When film star Christopher Reeve met his wife, Dana Reeve, he already had a thriving career. The couple had a wonderful life together until he got involved in an accident that changed his life forever.
Superhero movie star Christopher Reeve first spotted his future spouse, Dana Reeve, at a late-night cabaret show where she sang for the evening.
Christopher was instantly charmed by the actress, whose friend strongly believed that he was, in fact, "thunderstruck" when he first laid eyes on her.
Actor Christopher Reeve with his wife Dana Morosini during the launch of the Planet Hollywood restaurant in London's West End. / Source: Getty Images
The said pal was seated next to Christopher, and he introduced himself to Dana after the show. However, she was skeptical about going out with the New Yorker and thought he would be arrogant, saying:
"He's going to be an arrogant, stuck-up movie star idiot, and I don't want anything to do with him!"
But sooner or later, Dana got attracted to Christopher, and they started dating. Four years into their relationship, she wanted a commitment from the "Superman" actor.
Actress Dana Reeve and her husband Christopher Reeve during "The Spirit of Liberty" Awards Dinner & the 10th Anniversary Celebration of People for the American Way at Waldorf Hotel in New York City, New York. / Source: Getty Images
There was only one problem, Christopher did not believe in marriage. Author Christopher Anderson revealed in his book that chronicled the couple's love story titled "Somewhere in Heaven" that Dana's parents had been married for 45 years.
In contrast, Christopher came from a broken family. His parents divorced and remarried. He had siblings and gained half-siblings, hence his non-belief in matrimony.
Dana, a New Jersey native, wanted to end their relationship because of it, but Christopher convinced her to stay while he went to therapy to work on his issues. The director eventually got over his fear of marriage.
Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve during "Running On Empty" New York City premiere at Beekman Theatre in New York City, New York. / Source: Getty Images
Dana fell pregnant with the couple's one and only son together, Will, and they tied the knot in April 1992. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a new beginning for the duo to start their lives together ended in tragedy.
In 1995, Christopher suffered a neck injury after falling off a horse during a competition. Consequently, he spent the last years of his life paralyzed from the waist down.
DANA SAVED HER HUSBAND'S LIFE
A headshot Christopher Reeve as Superman in a scene from the film, "Superman," in 1978. / Source: Getty Images
The pain Christopher felt became unbearable, and his journey to recovery seemed like a long road. As such, he wanted to give up on his life.
In an appearance on the TV program "20/20," the activist shared what he thought about when he regained consciousness, saying:
"When I first was coming out of, you know, unconsciousness, and you have the thought, 'Maybe it's not worth everybody's trouble.'"
Director and activist Christopher Reeve pictured laying down on a couch in 1986. / Source: Getty Images
Christopher revealed that during that difficult moment, he told his wife, "Maybe we should let me go." But Dana remained steadfast in the hope that he would get better.
She did everything she could to keep her and her husband going through the harrowing experience. The singer said to her spouse, "I still love you," and made a pact with him. Dana encouraged Christopher to keep fighting for a bit longer:
"Hold on for two years. If you still feel this way two years from now, we will consider this question."
Christopher Reeve posing while seated on a staircase with his dog. / Source: Getty Images
However, that was her way of buying time because she had a higher purpose for them as a couple, said Anderson. Dana's words to Christopher made him see a reason to keep living.
She assured him of support in whatever he decided to do because it was ultimately up to him to make a conscious decision about his fate. The "Everyone's Hero" star assured her spouse that she would be right by his side no matter what and uttered the words that saved him:
"You're still you. And I love you."
CHRISTOPHER AND DANA'S SHINGLE-STYLE HOME
Christopher Reeve pictured in his home office on October 18, 2002 in Bedford, New York. / Source: Getty Images
Christopher decided to keep fighting for his recovery. He and his beautiful wife and their child, Will, stayed in a 16-room mansion with three levels.
Situated in Pound Ridge, the "Rear Window" star purchased the shingle-style abode on Great Hills Farm Road after being built in 1992.
The property consisted of seven bedrooms, five-and-a-half baths, a gourmet country kitchen, two offices, a game room, a gym, a movie theater, and servants' quarters.
Christopher Reeve photographed in the lounge area of his home in upstate New York. / Source: Getty Images
The grounds included a manicured lawn with only specimen trees and water views. It had no swimming pool or a tennis court. When the Westchester home went on the market in June 2006 with an asking price of $2.95 million, a neighbor revealed to the New York Post:
"Dana decorated the home beautifully. It was bright, cheerful, and elegant."
Christopher Reeve and his dog Chamois pictured at the front entrance of his White Plains home on September 5, 2002 in New York. / Source: Getty Images
After her husband was paralyzed, the house was reconfigured with wider doors and ramps, including a first-floor main bedroom and exercise room.
One of the home offices included a gray carpet with a wooden table against the wall. The blue-painted room had French windows that brought natural light to the space. Hung up on the wall were family portraits and a wall clock.
Barbara Walters with Christopher Reeve at his upstate New York home on September 7, 2002. / Source: Getty Images
The lounge area featured wooden floors with a rug and armchairs. There was a fireplace and lamps on each side of the window frame.
On the home's front entrance were large trees and pot plants placed on the veranda, where Christopher could be seen with the family dog outside.
CHRISTOPHER SUCCUMBED TO HIS INJURIES
Christopher Reeve posing with his wife, Dana Reeve, and their son, Will, after being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 15 April, 1997 in Lost Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images
Sadly, the activist who fought for research to find a cure for paralysis died from heart failure in October 2004 at age 52. Three years after the horse-riding accident, The Wall Street Journal interviewed Christopher, and he talked about having a positive mindset when going through life's adversities:
"It's essential to have a balance between acceptance and denial. On the one hand, I have to accept that I'm in a wheelchair. Otherwise, I'd be depressed all day."
On the other, he asked himself what it would take to get out of the wheelchair because "it's unacceptable." Christopher and his family found solace in the 400,000 letters they received after the accident.
Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve with their son Will during Christopher Reeve Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. / Source: Getty Images
Those individuals had gone through tragedies and overcame them by being positive. He and Dana also heard from people they had known in their childhoods, "even people I hadn't talked to since third grade," said "The Aviator" star.
Christopher was so uplifted by the letters that he asked Dana to read him more of them, adding he wanted to die with those memories.
Dana had cared for her husband for nine years before he passed away. She also lost her mother during that period. In addition, the activist also learned that she had lung cancer and had to face the harsh truth that her then-13-year-old son Will would be orphaned.
Christopher Reeve with Dana Reeve and son Will at SuperSkate 2001, a celebrity charity ice hockey game at Madison Square Garden. / Source: Getty Images
The mother of one described her condition as a great challenge but as a window too. After caring for her spouse for so long, she had not entirely understood what it was like for him until her battle with cancer.
Dana noted that even though the disease was different from paralysis, it had the same effects that would severely impact a family's dynamic.
Christopher Reeve, son Will and Dana Reeve arriving at the 3rd Annual Tribeca Film Festival "House of D" premiere at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. / Source: Getty Images
The "Steel Magnolias" star told ABC News in 2004 that she had promised Christopher when they married that she would love him and would be with him in sickness and in health, which she did. She further explained another vow:
"But there's another vow that I need to amend today. I promised to love, honor, and cherish till death do us apart, well I can't do that. Because I will love, honor, and cherish him forever."
Two years after her husband's death, Dana succumbed to cancer at 44. Will, the couple's son, remembered his father more than fifteen years after his death.
Will Reeve speaking at The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation "Magical Evening" Gala on November 15, 2018 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images
While attending the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation's "A Magical Evening" gala in New York City in November 2019, the news reporter shared with People how he remembers his parents.
Will was only three years old when his dad was paralyzed and was only 11 when he passed. "I think his legacy is never going to go away and think that is a responsibility that I feel, to carry his and my mother's legacy on for the rest of my life and hopefully beyond that," he said.
Will added that the foundation was the only tangible way for his parents' legacies to continue to live on. He stated Christopher impacted the lives of millions of people he touched.
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