Three Other Joaquin Phoenix Secrets Besides His Cleft Lip

What’s This About a Cleft Lip?

My prior blog explained that Phoenix’s upper lip “scar is from what’s called a microform cleft. Whether or not he’s had surgery is a mystery he’s perpetuated. *  While a microform cleft may not be as obvious as a complete cleft lip , there may still be problems with functionality ‘cuz of a disruption of the continuity of the orbicularis oris muscle that encircles the mouth. The disruption may cause eating, drinking, and speech issues.


Dark haired man in black suit

Joaquin Phoenix        John Shek ’05 WikiCmns


Joaquin Phoenix is A Committed Actor 

Despite having a reputation of being volatile and unpredictable when being interviewed, Phoenix has found himself nominated for an Oscar for his roles in “Gladiator,”“Walk the Line,” and “The Master “with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. He didn’t win for any of these performances, but he does make award shows a family affair by invariably bringing along his mother and sisters, Summer and Rain.

Portly male with white beard, slender Phoenix with dark hair

Philip Seymour Hoffman & Phoenix AP J Ryan


According to one report, “[B]efore he signed on to play Johnny Cash in the 2005 film “Walk the Line,” Phoenix befriended Johnny and his wife, June, and received the legendary singer’s blessing to play the role.  The actor wanted to make the part as authentic as possible, so he learned to play the guitar and took six months of vocal lessons so he could perform the film’s songs himself.”

Joaquin Phoenix Is Intense as an Actor

Fans know Phoenix as an intense actor, but as it turns out, he is so intense on set that he’s  improvised some of his wildest scenes. He must have it out for bathrooms or he’s got a friend in the contracting business. He smashed a toilet in “The Master” and ripped a sink off the wall in “Walk the Line.”

Joaquin Phoenix Dialed 911

Phoenix is the younger brother of late actor River Phoenix who died tragically of a drug overdose in 1993.   Just 19 at the time, Joaquin made the call to  911 in an attempt to save River’s life outside the Viper Room in Los Angeles.


OK, time for the real dirt on Joaquin. Is his erratic behavior the result of his cleft, his hippie parents, or his brother’s death? I’m relying here on info about Phoenix from Huffington Post,, radar online, and . They dish and sometimes dig up dirt on celebrities.

1. Joaquin Phoenix Has Hoodwinked People into Thinking He’s “Dropped Out.”

Besides acting and looking bizarre during  a David Letterman interview where he claimed to have given up acting, Phoenix has soundly dissed the Academy Awards, calling them “Bull____.” He later apologized for both incidents.

2. Phoenix Is a Recovering Alcoholic 

In 2005, Phoenix announced that he was an alcoholic. He then checked himself into a rehabilitation facility. Interestingly, this took place shortly after he had filmed “Walk the Line,” a film that focuses on the late Johnny Cash’s own battles with alcohol and addiction.

3. Joaquin Phoenix Rolled His Car

In  2006, Phoenix veered off a Hollywood canyon road, flipping his car. Someone had to break the back window of Phoenix’s car and pulled him out of the wreckage.  

It’s not easy being Phoenix.

*As pointed out by researchers  Yuzuriha and Mulliken, microform clefts are among the most negligible of the “minor ” cleft lips. For those of you who want to get technical, the authors say microform clefts are corrected by double unilimb Z-plasty. Mini-microform clefts are repaired by vertical lenticular excision. Primary nasal correction is necessary in all minor-form and microform types and in some mini-microform types. The authors conclude, “In all three lesser-forms, the rate of nasolabial revision was relatively low in comparison with that for unilateral complete cleft lip.” 


To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.


  1. You have a great blog here! Would you like to write some posts for my blog?

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.