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Earlier this week, Keanu Reeves — a man who has oft been memed for his proclivity for enjoying sandwiches on park benches solo — hit the red carpet with a girlfriend for the first time in years.
Said new girlfriend is Alexandra Grant, an L.A.-based artist. The pair have known each other for at least a decade, collaborating on the books Ode to Happiness (2011) and Shadows (2016). They also co-founded the small art press X Artists’ Books. Naturally, they made their first public appearance as a couple at the LACMA Art + Film Gala this past Saturday.
The photos of the pair holding hands, neither able to suppress a smile, made waves — for multiple reasons.
The notoriously private Reeves is only known to have dated two people during his time in the public spotlight. He was with actress Jennifer Syme, who died in a car accident in 2001, just two years after giving birth to their stillborn daughter. Almost a decade later, he briefly dated the model China Chow.
With a reputation for being incredibly kind and respectful, combined with his well-maintained privacy, Reeves has become something of an internet boyfriend, beloved by many, memed by all. The world, it seems, just wants him to be happy.
But there’s one more reason fans were so enthusiastic about the photos of Reeves and Grant together: The artist has grey hair.
Reeves was immediately praised for having an “age-appropriate” girlfriend in a time when Leonardo DiCaprio’s average cut-off is 24, and the 65-year-old Dennis Quaid announced his engagement to a 26-year-old university student. In fact, name any A-list actor and you’re likely to discover his partner is significantly younger than him. George Clooney? Check! Ryan Reynolds? Check! Jay-Z, Matthew McConaughey, Harrison Ford? Check, check, check! Even in movies, actresses are often at least a decade younger than their on-screen husbands and boyfriends (think Jennifer Lawrence in just about every role).
To be clear, Grant is 46 to Reeves’s 55. Because of her grey hair, many assumed she was actually much older than the actor, with some internet jokes revolving around mistaking her for Helen Mirren. Comedian Whitney Cummings put it best when she tweeted, “The fact that some people are mistaking Keanu Reeves’ age-appropriate girlfriend with Helen Mirren is wild. In Hollywood, if you’re not 24, you might as well be 70.”
Yes, in a way, it does feel surprising to see Reeves dating a woman who is over the age of 24, and not more than 10 years his junior, has grey hair, is not interested in dyeing it, and is not a model. It’s a given that male actors are going to date significantly younger woman. But what feels especially out of place here is the assumption that Grant is much older than she is — or, as Twitter labelled her, a “granny” — simply because she hasn’t dyed her hair.
The reaction to Grant was just as loud as it was to Quaid’s engagement news, and while Reeves may have been praised for finding love, the feedback Grant received was considerably ageist. How many grey hairs must a woman have before talk of her age becomes the hot topic? (For the record, people begin to grey in their early 30s.)
Either way, Grant is still almost a decade younger than Reeves, and is also far more than her hair colour. To consider Reeves a heroic figure for simply dating a woman closer to his age than most of his peers is a reach. The bar, it seems, is so low that the sighting of the pair distracted us from what really matters: Keanu Reeves is happy and, therefore, we should be happy. No more Lonely Keanu. No more Sad Keanu.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019