Why Joaquin Phoenix Won’t ‘Force’ Veganism on His and Rooney Mara’s Son River

The perfect plan. While Joaquin Phoenix won’t make his son, River, vegan, he does plan to educate the little one on “the reality” of his eating choices.

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“Well, certainly I would hope that [he is vegan], but I’m not going to impose my belief on my child,” the actor, 46, told The Sunday Times on Sunday, June 6. “I don’t think that’s right. … 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.”

The Oscar winner explained, “I’m not going to indoctrinate him with the idea that McDonald’s [has] a Happy Meal because there’s nothing f–king happy about that meal. 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.”

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The Joker star, who has been vegan since he was a toddler, announced the arrival of his and Rooney Mara’s baby boy in September 2020.

Why Joaquin Phoenix Won't Force Veganism on His and Rooney Mara Son River
Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara David Fisher/Shutterstock

Parenthood has brought the couple “closer,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly last month. “River has enhanced their lives more than they’ve ever imagined,” the insider explained, noting that they were “embracing parenthood very well.”

The “hands-on” pair plan to give their baby boy a “normal, healthy upbringing.” The source told Us, “They feel strongly about raising him out of the spotlight and feel they will let him decide once he’s older if he’d like to follow in their path as an actor. They’ve talked about having another baby but are hoping for it to be sooner than later — within the next year or so. Rooney feels very blessed to be so close with her sister Kate [Mara] that she’d like for River to have a special bond with his future sibling.”

Becoming a mom motivated Rooney, 36, to become “more sustainable,” she said in a May letter for Farm Sanctuary. The actress explained at the time: “As a new mom, Mother’s Day has taken on a special meaning this year. Raising our baby, River, has opened my heart to a whole new life filled with hope and more determination than ever.”

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She and the Golden Globe winner started dating in 2016, and Us confirmed their engagement in July 2019.

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