Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves and other Hollywood legends whove suffered tragedy

Film fans have been left reeling after the news Hollywood star Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after being diagnosed with the brain condition aphasia.

The disorder affects his ability to understand language – something fundamental for his profession.

Acting icons including Glen Campbell, Dick Clark, Emilia Clarke, Julia Harris Terry Jones, Patricia Neal, Sharon Stone, Randy Travis and Kirk Douglas have also been diagnosed with aphasia in over the years.

He’s known for his action hero roles such as in Die Hard but many tough guy actors and actresses on screen have suffered tragedy and heartbreak, as Daily Star reveals…

Keanu Reeves

He starred in Speed and The Matrix but these days, Reeves, 57, is probably best known for playing assassin John Wick. But the Canadian star has faced more than his share of hardship.

His father Samuel abandoned him and his mother when he was three and in 1993, his close pal River Phoenix died from a drug overdose aged 23.

In 1999, as The Matrix brought him further fame, he and girlfriend Jennifer Syme lost their daughter in the final stages of pregnancy. Then 18 months after that, Syme was killed in a car accident. Reeves, who was a pallbearer at her funeral, said he found it “very, very difficult to cope” after her death but has now found happiness with long-time pal Alexandra Grant

Dolph Lundgren

He made it big as Ivan Drago in 1985’s Rocky IV but the Swedish actor then spent years stuck doing straight-to-video films.

His marriage collapsed, and he found himself drinking heavily. It took therapy for Lundgren to understand his demons stemmed from his troubled relationship with dad Karl, who died in 2000.

He revealed: “My dad was very hard on me. He had a bad temper and he took it out on me and my mum up until I was 12 to 13.”

Lundgren, 64, has recently found new professional success playing Gunner Jensen in The Expendables series and is engaged to Norwegian personal trainer Emma Krokdal.

Sylvester Stallone

During the 1980s, he played PTSD-suffering soldier John Rambo, while he launched The Expendables films in 2010. But Sly’s troubles started from birth when a forceps accident left part of his face paralysed, giving him his trademark snarl and slurred speech but also causing him to be targeted by bullies.

He had a tough and poor childhood, ending up in foster care and being expelled from several schools. And Sly, 75, faced heartbreak when his son Sage died unexpectedly in 2012 aged 36 from heart disease.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Terminator star grew up with father Gustav, who was wracked with guilt over the role he played in World War 2 as a member of the Nazi party.

Arnie said: “I was surrounded by broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.

“My father would come home drunk once or twice a week and scream and hit us and scare my mother.”

Arnie’s brother Meinhard died in a car crash after drink driving in 1971 and his strained relationship with Gustav meant he didn’t attend the funeral. The 74-year-old also split from wife Maria Shriver after admitting fathering a child with their housekeeper.

Jackie Chan

Martial arts legend Jackie, 67, first found success as a stuntman and claimed that led to a dangerous lifestyle, blowing huge sums on booze, cars and sex.

He has admitted fame led to him ignoring his son Jaycee. And in 2014, Jaycee was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to allowing others to use marijuana at his Beijing apartment.

Charlize Theron

The Oscar-winner’s action films include Mad Max: Fury Road. spy flick Atomic Blonde and the Fast & Furious franchise.

But growing up in South Africa was a far cry from her privileged lifestyle today. Her father Charles was an abusive alcoholic. When she was 15 her father rampaged round the house firing his gun until her mother, Gerda, finally shot him dead in self-defence.

Theron, 46, had therapy to deal with her upbringing.

Woody Harrelson

The star of Zombieland and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Harrelson’s father walked out when his son was seven, leaving wife Diane to raise their family on a meagre secretary’s salary.

Charles Harrelson was a notorious professional contract killer with a reputation for ruthlessness that terrified even fellow criminals.

He claimed to have shot John F. Kennedy, and once said a human head was “just a watermelon with hair on it”.

Harrelson Sr was jailed for life for the 1979 murder of a judge but his son, now 60, stuck by him, once saying: “My father is one of the most articulate, well-read, charming people I’ve ever known.”

Moved to a maximum-security prison, Charles died of a heart attack in 2007, aged 69.

Tragic deaths

Several action stars have also died tragically young. Paul Walker, star of the Fast & Furious franchise died in a 2013 car crash aged 40, while Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman died from cancer in 2020 at the age of 43.

Martial arts star Bruce died just days before his film Enter the Dragon was released in 1973. The official cause of death was swelling of the brain although mystery has surrounded it. He was 32. Meanwhile his son Brandon died in 1994 while filming The Crow aged 28, in an on-set gun accident.

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