Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara just welcomed their first child together. The vegan power couple named their son River in honor of Phoenix’s late brother.
River Phoenix tragically passed away from a drug overdose outside of Los Angeles nightclub Viper Room in 1993. Joaquin and River shared many similarities. The latter was also an actor, an environmentalist, and abstained from eating meat.
During his acceptance speech for Best Actor at this year’s Academy Awards, Joaquin spoke out about the world’s many inequalities.
“I think whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism, or queer rights, or indigenous rights, or animal rights, we are talking about the fight against injustice,” Phoenix said.
He continued: “But human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious. And I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.”
Joaquin closed out his speech by paying tribute to his brother, saying: “When he was seventeen, my brother wrote this lyric, and he said, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.'”
Vegan Power Couple
Mara got engaged to Phoenix last year. The duo reportedly first met while on the set of the 2013 sci-fi romance drama, Her. In the film, Mara portrayed Phoenix’s ex-wife. However, it wasn’t until the two were reunited in 2016 to begin filming Mary Magdalene—in which Mara played Phoenix’s mother—that the couple began dating.
“She’s the only girl I ever looked up on the internet,” Phoenix said of Mara during an interview with Vanity Fair last fall. He added: “We were just friends, email friends. I’d never done that. Never looked up a girl online.”
The vegan couple has been active in their fight for animal rights.
In April, the couple spoke out about factory farming amid COVID-19 and discussed the ongoing backlash against wet markets in an op-ed published in The Washington Post. Some experts believe the pandemic started at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China last December.
“China is hardly the only country where live animal markets and other squalid operations are common,” the couple wrote. “Some 80 of them operate within the five boroughs of New York City alone, according to Slaughter Free NYC, a nonprofit group that opposes them. They are near residences, schools, and public parks.”
Earlier this year, Phoenix rescued a cow and her calf from a slaughterhouse in Southern California, just hours after giving his moving Oscars speech.
The Joker actor urged people to virtually adopt the cow and her calf—which Phoenix named “Liberty” and “Indigo,” respectively—for Mother’s Day. The mother-and-daughter duo now live at Farm Sanctuary in Acton, California.