When Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara first met on the set of Her in 2013, they didn’t start dating immediately, per The Sun. But, as fate would have it, they worked together again on the set of the 2018’s Mary Magdalene and their romance took off from there. The pair later became engaged in July 2019. But, according to Vulture, in May 2020, sources revealed that Phoenix and Mara were expecting a baby. The couple has always been famously private and avoids talking about their personal lives, so it’s no surprise that it wasn’t Phoenix or Mara who broke the news when the baby was born.
Instead, the news came from Russian director Victor Kossakovsky, who told audiences in late September 2020 that Phoenix and Mara welcomed a baby boy, per BuzzFeed. Kossakovsky was at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival promoting his film Gunda, which Phoenix executive produced, where he explained why his partner wasn’t by his side to promote the new flick. Kossakovsky told the audience that Phoenix just welcomed a “beautiful son called River.” While this is such exciting news, the name River is actually really significant for Phoenix. Keep reading to find out why.
Joaquin Phoenix credits his brother River for sparking his acting career
Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara welcomed a baby boy in late September 2020 and named him River, according to BuzzFeed. So why is this name so special?
Baby River is named after Joaquin’s late brother, River Phoenix (pictured), who tragically passed away in 1993 from a drug overdose, according to Hello! The late River was an actor and a songwriter for the band Aleka’s Attic, so when Joaquin won Best Actor for Joker at the Academy Awards in February 2020, he quoted his brother in his acceptance speech: “When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said: ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.'”
In fact, it was River who urged Joaquin to get into acting. According to Variety, River sat the then-teenage Joaquin down to watch the film Raging Bull. Joaquin said, “And the next day he woke me up and he made me watch it again. And he said, ‘You’re going to start acting again. This is what you’re going to do.'” Joaquin added of his brother River: “He didn’t ask me, he told me. And I am indebted to him for that because acting has given me such an incredible life.” And now he and Mara are surely dedicated to giving their son River an equally incredible life. Congrats to the happy family!
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