Keanu Reeves Slung Chestnuts at His Teachers as a Kid

Keanu Reeves is known for being one of the most likable stars in Hollywood. He’s never been involved in any public scandals, and he always seems to be respectful to his colleagues and fans.

Growing up, Reeves wasn’t much of a troublemaker either. He was admittedly rambunctious and curious as a child. But Reeves revealed the worst thing he did in his youth was chuck chestnuts at his teachers. 

Reeves grew up in Canada

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Reeves moved around a lot as a young child. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon. But after his parents’ divorce, the actor and his mom moved to Sydney, Australia, then to New York City before landing in Toronto when he was 8-years-old.

Reeves lived in Ontario, where he attended four different high schools, until his late teens. He eventually obtained a green card through his father and moved to Los Angeles, where he pursued a career in acting. 

The worst Keanu Reeves remembers doing as a kid was throwing chestnuts at teachers

In a 2021 feature for Esquire, the actor revealed that he was a latchkey kid who hung out with other home-alone kids in his Yorkville neighborhood. His street was lined with chestnut trees. So when the hard-shelled fruits would fall, the kids would crack them open and have chestnut fights.

Keanu Reeves, cast, extras appearing in the ABC tv series 'The Magical World of Disney', episode 'Young Again'.
Keanu Reeves, cast, extras appearing in the ABC tv series ‘The Magical World of Disney’, episode ‘Young Again’ | Gail Harvey /American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images

After living a somewhat sheltered life in Toronto, Reeves found the fast life of LA to be a lot wilder than what he was used to. And in a ‘90s chat with Interview Magazine, the John Wick star suggested those chestnut fights were probably the worst of his childhood shenanigans.

“When I see stuff in L.A. now I realize how safe and sheltered my upbringing was,” Reeved told the outlet. “We didn’t even do graffiti, you know? We’d build go-carts called Fireball 500. I mean we did sling chestnuts at teachers’ heads, and in grade eight hash started to come around, and LSD kinda.”

He was expelled from high school for being too curious

Reeves was a good student growing up. But his curious nature and unique perspectives got him expelled from school.

“I went to four different high schools in five years,” Reeves told the Daily Mail in 2008. “I was OK academically, good at English, and creative writing, I was on the chess team.”

The Matrix star ended up going to a performing arts high school. But even there, Reeves’ penchant for questioning authority didn’t bode well.

“It was a very small school and I guess I didn’t fit in,” Reeves recalled. “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.”

Keanu Reeves appearing in the ABC tv series 'The Magical World of Disney', episode 'Young Again'.
Keanu Reeves appearing in the ABC tv series ‘The Magical World of Disney’, episode ‘Young Again’ | Gail Harvey /American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images

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“I wanted my autonomy, “ he continued. “And if you wanted to impose something on me, then you and I would have a problem.”

But despite his conflicts, Reeves wanted to stay in school. So when he learned of the expulsion, he was pretty upset.

“It’s a terrible letter to receive, saying you can’t come back to school next year,” Reeves suggested. “Getting asked to leave was very upsetting.”