LOS ANGELES – Canadian actor Keanu Reeves was as startled as the rest of the Internet by fellow actor Matthew Perry’s insults in his new memoir.
Media outlet Us Weekly says The Matrix (1999) star thought the comments “came out of left field”, according to an anonymous source.
In his memoir – Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing, which landed this week – Perry mentions 58-year-old Reeves a couple of times.
The first came in a portion about the death of their mutual friend and actor River Phoenix. Reeves and Phoenix were co-stars in the drama My Own Private Idaho (1991). Phoenix died in 1993 at the age of 23.
“River was a beautiful man inside and out – too beautiful for this world, it turned out. It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down. Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?” wrote Perry, 53.
In a later section about comedian Chris Farley, who died of a drug overdose in 1997 at the age of 33, Perry brought up Reeves once again. “I punched a hole through (Friends co-star) Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out.”
He once again lamented the seeming unfairness of Farley’s death even though “Keanu Reeves (still) walks among us”.
The comments led to intense backlash on social media, where Reeves is much beloved.
Even fellow Hollywood celebrities weighed in on the matter.
“Personally thrilled that Keanu Reeves walks among us,” wrote West Side Story (2021) actress Rachel Zegler on Twitter.
Actress Lynda Carter, who played superhero Wonder Woman in the eponymous 1975 to 1979 television series, added: “Come on... Keanu Reeves is like one of those frozen cakes. Nobody doesn’t like him.”
Perry was later forced to issue a statement apologising for his comments. “I’m actually a big fan of Keanu. I just chose a random name, my mistake. I apologise. I should have used my own name instead,” he said in the statement, published by media outlet People.
Elsewhere in the memoir, Perry delves into his struggles with addiction, and the meteoric reception to his television comedy, Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004.