From Co-Stars to New Parents: A Timeline of Joaquin Phoenix & Rooney Mara's Ultra-Private Relationship

Just ‘E-Mail Friends’

Phoenix and Mara met in 2012 on the set of Her, in which Mara played Phoenix’s ex-wife.

Things weren’t romantic right away for the pair. In fact, Phoenix told Vanity Fair in 2019 that he thought Mara didn’t like him at all, but it turns out she was just shy. 

“She’s the only girl I ever looked up on the internet,” he told the magazine. “We were just friends, e-mail friends. I’d never done that. Never looked up a girl online.”

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Sharing the Screen

The duo reunited onscreen in 2016 to film Mary Magdalene, with Mara playing the titular role and Phoenix playing Jesus. The film wasn’t released until 2019. 

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Making It Official

In 2017, the pair made their first official appearance as a couple at closing ceremonies for the Cannes Film Festival. The pair sat together, holding hands and looking very couple-y.

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Sealed With a Hug

They even embraced after Phoenix won the best actor award for his role in You Were Never Really Here.

A source told PEOPLE at the time, “They were talking to one another nonstop. Small talk between them. Then they went for their car and he’s holding her hand like it was unconscious. Like it fits. They seem a totally natural and easy couple.”

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Netflix and Chill

In 2017, the actor told The New York Times that the pair live together in the Hollywood Hills and that they binge-watched the Netflix documentary The Staircase because Mara wanted to. At least we know they’re down-to-Earth and down to watch true crime docs.

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The pair privately got engaged in 2019, rumors about which were sparked when Mara was photographed wearing a large diamond ring on her left hand. 

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Couples Who Protest Together

The couple, who are both passionate activists, joined a protest together on National Animal Rights Day in 2019. 

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Love Floats

The pair arrived together by boat at the Venice Film Festival in August 2019. 

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After winning the TIFF Tribute Actor Award at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, he used his acceptance speech to honor his late brother River Phoenix and thank his fiancée for her support.

“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,” he said. “I love you. Thank you.”

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Shock and Awe

Phoenix looked on lovingly as Mara posed for photos at the 2019 Golden Globes. 

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Red Carpet Ready

The pair stunned on the red carpet at the Oscars in 2020. He would go on to win the Best Actor Oscar and spoke passionately about bettering the world in his speech: “I think that’s when we’re at our best, when we support each other … when we help each other grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other towards redemption. That is the best of humanity.”

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Baby Makes Three

The couple welcomed their first child, a son named River after Phoenix’s late brother who died in 1993.

Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky, with whom Phoenix worked on the dialogue-free documentary Gunda, confirmed the name of the couple’s baby during an appearance at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival.

“He just got a baby, by the way,” Kossakovsky said while speaking at the festival. “A beautiful son called River.”

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