Joaquin Phoenix | 10 Celebrities Stung by Cults but Survived

Joaquin Phoenix

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.

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