Christopher Reeve’s Son Had A Tumultuous Childhood – And Now He’s Revealed The Heartbreak He Endured

Christopher Reeve, the man forever associated with Superman, left a very powerful legacy behind him when he died in 2004. He also left three children: William, Alexandra and Matthew. Now William, the actor’s only child with the late singer and actress Dana Morosini, is an adult and an accomplished sports journalist. But losing both parents was naturally very difficult for him, and it’s both sad and touching to hear how he coped.

Christopher Reeve met Dana Morosini in 1987, when he was already an established actor famous for playing Superman. He had also just ended a serious relationship with long-term partner, Gae Exton. But while Christopher was instantly enchanted with Dana, Dana was less impressed with him to begin with. In particular, she thought that the star would be full of his own self-importance; Christopher won her over pretty quickly, however.

And Christopher and Dana would eventually begin a romance. The two even decided to marry, in a small and intimate ceremony in April 1992. Christopher already had two children with Exton, Alexandra and Matthew, and so they became Dana’s stepchildren. Then, in June 1992 the couple’s own son came along. They named him William – though he would also go by Will.

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However, while Will was still young, tragedy struck. In 1995 Christopher suffered a horrific horse-riding accident. Subsequently, as the actor lay in hospital, he was told that two vertebrae in his neck were irreparably broken; as a consequence, he would most likely be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life. The star would have to change every aspect of how he lived, then.

But even in the face of such devastating injuries, Christopher ended up thriving. The actor decided to use his fame to increase public understanding of disability issues, eventually becoming the chair of the American Paralysis Association. He also started his own charity, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

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During that time, the actor was also a father to Will, who was still very young. And despite his injuries, Christopher was still able to take an active part in raising his son. “My dad taught me how to ride a bike just by telling me how to do it,” Will told E! News in 2016. “The power of that connection sticks with me as an inspirational thing today.”

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Sadly, Christopher’s health deteriorated as time went on. And in 2004 things became critical. On October 9 of that year, Christopher took a dose of antibiotics for a sepsis infection. However, he then suffered a cardiac arrest and slipped into unconsciousness. Tragically, he died the following day. But one of the last things the dedicated father did was to go and watch a hockey game in which Will was playing.

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And despite her grief, Dana released a touching statement after her husband’s untimely death. “There was much [Christopher] still wanted to accomplish. There was much his children had yet to learn from him. It is completely unfair, but life can be that way,” she said. Still, she also added, “These nine and a half years for our family have been blessed with joy, laughter and lessons learned.”

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Will was only 11 years old when his father died, which is surely far too young to lose a parent. But devastatingly, that wasn’t the end of his troubles. Just one year later, his mother discovered that she had lung cancer, despite having never been a smoker. And while, at first, the tumor Dana had seemed to be getting smaller after treatment, the cancer ultimately took its hold. Dana died on March 6, 2006.

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Before Dana passed away, though, she had made arrangements for Will’s adoption by friends of the family. Will therefore grew to adulthood in New York, still harboring a keen interest in sports. And after some time working as a production assistant for Good Morning America, he joined ESPN as a contributor. In addition, he worked for the foundation that his father had helped spearhead.

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Then, in March 2018 Will wrote a piece for Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper in which he praised the foundation’s work. “I have watched in awe as people regained critical functions once thought to be lost. [This is all] thanks to the therapies offered through [our] NeuroRecovery Network to retrain the spinal cord to ‘remember’ the pattern of walking,” he wrote.

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The article was also a call to action for more work to be done; Will even quoted his father at the end of the piece. “‘It comes down to us. We have the power to make an enormous difference,’” he said, recounting his dad’s words. Will then wrote, “We need to mobilize the next generation of advocates to carry out this mission. There are many ways to help, both big and small; [and] the rewards are life-changing.”

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Unsurprisingly, Will talks about his parents frequently. And in July 2018, he evoked his mom and dad again when he published a touching “Note to Self” on the CBS News website. Speaking to himself as a 13-year-old boy, Will described his “lowest point” – the moment when his mother passed away, leaving him an orphan. “You’re in a hospital room in New York City, and you’ve just said your final goodbye to Mom,” he wrote.

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Will went on, “You’re 13. She’s 44. Lung cancer. Never smoked. Gone, just like Dad, who died a year and a half ago, which at the time was the lowest you had been. Now you’re at a new bottom, and you’re terrified and confused and just so sad. But! Here’s the good news: this is the low point. There’s nowhere to go but up, and that’s exactly where you’re headed.”

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And Will continued, “You will always remember the good stuff. Dad in the driveway, teaching you how to ride a bike just by telling you what to do. You trusting him so fully that you just do it. Mom’s singing voice filling the air with sweetness at home and in the car to school.”

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In the piece, Will also spoke about his struggles. “There will be times when you will feel lost. You will feel insecure, less about the braces and bad haircut you have now and more about the choices you make, the direction of your career, missteps in relationships and social settings. But don’t worry,” he said.

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And in the article, Will talked about how much his parents had meant to the world in general. “To millions of people, they embody love and loyalty, commitment and courage, perseverance and hope,” he wrote. “You’ll make them proud by honoring your family name – not by using it for special treatment but by living a life worthy of its legacy.”

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In fact, Will has already attempted to carry on his parents’ legacy by working for the foundation that bears their names. “I hope that my family’s and the Reeve Foundation’s reputation and resources bolster the spirits and fortunes of anyone I encounter,” he told sports writer Jeff Pearlman in June 2018.

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Meanwhile, great strides are being made in curing paralysis. And there’s a quote from Christopher on the official Reeve Foundation website that seemingly sums up the charity’s hopes. It reads, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

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And Will has a similarly optimistic take on life, it seems. “You know that in the years ahead, you will face no obstacle greater than the one you are starting to overcome right now,” he wrote in the letter to his younger self. “And no matter which way your journey leads, mom and dad will be there with you every step of the way.”

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