Phoenix’s parents met in the 60s and lived the hippy experience that was shaking the country back then. In 1972, they joined the Children of God, a religious movement that advocated a spiritual revolution against the system. They travelled around South America as missionaries, specifically in Mexico and Venezuela, living in poverty. When the sect’s leader, David Berg, instituted a policy of attracting new, wealthier members through sex, a practice called ‘flirty fishing,’ the family became disillusioned and left. They returned to the U.S. and changed their surname to ‘Phoenix’ to mark a new beginning in their lives (their original surname was ‘Bottom’). All of the Phoenix siblings have been successful in their acting careers, especially Joaquin. His brother, River Phoenix, died of a drug overdose in 1993.