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Joaquin Phoenix' Journey: From Family Tragedy To Finding Happiness

Joaquin Phoenix attends the Joker premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on September 09, 201.

October 7, 2019 - 13:00 / Laura Pérez

The 44-year-old actor is currently earning international praise for his role as "Arthur" in Joker, which was released only a couple of days ago. But in fact, Joaquin Phoenix had to deal with a series of unfortunate events in the past, which include the tragic death of his brother River in the early 1990's

We have seen Joaquin Phoenix in a series of films portraying different characters that always surprise us. His fascinating acting skills make him one of the best actors of all time, but regarding his personal life, the 44-year-old actor had to deal with a couple of unfortunate situations in the past which we are sure that somehow made him stronger, despite the fact that they were not pleasant at all. 

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Joaquin Phoenix has reached really high peaks as an actor, he was awarded, for instance, with the TIFF Tribute Actor Award at the Toronto International Film Festival this year; he is also a Grammy Award winner, and has received three nominations for the Academy Awards, for his work in films like Gladiator, Walk the Line, and The Master. But things in his life have not always been as great as we might think.

Joaquin Phoenix at the Ladder 49 Premiere in 2004

Joaquin Phoenix and the tragic loss of his brother River

In 1993 Joaquin Phoenix witnessed his brother River's death while they were outside a nightclub called The Viper Room; River died from a drug overdose when he was only 23 years old and just when his acting career was rising and he was becoming one of the best actors of his generation. Joaquin has said several times that he tries not to think about his brother's death, but it certainly affected his personal life as well as his professional career, to the extent that it could be said that Joaquin's acting career is some sort of tribute to his late brother, since he was the one who actually convinced him to try his hand at acting. 

A couple of years after River's death, Joaquin Phoenix started to deal with alcoholism and actually checked into rehab in 2005. Back then, his publicist said that the actor was not feeling comfortable with the way he was living his life, and finally decided to ask for help. "I was being an idiot, running around, drinking, trying to screw people, going to stupid clubs," the actor revealed in 2017 during an interview with The new York Times. 

River Phoenix as "James" in the 1993 film The Thing Called Love

Joaquin Phoenix found happiness: He and Rooney Mara are engaged

After overcoming his alcoholism, things just went well for the actor and apart from his major professional achievements, his love life also took a different path and he is currently engaged to his Her co-star Rooney Mara. The couple met while filming the aforementioned movie, and according to Phoenix, in the beginning it seemed that the 34-year-old actress was not interested in him, but good news is that she was only shy and she liked him from the very beginning!

The couple has kept their relationship a little bit low profile, but they have been spotted several times on red carpet events, being one of the most recent times at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Phoenix thanked her for her support after being awarded: “One last thing — somewhere here, I don’t know where, is a filthy dragon, and I want to rip its wings off and fasten a blanket and sleep with it forever. I love you. Thank you,” the actor said.

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara at the premiere of Joker in Los Angeles, California, 2019

What is Joaquin Phoenix doing now?

The actor stars in Joker where he plays the role of the mentally unstable "Arthur," the legendary aspiring comedian who decides to hit back against people who rejected him. Joaquin lost 52 lbs for his role in the film which premiered only a couple of days ago and which is earning him international praise. In September, the film won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice International Film Festival.