Over the years, Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix has opened up to the public more. He’s revealed details about the traumatic event that inspired him to become vegan, he’s apologized for his “embarrassing” behavior on the set of Joker, and he’s candidly talked about his relationship with fellow actor and girlfriend Rooney Mara.
Phoenix gave an emotional shout-out to Mara during his Golden Globes acceptance speech in January, and fans are expecting to see them again during the Oscars on Sunday, February 9. Phoenix, who has also won a SAG and BAFTA award for his role in Joker this season—is the favorite to win for Best Actor, meaning we can probably expect to hear another shoutout to Mara.
Before then, here’s a little more about the couple’s relationship, from when the two first started dating to their recent engagement.
Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara met on the set of Her.
The 2013 film starred Phoenix as writer Theodore Twombly, a man who falls in love with his artificial intelligence virtual assistant played by Scarlett Johansson, while Mara played his ex-wife Catherine.
However, the duo didn’t start dating until they started filming the biblical movie Mary Magdalene in 2016. Phoenix later told Vanity Fair that he thought Mara didn’t like him while they were shooting Her, but it actually turned out that she was just shy. “She’s the only girl I ever looked up on the internet,” Phoenix revealed. “We were just friends, email friends. I’d never done that. Never looked up a girl online.”
Their first public appearance as a couple was at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017.
Phoenix and Mara attended the closing ceremony of the festival together in May 2017, and she congratulated him when he won the award for Best Actor for his role in the thriller, You Were Never Really There.
During a press conference after the ceremony, Phoenix referred to Mara as his girlfriend: “Before I came here, I told my girlfriend it was going to be a really good experience because I was going to get crushed and that would be really humbling, I thought it would be great to know what it’s like to be unanimously disliked. That was my expectation coming here, so this is better.”
During an interview in September of that same year, Phoenix revealed that he and Mara were living together, and he also mentioned that while he rarely sees new movies, he had recently watched The Staircase, a 10-hour true crime documentary, because Mara wanted to.
Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara got engaged sometime in 2019.
The couple first sparked engagement rumors when Mara was seeing wearing a diamond ring in May 2019, and the news was confirmed by Us Weekly in July.
Phoenix and Mara were also seen on a number of red carpets together in 2019, as Phoenix was promoting Joker.
On September 9, Phoenix was honored with the Tribute Actor Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and he gave Mara a shoutout in his speech with a nickname that refers to her role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: “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. I love you. Thank you.”
Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara went to the 2020 Golden Globes.
Phoenix and Mara attended the Golden Globes together in January 20, and photographers shot a number of photos of the actor admiring his fiancée.
Later that night, Phoenix won his second Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture, and he told Mara that he loved her during his speech.