The Truth About Joaquin Phoenix And Rooney Mara's Relationship

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara are two of Hollywood's most acclaimed actors who star in high-profile films, but offscreen they are one of the most low-key couples in the biz. The ever-elusive pair made their first public appearance at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival in 2017, but catching a shot of them in the wild is hard to come by.

So what do we know about their relationship? Ironically, it's almost like the plot of a movie. Phoenix grew up poor and was raised in a religious cult by his parents. Mara was born with several silver spoons in her mouth as both of her grandfather's own NFL franchises (New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers). Yet despite their vastly different childhoods and an almost 10-year age gap, the pair seem to be inseparable. 

We don't need to go method for this, but let's channel our inner feelings and discover the truth about Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara's relationship.

Two movies, one Internet

After meeting on the set of the 2013 science-fiction romance Her, Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara became "good friends" according to Page Six. But when they teamed up again on the biblical drama Mary Magdalene in 2017, "they found love." So what happened in those four years?

During an interview with Vanity Fair, Phoenix admitted that he thought Mara "despised him" while they were working together on Her. Turns out she was just shy. Phoenix was feeling Mara's vibe so much he Googled her. "She's the only girl I ever looked up on the internet," he said, adding, "We were just friends, email friends. I'd never done that. Never looked up a girl online."

A legendary method actor, Phoenix hinted that Mara helps him center after a challenging role. "I've always had a hard time," he explained. "And, I think only recently, as you get older or whatever, you're okay. You go, 'Maybe it is going to be a bad experience' or 'Maybe I'm not going to enjoy it. And maybe I won't have any of those connections, maybe I'll feel just hollow afterwards.' That's okay. Because I know that I have meaning in other parts of my life. And that's really what sustains me. I enjoy it. I love my life. I f***ing love my life."

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara's life is pretty boring

You'd think that two young Hollywood stars would have a crazy life. Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara are sorry to disappoint. In a 2017 profile of Phoenix in The New York Times by author Brett Easton Ellis, we learned for the first time that Phoenix and Mara live together in the Hollywood Hills (Mara, in the meantime, sold her home in Los Feliz, Calif). Their shared abode is definitely not a party house.

According to the profile, Phoenix "is usually asleep by 9 p.m. and up at 6." What does a day in the life of Phoenix look like? Here it goes: "Answering emails, 'chilling' with his dog, meditating, taking a karate class, eating lunch, reading scripts and dinner." He doesn't get to the theater much, but he sat through 10 one-hour episoded of the true-crime documentary The Staircase "because Mara wanted to" watch it. However, there are few recent films Phoenix loved, including Disney's Moana, which he may or may not have mixed up with James Gray's The Lost City of Z, describing one or both of them as "beautiful."

"They don't really like to go out," an alleged source told Us Weekly. "They mainly just like to be with each other as the two of them. They're in their own bubble." Whoa, settle down there you two! You're getting too wild!

The couple who spas together stays together

A source told Us Weekly in 2019 that Phoenix and Mare were "so in love," but didn't plan to hear wedding bells any time soon. "They're never going to get married because they think marriage is too mainstream," the source explained. This take didn't age well, as we'll elaborate on in a moment. 

What did happen, however, was Mara getting fully on board with the insider's claim that "Joaquin transforms all his girlfriends into being holistic, vegan, spiritual and into saving the world." And according to Page Six, this was confirmed, as the pair entered the stage of their relationship that includes couples colonics. "They are there continuing to 'find love,' but also some health, as he is doing his annual pilgrimage to the spa," a source told the tab, adding, "Joaquin and his lady love are down for some R&R, sipping juices and a few colonics . . . good times!" Pretty sexy stuff!

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara make it official

In May 2019, Phoenix and Rooney sparked engagement rumors when the Social Network star was spotted running errands in Los Angeles while sporting a huge rock on her finger (above right). Per Us Weekly, Rooney "was photographed on Friday, May 24," wearing "a large diamond ring on her left hand" as she carried multiple bags, including one with "Go Vegan" printed on the side. Still very much on brand.

Rumors began to fly, but two months later those rumors were confirmed. On July 21, 2019, Us Weekly reported the pair were officially engaged. Around the same time, Phoenix and Mara were spotted at a Los Angeles nail salon getting pedicures while wearing all black (above left). Pedicures, colonics, and documentaries? Are they the weirdest or coolest couple ever? One this is for sure, they are certainly in love. "Rooney is smitten and broke her vow to never live in LA in order to be closer to Joaquin," a source told Grazia (via The Sun). "All of her friends knew it was serious as soon as that happened because she's always hated LA."

They are both staunch vegans

There are vegans and animal rights activists, then there's Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara. Phoenix, who once called the consumption of animals "absurd and barbaric," has narrated the vegan documentaries Earthling and Dominion, starred in a PETA commercial, and an ad for Mercy For Animals. Recently, he's fought behind the scenes to force all award shows to go vegan, which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, worked: The Golden Globes are now fully vegan.

Rooney has taken her veganism to the next level by opting against wearing animal products. That led her to create HIRAETH, a vegan fashion line that caters to "a new generation of conscious women who value quality and design but do not want to compromise on their ethical beliefs." But you don't have to be a vegan to enjoy her company's apparel. "Our goal is to introduce another high-quality option, whether you're looking for animal-free products or not," Mara told Coveteur. "You don't have to be vegan to wear our stuff. We really want the clothes to stand on their own. And then, hopefully, we can introduce people [to vegan clothes] who had never really thought about that before."

In 2019, the couple led a march in West Hollywood, Calif. to commemorate the 9th National Animal Rights Day. Per VegNews, participants "held the bodies of pigs, chickens, lambs, and other farm animals who have perished in factory farms and other places that mass-produce animals for human consumption." Phoenix and Mara are serious.

Joaquin Phoenix is a ... joker about getting engaged

See what we did there? Our apologies. Joaquin Phoenix never makes it particularly easy for interviews, but he pulled a doozy during a bizarre 2014 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Phoenix told a funny story about a yoga instructor then dropped this bombshell: "This is the crazy party of the story. We started dating," Phoenix said. "And I think she's the one. I proposed to her and she said yes."

The next day Phoenix told Good Morning America (via ABC News) that he made the whole thing up. "It's just, I mean... I think like my life's so boring, and it seemed like something exciting to talk about, and I just want the audience to like me," Phoenix said. "They really like people getting married." He added, "I can get engaged again, if you'd like." Oh, Joaquin.

Phoenix dropped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2015 where he justified his fake engagement by saying, "Everybody lies on talk shows." He then doubled down and said it was worth it because "everyone applauds." How did Ellen's audience react? They applauded. 

Wait, Joaquin Pheonix calls Rooney Mara what?

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara may be one of Hollywood's most private couples, but we gained some insight into their relationship when Phoenix dropped his pet name for Mara. Ready for it? "Filthy dragon."

According to Us Weekly, Phoenix was honored with a People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival's Tribute Gala, and after an emotional speech where he thanked his late brother, River Phoenix, the Gladiator star concluded his speech with a shout out to his future wife. "One last thing, somewhere here, I don't know where, is a filthy dragon, and I want to rip its wings off and fasten a blanket and sleep with it forever," Phoenix said. "I love you. Thank you."

We realize "filthy dragon" possibly a reference to Mara's breakout role as Lisbeth Salander in 2011's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but why does he want to rip her wings off? That can't be holistic. Goth for sure.