “The hell I will.” He was absolutely straight with the movie honchos, and they’ve been understanding towards his situation.’
Keanu helped raise Kim – two years his junior – after their parents’ marriage collapsed when he was seven, Cathy says.
‘As young as he was, he felt a responsibility to take care of her,’ she says. ‘His dad was never around and his mother, who was a British showgirl, had to do everything. She was the sole breadwinner.
Kim was his baby sister.
A bond was formed then. and it has never been broken.’
Later Kim reversed the roles however, becoming the driving force in Keanu’s life.
‘She pushed him when he felt like quitting,’ Cathy says.
‘He was struggling at times and felt like giving up, but Kim wouldn’t listen. She told him: ‘You can make it as a star – and you will.”
‘Keanu even posted her words on his refrigerator.’
The touching effort Keanu is making means he has not given up in his prayers that Kim will somehow find the will to battle on.
‘The touching thing is’, Cathy says, ‘he whispers to her the same morale boosting things that Kim said to him as a kid.
‘Despite the pain, a smile always creases her lovely lips… and Keanu knows he’s in the right place.’