Joaquin Phoenix's Double Life Is Finally Out in the Open | 22 Words

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 has been strongly applauded.

But there is a lot more to the actor than what meets the eye.

Phoenix's upbringing was truly disturbing - and people are only just learning about his secret double life.

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.

Phoenix 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.

Phoenix's 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 US 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.

Including the warped Roman emperor Commodus in >em>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, Phoenix checked into rehab to be treated for alcoholism.

He's known for his reserved and shy demeanor.

Which makes him something of an exception in Hollywood.

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

via: Getty Images

Because we know Phoenix's choice of roles reflect this darkness.

It has been that Phoenix is drawn to playing disturbed characters, such as Joker, because of his past.

Which is riddled with tragedy - and Phoenix 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.

This was 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 has said.

The cult that Phoenix'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

Phoenix'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.

This was to commemorate their new lives and to symbolize their rise from the ashes.

Phoenix 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.

Phoenix 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 5 minutes before he died.

While Rain desperately tried resuscitating him, Phoenix made a frantic 911 call.

Which was later released to the media.

A true tragedy.

via: Twitter

The heartbreaking tape revealed a panic-stricken Phoenix.

"He’s having seizures!"

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"Get over here please! You must get over here please! Because he’s dying... please."

Phoenix rarely speaks about River...

via: IMDB

"I've come nearer acceptance."

"I wouldn't say understanding."

via: Shutterstock

"Because it's something I'll never understand - but just an acceptance of River's death," he said recently about his brother.

Phoenix still struggles with his brother's death to this very day...

via: Twitter

After River died, Phoenix was forced to retreat from the media's glare.

It took him 2 years to return to Hollywood.

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Where he embarked on much darker roles that involved insecure and conflicted characters.

Phoenix has battled with insecurities his entire life...

via: IMDB

An unnamed producer once said that Phoenix is insecure.

He chooses more outlandish parts for the chance to be someone else.

via: Shutterstock

"He’s better at being a character than being himself," said the producer. "He really thinks he’s boring."

This proves that behind his eccentric and quirky characters, Phoenix continues to struggle with his own demons.

via: Twitter

His love/hate relationship with Hollywood is very much apparent, with him taking continuous breaks from acting over the years and taking more time to stay away from the spotlight.

Phoenix has had a turbulent and troubled life, but he hasn't let his past stop him from being the best actor that he could possibly be.

via: Shutterstock

Want to learn about another Hollywood star with a troubled past? Scroll on for the truth about Keanu Reeves's tragic life ...