Do you think Joaquin Phoenix took Rooney Mara to the Joker stairs during their New York City adventure on Tuesday? Actually, the stairs are in the Bronx, and the couple was photographed in Manhattan on Oct. 6. Joaquin, 46, and Rooney, 36, were out and about, seemingly running errands in New York City. During the rare sighting, the Inherent Vice star wrapped his arm around Rooney in an even rarer public display of affection. Rooney had dressed appropriately for October in NYC, donning a pair of loose-fitting jeans, a black t-shirt, and a navy blue jacket.
Joaquin rocked an all-black ensemble: black pants, a black t-shirt, and a black hoodie slung over his shoulder. He also sported the half-shaved head he debuted at the New York Film Festival on Tuesday. The top of his head was buzzed, while the sides and back were kept long. It’s unclear if Joaquin’s haircut was for a role, but considering that he lost 52 pounds to play Arthur Fleck in Joker, Joaquin changing his appearance for a movie is not out of the question.
It’s not every day that Rooney and Joaquin are spotted out in the wild together. The couple is quite private, especially when it comes to their son, River. The two welcomed their baby boy in 2020 and named him after Joaquin’s brother, River Phoenix, the Stand By Me star who passed away in 1993 from an accidental overdose. Joaquin and Rooney spoke about their son for the first time in an op-ed about the migrant children crisis for PEOPLE magazine, two months after she reportedly gave birth. “As new parents, it’s unbearable to imagine what it would feel like to have our child taken away from us for a day, let alone years. But that’s the very situation those 545 children and their parents have been living through.”
Joaquin made a rare comment about his son while speaking with The Sunday Times in June 2021 (h/t USA Today). Joaquin is a committed vegan – he wore an Animal Liberation Front hoodie to the NYFF – but said he wouldn’t “impose my belief on my child. I don’t think that’s right.” Joaquin did say that he would “educate (River) about the reality” of the meat and dairy industry and let his son make his own choices.
“I’m not going to indoctrinate him with the idea that McDonald’s have a Happy Meal because there’s nothing (expletive) happy about that meal,” he continued. “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. 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.”