Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Role Hurt Relationship With Rooney Mara?

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Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara applaud during the Closing Ceremony of the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

By Andrew Shuster |

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara applaud during the Closing Ceremony of the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

(Getty Images)

Joaquin Phoenix’s role as the Joker didn’t hurt his relationship with Rooney Mara, but exactly one year ago, a tabloid claimed that was the case. Gossip Cop debunked the story when it first emerged. The passage of time has proven it even more false.

On December 10, 2018, Gossip Cop busted OK! for falsely claiming Phoenix was “driving away” Mara because he was staying in character as the Batman villain even when he wasn’t filming. The actor was shooting the movie in New York City at the time. An “insider” told the outlet that Phoenix would act bizarrely while visiting Mara in Los Angeles during breaks from shooting.

“She hates that he brings his work home with him and told him to either cut it out or stay in New York until he’s done filming,” said the supposed source. “His antics are freaking her out.” The questionable tipster didn’t provide any details describing how Phoenix was acting like the Joker around his girlfriend. If he were being a super villain around the house, one would think the “source” could elaborate on what that entailed.

Although Phoenix has been known to take a method approach to acting, the idea that he was menacing Mara while filming Joker was absurd. A source close to the couple told Gossip Cop last year that the story was nonsense. The passage of time has supported that.

For starters, Phoenix and Mara reportedly got engaged earlier this year. Although neither star has confirmed the engagement, Vanity Fair did so in its October profile on the actor. The piece, which featured an extensive interview with Phoenix, described Mara as his “fiancée” and noted he was “getting married.” That same profile also refutes many of OK!’s claims from last year.

Vanity Fair made a point of noting that Phoenix used to embody his characters off set, but these days “he’s finding it easier to separate himself from his characters and simply go home.” The actor himself said in the interview that Mara made sure he appreciated his career triumphs. “Rooney said to me the other night, ‘Do you realize how many great opportunities you’ve had? These films?’’’ Phoenix noted. “I said it’s true, I’ve been so fortunate.”

Meanwhile, Phoenix thanked Mara in a very unique way when he won an award for Joker at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. He concluded his acceptance speech by saying, “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.”

Simply put, Phoenix and Mara’s romance has only grown stronger over the past year. Joker didn’t cause a rift between them. OK! is the same outlet that alleged in May 2018 that Phoenix and Mara were headed for a split over their “clashing personalities.” The tabloid has zero insight into the couple’s loving relationship.


Shuster, Andrew. "Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Role Freaking Out Rooney Mara?" Gossip Cop, 10 Dec. 2018.

Hagan, Joe. "Joaquin Phoenix on Joker..." Vanity Fair, 1 Oct. 2019.

Blynn, Jamie. "Joaquin Phoenix Has A, Uh, Dirty and Fiery Pet Name For Rooney Mara." E! News, 10 Sep. 2019.

Shuster, Andrew. "Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara Headed For Split?" Gossip Cop, 10 May 2018.