One of Hollywood’s most private couples has reportedly become parents. Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara recently welcomed their first son together, naming him River. Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky, who directed Gunda, a documentary Phoenix executive produced, spilled the news.
Kossakovsky explained Phoenix’s absence at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival on Sunday by revealing the actor’s new arrival. “He just got a baby by the way,” Kossakovsky reportedly said on stage. “A beautiful son called River.” The baby’s name pays tribute to Phoenix’s late older brother, who died in 1993 at age 23.
Phoenix and Mara in January 2019.
Rooney and Phoenix have yet to confirm their son’s birth, which is on par for this quiet couple. They managed to keep her entire pregnancy low-key, with Us Weekly reporting that the couple was expecting in May when Mara was “about six months along.” Rumors that the pair was engaged began to swirl in May 2019 when Mara was spotted wearing a huge diamond ring on that finger.
The couple first met filming 2013’s Her, in which they played a divorced couple. According to an October 2019 Vanity Fair profile of Phoenix, he initially thought Mara “despised him” while shooting, before realizing “she was just shy and actually liked him too.” They went on to co-star in both Mary Magdalene and Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot in 2018, right around the time they made their red carpet debut together at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
One of Phoenix and Mara’s final public appearances before welcoming River was at the 2020 Oscars in February, where he won Best Actor for his performance in Joker. He ended his acceptance speech by honoring his late brother: “When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.'”