Listen, Keanu Reeves Has a Girlfriend
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to accept their crush has taken another lover. For 99% of the world, that time is now.
The Twitter timeline has been flush with reactions to Keanu Reeves possibly turning things romantic with longtime friend and collaborator Alexandra Grant, and most of the reactions can go right into the trash.
Presuming that Grant, 46, is older than Reeves, 55, based on her hair color? Sexist. Harping on their nine-year age difference as part of a larger narrative that has nothing to do with this particular relationship? Reductive! Yes, many famous men date and women far younger than they are (see Dennis Quaid and Peter Cook just in the last few weeks), but labeling them cradle-robbing predators removes the women’s agency to date whomever they please, and is neither here nor there in the Keanu Has A Girlfriend discourse. He’s dating someone. They seem happy. We have to move on.
It’s obvious that we are so invested because Keanu Reeves is one of those actors that we have collectively deemed an internet boyfriend. Twitter exploded into ecstasy this year over his brief but hilarious cameo in the Ali Wong/Randall Park Netflix movie Always Be My Maybe. And a series of photos wherein his hands were respectfully hovering instead of touching women with whom he was posing for photos went massively viral. He’s talented, he’s respectful, he’ll do a rom-com, an action movie — he’ll even avenge a puppy! But he comes across just as likable off-screen as he does on, and that prompts an onslaught of commentary on anything he does, including a dissection of exactly who it is he’s dating and if the force majeure of Keanu stans approve.
Reeves is reportedly wonderful to work with, so it feels like a beautiful progression that he and Grant previously collaborated on projects together. She illustrated his 2011 book Ode to Happiness, and they reunited again in 2016 for another project called Shadows, which features Keanu's words accompanied by Grant's photographs. In 2017 they co-founded X Artists’ Books, a publishing company described on the site as a “small publisher of thoughtful, high-quality, artist-centered books that fit within and between genres” — a description that sounds like how most of us would describe Reeves’ body of work.
When someone has that kind of star power and seems genuinely so likable, anything they do inspires a mixed bag of praise, trolling, and some personal projection. When a sexist, ageist troll pontificates over whether Reeves is dating someone too old to give him children, that feels more like an internal issue than one that needs to be ejected into the thoughtsphere of Twitter. (And whether women bear children for people, or couples choose to have them or not is another conversation we truly don’t need to be having just because Keanu stepped onto a red carpet with a person of the female persuasion).
There were also plenty of well-meaning tweets attempting to compare his perfectly appropriate relationship with others that the general public considers “inappropriate” because of drastic age differences. It feels like trying to force a separate conversation that has nothing to do with Reeves by using him as the standard of all that is good and worthy. “He dates within a respectable age bracket, let us once again condemn all who do not adhere to the Reeves standard of dating!”
The conversation people want to have about age differences is a valid one, but is often painted with a broad stroke denigrating the older man in the relationship (sometimes with good reason! Peter Cook was an unfaithful cad!), but the general commentary takes away the agency of the younger woman and negates her intelligence — as if she’s not fully aware of the decision she’s making for her own personal reasons. But the larger point is that this has nothing to do with Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant. They are adults who appeared blissfully happy on a red carpet and did not ask to be receptacles for your anger toward couples with much larger age gaps!
I think we should admit that this is just a public reflection of our own collective, unrequited crush. We don’t care about Keanu’s girlfriend’s age or her gray hair. We are seeing the man we’ve revered for decades smiling adoringly at a significant other for the first time since the late '90s. He’s wrested away the fantasy that he is waiting for us, forever single, waiting to be loved in a way that only we can provide. This amalgam in our minds of his dashing and confident Speed character crossed with his sensitive, intelligent, and sexy Something’s Gotta Give character (and even his Always Be My Maybe character), alongside the genuine and sincere real life Keanu that we catch glimpses of in interviews, has also dealt with unimaginable tragedy in his personal life, and deserves happiness.
I’ve always remembered how a teen magazine in the early ‘90s dropped that “Keanu” meant “cool breeze” in Hawaiian, and how we all swooned in middle school over that fascinating information. We dreamed about the rebellious Scott Favor after watching My Private Idaho, loved the complicated Johnny Utah in Point Break, wanted him to do a million movies with Sandra Bullock. And in the past couple years, he’s become our lovable (somewhat anti) hero as the heartbroken and vengeful John Wick. But stop putting him on a pedestal to solve all the woes of what’s wrong with Hollywood (and society at large) by projecting all your unprocessed feelings about other relationships and Hollywood ageism and sexism. Just let him keep being excellent. And as a longtime fan of his? May he and Grant be excellent to each other.