Joaquin Phoenix Discusses Being Raised In A Cult And His Strange Letterman Interview

Published on November 12, 2014.
Photo by Broadimage/REX

Joaquin Phoenix, 40, is a strange guy, that much was made very obvious when he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in one of the strangest interviews in recent memory.

While the whole thing turned out to be a hoax for his fake documentary, I’m Still Here, it freaked people out.

In a recent interview with Playboy magazine, Phoenix discussed the now infamous appearance as well as the intriguing story of his childhood which he spent partly in a cult, Children of God.

“When people bring up Children of God, there’s always something vaguely accusatory about it. It’s guilt by association,” Phoenix explained of his family’s experience.

“I think my parents thought they’d found a community that shared their ideals. Cults rarely advertise themselves as such. It’s usually someone saying, ‘We’re like-minded people. This is a community,'” he stated as to why his parents would get involved.

Luckily Phoenix and his family left once they realized there were some things that were not right with the “community”, “I think the moment my parents realized there was something more to it, they got out.”

The actor also explained that while many people knew the truth behind his wacky 2009 interview, David Letterman was not one of them, although Phoenix believes the host suspected something further then Phoenix had actually lost his mind.

“My agents, my publicist, they were all in on it, of course. But look David Letterman is one of the smartest guys on television. There’s no way that guy doesn’t know what’s going on in some way.”

Luckily, Phoenix’s career bounced back from the flames after the incident although he says acting is still “terrifying” and living his life in the public eye has never been easy.

“Sure, a couple of times in my 20s when I was dating an actress…[the paparazzi] were curious. Now they mostly take pictures in the hopes that I’ll get hit by a car or trip or somebody that will throw something at me,” he joked.

Phoenix’s next role has him starring alongside Walk the Line co-star Reese Witherspoon once again in the drama, Inherent Vice. 

Also Check Out: 7 Celebrities Who Escaped Cults

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