KEANU BELIEVE IT?

Published on: September 26, 2003

Heartbreaking personal tragedies seem to have turned Keanu Reeves into a sad recluse whose strange behavior rivals legendary millionaire eccentric Howard Hughes. "Keanu has become the ultimate loner," says a worried friend. "With each day he acts more bizarre."

Although the actor earned $30 million for "The

Matrix" films, he dresses in old ragged clothes and walks around in worn-out Hush Puppies shoes held together with tape.

An exec on the set of Reeves' new movie mystery, "Constantine," made a joke recently when the superstar arrived wearing the forlorn footwear, but he didn't take the hint.

"Most people would have gone out and bought a new pair of shoes after the gentle put-down," said a source on the set. "But Keanu showed up the next day wearing the same shoes."

The offbeat hunk dislikes calls and e-mails so much he refuses to own a personal computer or cell phone, sources reveal.

Reeves spends most of his time by himself and even passed his 39th birthday September 2 by eating alone at Dan Tana's restaurant in West Hollywood.

"He sat in one of the red leather booths with a bottle of red wine and a steak looking lost," said an eyewitness. "Some playmates from the Playboy mansion invited him to join their party. But he declined. He seemed so unhappy on a day when he should've been celebrating."

Friends say the string of heartbreaks that has pushed the screen idol into his own private world began after his ex-con father Sam left Keanu's mom Patricia when he was a toddler.

In the '90s the rising star was rocked again when his beloved sister Kim was diagnosed with leukemia.

A few years later, on Christmas Eve 1999, his girlfriend Jennifer Syme, pregnant with a little girl they were going to call Ava, tragically gave birth to a stillborn baby.

Distraught Jennifer plunged into a deep depression. Then, a year later, she was killed in a violent car accident on a Los Angeles street.

"Keanu was devastated," said a close friend.

He became even more withdrawn after his sister Kim's leukemia, which had been in remission, returned recently.

"Her illness pushed him over the edge," added the friend. "He's taken her to the best specialists and beautiful places like Maui and the Isle of Capri in Italy for her to recuperate."