​The couple live in the Hollywood hills with their son. | 22 Words

Joaquin Phoenix has been the whole talk of Hollywood since his leading role in Joker.

But his personal life has certainly been put under the microscope since his step into the limelight, and he hasn't made his vegan lifestyle a secret at all. However, he says that he's not about to force it onto his son...

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It's time to remove the makeup...

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Joaquin Phoenix has been known for the past few years as The Joker, but there's a lot more about the actor than what we certainly expected.

Joaquin comes from a family of eccentric names...

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Born in Peurto Rico on October 28th, 1974, Phoenix was the third of 5 children - River, Rain, Summer, and Liberty.

His parents were free spirits...

via: Twitter

John and Arlyn Bottom, crossed paths while Arlyn - who later changed her name to Heart - was hitchhiking across Mexico and John picked her up in his Volkswagen. The pair spent years traveling all over the U.S. and South America as missionaries - spreading the word of Children of God, a religious cult.

His acting career began back in 1986...

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The forty-six-year-old actor is well known for his colorful characters with disturbed backgrounds, such as the warped Roman emperor Commodus in Gladiator, the sex-obsessed alcoholic veteran in The Master, and even the man who falls in love with a computer in Her.

He has been previously branded as the "recluse of Hollywood"...

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In 2005, Joaquin checked into rehab to be treated for alcoholism, and his reserved and shy demeanor gave him an unusual and quirky character.

It appears that these personality traits came from somewhere...

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It has been that Joaquin is drawn to playing disturbed characters, such as The Joker, because his past is riddled with tragedy and is haunted by demons that he still struggles with to this very day.

The religious cult that his parents were a part of began to raise suspicions...

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The Children of God cult strongly believed that in order to praise and love God, members must be open with having sex with one another - regardless of gender or age. "It actively encouraged sexual activities among minors as young as two or three years old," an ex-member of the cult said in an interview.

The cult that Joaquin's family were a part of held some terrible secrets...

via: Twitter

It later emerged that the cult encouraged sex between children and adults, including group sex and incest.

Some of the family members made some bold accusations...

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Joaquin's late eldest brother, River, who died in 1993, once claimed to have lost his virginity aged 4, although the Joker star is adamant that his parents didn’t know about the inside goings-on of the cult.

He didn't blame his parents for the things he was exposed to...

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"It's guilt by association. I think it was really innocent on my parents' part," Joaquin said. "They really believed [in the religious aspect], but I don't think most people see it that way.

"I think my parents thought they'd found a community that shared their ideals - cults rarely advertise themselves as such. The moment my parents realized there was something more to it, they got out."

When the family left the cult, they had barely any income.

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They were all vegans and were struggling to live in poverty. The family moved to Florida and this is where they changed their surname to Phoenix - to commemorate their new lives and to symbolize their rise from the ashes.

Joaquin was forced to busk the streets to provide for his family...

via: Twitter

But it wasn't long until the talented siblings were scouted by agents and had their acting careers kick-started.

And despite Joaquin's incredible success...

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He has continued to passionately advocate the vegan lifestyle.

Joaquin won an Academy Award in 2020 for Joker...

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And in his acceptance speech, he decided to point his beliefs as a vegan.

"We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby," he said. "Even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. And then we take her milk that's intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal."

The actor was heavily praised for using this opportunity to speak about what he is passionate about...

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And Joaquin also stressed the importance of making small changes that will not only save animals but will also save the planet.

Joaquin even rescued a calf and her mother from slaughter just days after his acceptance speech.

via: LA Animal Save

He named the cow Liberty and her calf was named Indigo. The fortunate animals were transported to their new home at an animal preserve ran by the nonprofit organization Farm Sanctuary.

Joaquin had a baby of his own in September of last year.

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Him and his wife, actress Rooney Mara are both vegan and animal rights activists, however they have come forth saying they won't be forcing the lifestyle on their son, River.

Phoenix told the Sunday Times: "Well, certainly I would hope that [he is vegan], but I'm not going to impose my belief on my child. I don't think that's right."

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"I'm going to educate him about the reality. I'm not going to indoctrinate him with the idea that McDonald's have a Happy Meal because there's nothing f***ing happy about that meal."

"So I'm not going to perpetuate the lie, but I'm also not going to force him to be vegan. I'll support him. That's my plan."

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"And I'm not going to tell him that it's OK to read books about all the wonderful little farm animals, and they say 'oink oink oink' and 'moo moo moo,' and not tell him that that's what a hamburger is."

​The couple lives in the Hollywood Hills with their son.

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Joaquin has a disdain for celebrity culture and rarely grants interviews. He claims to live a simple life. He enjoys meditating, watching documentaries, reading scripts, and taking karate classes, for which he is a black belt.

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