Should Keanu Reeves really be called a 'hero' for dating a 46-year-old woman?

Reeves and girlfriend Alexandra Grant. Image via Getty Images.

Keanu Reeves’s relationship is continuing to make headlines nearly 10 days after his red carpet “debut” with Alexandra Grant.

Earlier this month, the 55-year-old began trending on social media for being photographed with his 46-year-old artist girlfriend at the LACMA Art + Film Gala presented by Gucci. Media outlets jumped on the chance to report the couple’s first outing as a couple, seemingly forgetting that the pair had already made two previous red carpet appearances as a couple, and had been photographed several times around Los Angeles.

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While Reeves is notoriously private about his personal life, it is the first time in decades that the “John Wick” star has given the public some indication of his romantic status. Aside from Grant and some rumoured relationships with fellow actresses, Reeves’s last known partner was production assistant Jennifer Syme.

Reeves and Grant in May 2019. Image via Getty Images.

In 1998, Reeves and Syme began dating, but their relationship reportedly fell apart after the couple’s daughter Ava was delivered stillborn eight months into Syme’s pregnancy. In 2001, at just 28, Syme was killed in accident after she had been driving under the influence.

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Reeves’s loss combined with his reputation as a well-liked and charitable man, could explain why the public have rejoiced seeing one of the biggest names in film finding happiness. But the preoccupation with Grant’s age as “age-appropriate” despite being nearly a decade his junior has been a cause of celebration that seems tinged with ageism.

Grant is considered “age appropriate” mostly because at first glance, her naturally greyed hair caused many to misjudge her age and prompted some to mistake her for 74-year-old Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren.

“That was very flattering on me, you know, because she’s obviously lovely,” Mirren said during an interview with Entertainment Tonight following the internet’s reaction to the pair. “I do know Keanu very well. He did a film with my husband and he is just the most adorable, lovely person. So she’s a lucky girl and I’m sure that he’s a lucky boy.”

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The hosts of “The View” addressed whether or not Reeves’s relationship was worth dubbing the actor “hero” because he’s dating someone only nine years younger than he is. While some were confused why Reeves was being held up as a “poster child for a good guy,” host Joy Behar believed the public’s reaction had much to do with the common practice of older men in Hollywood dating much younger women.

Dennis Quaid and 26-year-old fiancé, Lauren Savoie. Image via Getty Images.

“Dennis Quade, 65. Engaged to a 26-year-old. Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones ― 25 years. Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin ― 26 year difference. Billy Joel ― 33 years. David Foster and Catherine McPhee ― 34 years,” Behar told the audience. “That’s the difference... You can see why they call this guy a hero when you hear this.”

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Still, it’s hard to ignore the double standard when it comes to age differences in relationships. While Reeves is praised for his “age appropriate” partner, women are often dubbed the predatory “cougar” whenever they choose to date someone even a year or two younger than they are. The Duchess of Sussex was named “The World’s Foremost Cougar” in 2018 by a Singles Society for being only three years older than her husband, Prince Harry.

However, it’s not so easy to paint all Hollywood relationships with the same brush. In 2018, during a taping of Dax Shepard’s podcast “Armchair Expert,” 46-year-old actor Josh Duhamel explained why he was purposely looking to date someone younger.

Meghan Markle, 38, was dubbed a "cougar" for marrying Prince Harry, now 35. Image via Getty Images.

The “Transformers” star, who divorced 44-year-old Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie after eight years of marriage explained to Shepard, “I'm not 30 years old anymore...I'm 45. I want to have more kids...in the next few years. So it's more about finding someone young enough to have kids?”

Duhamel’s previous statement offers insight into why he has currently been linked to 25-year-old model and former beauty queen Audra Mari, but not all male celebrities who date younger women get away without some public scrutiny.

Leonardo DiCaprio. Image via Getty Images.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been the butt of jokes regarding his penchant to only date models in their early 20’s. The 45-year-old actor allegedly has “ambassadors” who attend approach women on his behalf and ask for their business cards whenever DiCaprio sees someone he’s interested in. The “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood...” star has been dating 22-year-old model and actress Camila Morrone for nearly two years.

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DiCaprio’s dating habits have become such fodder, that one Reddit user created a chart of the actor’s dating history to prove that the Oscar-winner has apparently never dated a woman over 25-years-old.

Hollywood has provided countless other examples of famous couples who run the gambit age wise, the biggest takeaway to glean from it all is this: so long as it’s consensual and both parties are of age, who people choose to date is none of anyone’s business.

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