River Phoenix

In 1973, the family Joined a controversial Christian new religious movement called the Children of God as missionaries. Their third child, Joaquin Rafael Bottom, was born on October 28, 1974, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 9] The family had settled in Caracas, Venezuela, where the Children of God had stationed them to work as missionaries and fruit gatherers. Although John Bottom was later designated the group’s “Archbishop of Venezuela and the Caribbean”, their family received no financial support and lived in poverty.

Phoenix reflected later in life that the missionary work was undertaken “not out of choice, but was more like a desperate On July 5, 1976, Phoenix’s sister Libertad Mariposa Bottom was born. Phoenix often played guitar while he and Rain sang on street corners for money and food to support their ever-growing family. Arlyn and John eventually grew disillusioned with the Children of God; Arlyn would later tell a Journalist that she and her husband were opposed to the groups’s practice of ‘Flirty Fishing’, stating: “The group was being distorted by the leader, David Berg, who was getting powerful and wealthy.

He sought to attract rich disciples through sex. No way. “[11] Fearing the group was moving in a negative direction, the Bottom family left and stayed for a period with a church in Venezuela. It was during the last years in South America that the entire Phoenix family converted to veganism. The family eventually made the trip ack to the United States by a cargo ship. Upon their return, they moved in with Phoenix’s maternal grandparents in Florida.

On December 10, 1978, Summer Joy Bottom was born in Winter Park, Florida. On April 2, 1979, the family officially changed their name to Phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, symbolizing a new beginning. [12] Phoenix never went to school. [10] Screenwriter Naomi Foner later recalled being stunned by what Phoenix didn’t know. “He was totally, totally without education. I mean, he could read and write, and he had an appetite for it, but he had no deep roots into any kind of sense of history or