Joaquin Phoenix Makes Rare Comment About Raising His and Rooney Mara's Son River

What is Joaquin Phoenix like as a dad? The Her actor shared his hot take on McDonald's Happy Meals and explained whether his son, River, will be raised vegan.

By Lindsay Weinberg Jun 07, 2021 8:08 PMTags
Watch: Rooney Mara & Joaquin Phoenix Are Expecting Their First Child

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara aren't sugarcoating reality while raising their baby boy, River.

More than seven months after announcing he's a new dad, Joaquin shed some light on his parenting style during an interview with The Sunday Times on Monday, June 7. 

Though he and Rooney are longtime vegans, the actors aren't forcing their son to adopt their same beliefs about animal rights. 

The Joker star admitted that "certainly I would hope" that River is vegan too, adding, "but I'm not going to impose my belief on my child... I don't think that's right." 

At the same time, Joaquin wants to be brutally honest about where meat comes from. He said he is going to "educate him about the reality" of it all—and let's just say they won't be going to McDonald's anytime soon. 

Joaquin shared, "I'm not going to indoctrinate him with the idea that McDonald's have a Happy Meal because there's nothing f--king happy about that meal. And I'm not going to tell him that it's OK to read books about all the wonderful little farm animals, and they say ‘oink oink oink' and ‘moo moo moo', and not tell him that that's what a hamburger is."

Joaquin Phoenix's Most Candid Quotes

As he put it, "So I'm not going to perpetuate the lie, but I'm also not going to force him to be vegan. I'll support him. That's my plan."

The Oscar winner, 46, became vegetarian at age 3, according to the outlet.

VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

He recalled a "shocking" fishing expedition he witnessed as a kid that seems to have changed his mindset. 

"As a child, your parents just say, ‘It's fish' and you don't know the difference between fish or broccoli. And to suddenly realise that this thing that we've eaten once used to be full of life and we can see it struggling for its life," he trailed off. 

Joaquin and his siblings then vowed to change their ways. "My brother, River, and my sister Rain said, ‘If we're not going to eat this then we shouldn't take their milk, or wear leather.' That was 43 years ago," he added. 

Baby River is, in fact, named after the elder River, who died at age 23 in 1993. 

Last month, Rooney spoke about how motherhood has changed her outlook on life, while supporting an environmental campaign by the vegan Farm Sanctuary. 

The Carol actress wrote, "Raising our baby, River, has opened my heart to a whole new life filled with hope and more determination than ever to create a kinder and more sustainable world."