Keanu Reeves Had ‘Conflicts’ With School Staff Before Dropping Out

Keanu Reeves is one of the most respected yet humble actors in Hollywood today. He has portrayed beloved characters in many popular films. The star is even known as an introvert, according to co-stars

Fans admire Reeves for his philanthropy and sense of humor, along with internet memes of him. You might know him for hit films such as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Matrix, and John Wick. But you might be surprised to learn the successful actor never finished high school. In fact, he once revealed his school life wasn’t so simple. 

Keanu Reeves began his acting career in the ’80s

A young Keanu Reeves, with a wispy bowl haircut and a red henley shirt, poses in a photo studio
A young Keanu Reeves | Aaron Rapoport/CORBIS OUTLINE/Corbis via Getty Images

RELATED: Keanu Reeves Once Took a Paycut of Millions of Dollars to Work Alongside Al Pacino

The son of a costume designer and performer, Keanu Reeves was born on September 2, 1964. The actor has described his younger self as a private person growing up. He developed an interest in theater and participated in multiple play productions. 

In 1984, Reeves made his acting debut in an episode of the TV show Hangin’ In. But his big break came after he starred in the 1986 crime movie River’s Edge. Critics praised his performance, and soon Reeves snagged a starring role in the soon-to-be cult classic Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He went on to star in Replicas and To the Bone

However, one of Reeves’s most iconic films is The Matrix. He played the lead character, Neo. The film became a massive hit, and the actor won a couple of awards for his performance. He reprised the role for sequels. 

Another notable Reeves franchise is John Wick. He plays the title character, a retired hitman. After criminals kill his dog and steal his car in the first film, John seeks retribution. Each film in the series shows him exacting revenge on various foes. The fourth film in the franchise is in production. 

Keanu Reeves dropped out of high school

According to the Daily Mail, Keanu Reeves dropped out of high school before becoming famous. But it wasn’t for bad grades. The future superstar said he often got in trouble with teachers. Reeves was 17 years old when he quit school. 

“I had conflicts and run-ins with the staff. The principal and I didn’t see eye to eye. I was one of those ‘Why?’ kids — I asked too many questions about everything. I couldn’t stop even if it got me into trouble,” Reeves told the publication. Three years later, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time. Though not everyone finds success after dropping out of school, the now-56-year-old star continues to enjoy celebrity. 

Keanu Reeves revealed in the Daily Mail interview that he attended four high schools in the span of five years. He opened up about his experience and mentioned how he was on the chess team. The star performed well academically and excelled in acting. 

Keanu Reeves isn’t the only celebrity to drop out of school

RELATED: Keanu Reeves Once Revealed He Likes to Be Alone On His Birthday: ‘I Went Out to Dinner By Myself’

Reeves attended the Etobicoke School of the Arts. During his time there, he explained he didn’t feel like he fit in. He said, “I wanted my autonomy, and if you wanted to impose something on me, then you and I would have a problem.” 

At the age of 16, the school expelled Reeves. He felt upset when he received a letter informing him of his expulsion. About a year later, he dropped out. Keanu Reeves didn’t return to school to obtain a degree. Instead, the aspiring actor took acting classes at night in hopes of getting work in the entertainment industry. He isn’t the only celebrity to not fit into traditional schooling.

Jennifer Lawrence dropped out of school because she felt she wasn’t the best student. But her decision to drop out to pursue acting was clearly the right choice for the talented actor. Johnny Depp left school at 15 to pursue dreams of being a rockstar, which led to his now wildly successful acting career. Hilary Swank also dropped out of school, and despite her success, she has admitted to regretting the decision. Clearly, though, school isn’t always right for everyone, as these actors built great careers outside of the classroom.