Her star Joaquin Phoenix opened up recently about spending part of his childhood in a cult. In an interview with Playboy, the Golden Globe winner speaks about his family’s involvement with the extremely controversial Children of God religious group. The group continues to make headlines, as ex-members reveal the extremely sexualized nature of the group and the sexual abuse of young children within it.
In the early 1970s, the now 40-year-old actor’s parents, John and Arlyn Bottom and his siblings River, Rain, Liberty and Summer were a part of the cult and travelled across Central and South America after being introduced to the group by friends. Joaquin comments on how he believes his parents were actually there for the religious experience, saying, “I think my parents thought they’d found a community that shared their ideals. Cults rarely advertise themselves as such.” However, Joaquin assures that his family left the group as soon as they realized its true nature, “I don’t think we ever got to that point, because frankly, as it got closer, I think my parents went, ‘Wait a minute. This is more than a religious community. There’s something else going on here, and this doesn’t seem right.’ And so they left very early on.” ~Janine Wyslobicky