Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara

Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara Named Their Son River, and Yes, There Is Dust in My Eye

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Joaquin Phoenix has had a long career in Hollywood, but so have other members of his family, including his sister, Summer Phoenix, and of course, their brother, River. So, when news broke that Joaquin Phoenix and his fiancée Rooney Mara had given their new son a familiar name, many around the internet were happy for the couple while also having very emotional reactions to the news.

At a screening for the film Gunda, which Joaquin Phoenix executive produced, director Viktor Kossakovsky revealed that Phoenix would not be in attendance because he and Rooney Mara were celebrating the birth of their son, River. And now, cue the waterworks.

River is an important name for many fans because Joaquin Phoenix’s younger brother River was a rising star in Hollywood before his tragic death on Halloween night of 1993. His death is one that many still talk about because it was a Hollywood tragedy that could have befallen so many in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and we still look to deaths like River’s to understand the darker parts of this industry.

So, when I heard the news that Joaquin Phoenix named his son in honor of his little brother? Well, I burst into tears. (I say this as someone who has a River Phoenix coaster and bracelet just lying around my room currently.) But so did many fans of both Joaquin and River Phoenix on Twitter.

Congratulations to both Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix on the birth of your son!

(image: Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Art of Elysium)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.