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Joaquin Phoenix pays tribute to late brother River after welcoming first child with Rooney Mara

River Phoenix passed away in 1993

joaquin phoenix rooney mara river
Sharnaz Shahid
Sharnaz ShahidDeputy Online Editor
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Joaquin Phoenix has welcomed his first child - a baby boy - with fiancée Rooney Mara. The Hollywood couple are thought to have named their newborn son River after Joaquin's late brother River Phoenix, who tragically died in 1993 from a drug overdose.

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Speaking at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival after a screening of the film Gunda, director Victor Kossakovsky was asked about Joaquin's involvement on the project after he served as executive producer.

"He just got a baby, by the way, his name was… a beautiful son called River, so he cannot promote it now," the Russian filmmaker revealed.

Although Joaquin, 45, and Rooney, 35, are yet to publically confirm the happy news, it's thought that baby River was born a month ago.

WATCH: Joaquin Phoenix pays emotional tribute to late brother River during Oscar speech

The two stars met when they worked together on the 2013 film Her; however, they didn't start dating until three years later when they reunited on the set of Mary Magdalene. They confirmed their engagement in May last year.

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The actors made their first red carpet appearance together in 2017 at the Cannes Film Festival, and two years later Joaquin touched upon their relationship, admitting to Vanity Fair that he was initially convinced that Mara "despised" him.

rooney mara joaquin© Photo: Getty Images

Joaquin and Rooney Mara have welcomed a son

"She's the only girl I ever looked up on the internet," he shared. "We were just friends, email friends. I'd never done that. Never looked up a girl online."

It's been a huge year for the acclaimed actor; not only has he become a father but Joaquin also won the Best Actor accolade at the Academy Awards back in February for his incredible performance in Joker.

river phoenix© Photo: Getty Images

River Phoenix passed away in 1993, here pictured at an Oscar lunch in the early nineties

During his emotional acceptance speech, the actor quoted a song lyric his late brother wrote as a teenager. "I have been a scoundrel all my life, I've been selfish. I've been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I'm grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance," he said. "I think that's when we're at our best: when we support each other."

He concluded his speech, saying: "When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said: "'Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.'"

Interestingly, Joaquin's other siblings have also paid tribute to River when naming their children. Liberty Phoenix named her son Rio, while Summer Phoenix has a son named Indiana due to River's role as young Indy in Indiana Jones.

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