Joaquin Phoenix has a pretty interesting childhood, one that has left many people wondering if he was adopted.
Joaquin Phoenix was not adopted. He was born in Puerto Rico on October 28, 1974 and was raised by his biological parents.
Joaquin Phoenix’s childhood was a unique one—it involved a lot of travelling, an interesting religious cult background, and an early introduction to acting. He was born to American parents, but spent much of his early years travelling around Central and Southern America.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Family History
Joaquin Phoenix was born and spent his first year of life in Puerto Rico. His parents, Arlyn Dunetz and John Lee Bottom met on the West Coast and then travelled around the US before later joining the religious cult Children of God.
Joaquin’s mother, Arlyn was living in New York and working as a secretary. She was married, but like many during that time period, became obsessed with the restless nature of the 1960s.
She decided to leave her life on the East Coast behind and moved to California to join other flower power hippies. She met her future husband, John, while hitchhiking across California.
John Lee Bottom was a songwriter and once he met Arlyn, the two followed the footsteps of other counterculture hippies by travelling around in a VW microbus.
The couple got married and had their first child (River) in 1970. They then had a daughter in 1970. Around this time, the couple became infatuated with the teachings of David Berg.
At this stage, the newlyweds joined the Children of God religious cult and began serving as missionaries around Central and South America.
It was shortly after this, and when they were in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that they had their second son, Phoenix in 1974.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Parents
Joaquin’s childhood was a relatively rough one. After leaving the religious cult, his family ended up in California. And they were broke.
The family lived in a car for a while and eventually got to the point where the children had to busk to be able to afford groceries for the family. Even as toddlers, the young brothers and sisters performed skits and songs on the street. Eventually this turned into an opportunity for acting.
Even though it was the children who were the breadwinners during this period, Joaquin Phoenix still has a good relationship with his parents, and doesn’t hold any resentment towards them.
While Joaquin Phoenix and his siblings were all born in different cities (even countries), they all share the same biological parents. Joaquin Phoenix was not adopted.