Celebrities are a lot like us. They have secrets, and sometimes they even have aspects of their lives that, for one reason of another, they keep hidden for years.
But, in Hollywood, your secrets can only stay hidden for so long.
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Joaquin Phoenix gained critical success for his role as rockabilly legend Johnny Cash in the 2005 biopic Walk the Line.
Phoenix shined as the “Man in Black,” even learning to play the guitar and mimic Cash’s dulcet vocals.
In the process, Phoenix gained a reputation for his extreme commitment to character, to the point that his roles often spilled into the actor’s personal life.
In 2012, Phoenix again garnered praise for his role in The Master. In the film, Phoenix portrayed a war veteran lured into a cult by its charismatic leader, played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.
In preparation for the role, Phoenix drew from experience with a cult that he knew well—the one he lived with for many years.
As a child, Joaquin, along with his brother River, grew up in the controversial religious group called the Children of God.
Phoenix’s family joined the group in the early 1970s and, during Joaquin’s formative years, traveled throughout South America with the church.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Phoenix explained his family’s infatuation with the group: “I think my parents thought they’d found a community that shared their ideals. Cults rarely advertise themselves as such.”
Ultimately, the family left the Children of God after becoming disenchanted, and Joaquin has put the whole experience behind him in pursuit of his prolific acting career.