Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara
Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara
Photo by AFP

Oscar winner Joaquin Pheonix and his fiancée, actor Rooney Mara, have become parents to a baby boy, their first child together. The couple has named their son after Phoenix’s late older brother, actor River Phoenix, who died in 1993 at the age of 23 of a drug overdose.

After winning his first Oscar for 'Joker', Phoenix got emotional and quoted a lyric by his late brother River: "Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow."

According to US magazine, the news was shared by Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky during a Q&A at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival on Sunday, post the screening of his documentary Gunda, executive produced by Pheonix.

“He just got a baby, by the way, his name was a beautiful son called River, so he cannot promote it now”, Kossakovsky said when quizzed about the Joker star.

It was confirmed in May that Mara, 35, and Phoenix, 45, are expecting their first child together.

It was on the sets of the science-fiction romance "Her" in 2012, where the two met for the first time, and since then their love life started blossoming. Phoenix told a magazine that he initially believed Rooney disliked him while making the movie only to later discover that she liked him but was just shy.

In 2016, the two worked together again on "Mary Magdalene". In the film, Rooney played the leading role, Phoenix played Jesus. It was during this production that the dating rumours started.

Phoenix and Rooney stunned everyone when they made a public debut as a couple at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival in 2017. Rooney held his hand during the closing ceremony and was the first to congratulate him when he won the Best Actor prize for his role in the grim thriller "You Were Never Really There".

According to, Phoenix revealed in an interview with New York Times that he is in a live-in relationship with Rooney and the two enjoyed meditating, relaxing with their dogs, and watching Netflix.

In 2019, more frequent public outings followed. Early in the year, Phoenix and Mara were spotted stepping out together in Los Angeles. The pair maintained a low profile, both rocking sunglasses during their walk about town. That same month, they also attended artist Michael Muller's exhibit Heaven. Phoenix and Mara were co-chairs of the exhibit.

Animal lovers both, they made a joint appearance at the National Animal Rights Day demonstration. Both held dead birds in their hands during a peaceful demonstration walk and wore T-shirts that read: "Our planet. Theirs too."

Phoenix explained, "She's the only girl I ever looked up on the internet. We were just friends, email friends. I'd never done that. Never looked up a girl online."

Mara became engaged to Phoenix in July 2019. Rumours of their potential engagement had swirled for months when Rooney was spotted numerous times wearing an engagement ring.

With inputs from Agencies

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