Joaquin Phoenix has been the whole talk of Hollywood over the last year for his leading role in Joker. His performance as troubled comedian Arthur Fleck has been praised globally, and his dedication and commitment to becoming the character have been strongly applauded.

But there is a lot more to the actor than what the eye sees. Just over 2 decades ago, his brother, River Phoneix, tragically passed away aged twenty-three and the family have been reluctant to speak about it ever since. Until now...

Keep scrolling to view the clip of the actor sitting down to give a rare interview about his late brother and to learn more about his disturbing upbringing.

It's time to remove the makeup...

via: IMDB

Joaquin Phoenix has been known for the past year as The Joker, but there's a lot more about the actor than what we certainly expected.

Joaquin comes from a family of eccentric names...

via: IMDB

Born in Peurto Rico on October 28th, 1974, Phoenix was the third of 5 children - River, Rain, Summer, and Liberty.

His parents were free spirits...

via: Twitter

John and Arlyn Bottom, crossed paths while Arlyn - who later changed her name to Heart - was hitchhiking across Mexico and John picked her up in his Volkswagen. The pair spent years traveling all over the U.S. and South America as missionaries - spreading the word of Children of God, a religious cult.

His acting career began back in 1986...

via: IMDB

The forty-four-year-old actor is well known for his colorful characters with disturbed backgrounds, such as the warped Roman emperor Commodus in Gladiator, the sex-obsessed alcoholic veteran in The Master, and even the man who falls in love with a computer in Her.

He has been previously branded as the "recluse of Hollywood"...

via: IMDB

In 2005, Joaquin checked into rehab to be treated for alcoholism, and his reserved and shy demeanor gave him an unusual and quirky character.

It appears that these personality traits came from somewhere...

via: Getty Images

It has been that Joaquin is drawn to playing disturbed characters, such as The Joker, because his past is riddled with tragedy and is haunted by demons that he still struggles with to this very day.

The religious cult that his parents were a part of began to raise suspicions...

via: Getty Images

The Children of God cult strongly believed that in order to praise and love God, members must be open with having sex with one another - regardless of gender or age. "It actively encouraged sexual activities among minors as young as two or three years old," an ex-member of the cult said in an interview.

The cult that Joaquin's family were a part of held some terrible secrets...

via: Twitter

It later emerged that the cult encouraged sex between children and adults, including group sex and incest.

Some of the family members made some bold accusations.

via: Getty Images

Joaquin's late eldest brother, River, who died in 1993, once claimed to have lost his virginity aged 4, although the Joker star is adamant that his parents didn’t know about the inside goings-on of the cult.

He didn't blame his parents for the things he was exposed to...

via: Getty Images

"It's guilt by association. I think it was really innocent on my parents' part," he said. "They really believed [in the religious aspect], but I don’t think most people see it that way. "I think my parents thought they'd found a community that shared their ideals - cults rarely advertise themselves as such. The moment my parents realized there was something more to it, they got out."

When the family left the cult, they had barely any income.

via: Twitter

They were all vegans and were struggling to live in poverty. The family moved to Florida and this is where they changed their surname to Phoenix - to commemorate their new lives and to symbolize their rise from the ashes.

Joaquin was forced to busk the streets to provide for his family...

via: Twitter

But it wasn't long until the talented siblings were scouted by agents and had their acting careers kick-started.

Things seemed to be improving for the family...

via: Getty Images

But 1993 saw twenty-three-year-old River perform at Los Angeles' infamous The Viper Room, part-owned by Johnny Depp. Joaquin and his sister Rain attended the gig, but they were unaware that River had consumed a drink that was a cocktail of illegal drugs.

River died on the night of October 30th, 1993.

via: Getty Images

In the early hours, River suffered an overdose, and collapsed outside on the street, where he convulsed for over five minutes before he died. While Rain desperately tried resuscitating him, Joaquin made a frantic 911 call – which was later released to the media.

A true tragedy.

via: Twitter

The heartbreaking tape revealed a panic-stricken Joaquin begging: "He’s having seizures! Get over here please! You must get over here please! Because he’s dying... please."

Joaquin has rarely spoken about River...

via: IMDB

... until now.

Nearly twenty-seven years on from River's tragic death, Joaquin has opened up in a rare interview with Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes.

via: YouTube

During the revealing interview, Joaquin and his family talk about the impact River's death had on them.

During the program, which aired last Sunday, the Joker star admitted that the media's presence had a huge impact on his grieving process.

via: YouTube

"We were so removed from the entertainment world. We didn't watch entertainment shows. We didn't have the entertainment magazines in our house," Joaquin told Cooper.  "You know, River was a really substantial actor and movie star and we didn't really know it." "During that time in which you're most vulnerable, there are helicopters flying over, there are people that are trying to sneak onto your land. "Certainly, for me, it felt like it impeded on the mourning process."

It's clearly something Joaquin struggles with to this very day.

via: YouTube

At the time, it took him 2 years to return to Hollywood, the trauma of losing his brother in such horrific circumstances clearly still has a huge effect on him. During Sunday's program, the family admitted that even more than 2 decades on, grief can reemerge unexpectedly.

Joaquin's mother opened up about this further:

via: YouTube

"The grieving process happens out of nowhere," she explained. "Ya know, I'll be driving and all of a sudden I will feel it. And I'll just welcome it."

Joaquin says he still feels his brother's presence in his life.

"I feel like in virtually every movie that I made, there was a connection to River in some way. "And I think that we've all felt his presence and guidance in our lives in numerous ways."

Check out the clip below:

Want more on Joaquin Phoenix? Keep scrolling to learn about why he walked the Golden Globes red carpet alone...