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Joaquin phoenix harelip: How Did Joaquin Phoenix Get His Lip Scar?


How Did Joaquin Phoenix Get His Lip Scar?

Hollywood legend Joaquin Phoenix, is one of many famous celebrities with a visible scar. Located on his upper lip, Phoenix’s infamous scar has been the source of endless speculation, but how did he get it?

It is thought that Joaquin Phoenix was born with a microform cleft, an extremely mild form of cleft lip which appears like a scar. The actor has reportedly stated in interviews that the scar was an ‘act of God’ and that his mother, whilst pregnant, felt a sharp pain one day, causing him to be born with a mark on his lip.

Joaquin Phoenix | Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com

Read on to learn more about how Joaquin Phoenix got his scar.

An ‘Act of God’

With a career spanning the best part of four decades, Joaquin Phoenix has spent most of his life in the spotlight. However, the megastar’s early life began far from Hollywood.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1974, he spent his first few years as a member of notorious religious cult Children of God, living a nomadic lifestyle. His parents, John and Arlyn, were missionaries and the family moved frequently around South and Central America.

When John and Aryln became disillusioned with the group, they quickly left and moved Phoenix and his siblings to California, intending to start a new beginning. As for his scar, his religious upbringing clearly had a profound impact on his understanding of its origins. 

In response to speculation, Phoenix clarified that his scar is not a surgically fixed cleft but something he was born with. More specifically, Phoenix has been quoted as saying that it was God who gave him the scar. 

In a 1995 interview he said, “when my Mom was pregnant with me she was in a hammock on the beach and she got these intense pains, and she felt as if some force, God or whatever, had caused this. Then I’m born”.

His mother believed Phoenix’s scar to be the result of an intervention from God, but the actor is not a religious person himself.

Cleft Lip Controversy

Phoenix’s mysterious scar has sparked endless gossip. Many people have assumed the scar to be the result of surgery to repair a cleft lip, but this is untrue.

The scar is thought to be a microform cleft, which is the least noticeable cleft lip condition, and usually appears as a scar or notch.

There are multiple different types of cleft, most of which begin to develop very early on in pregnancy, but a microform cleft develops later on. This condition is very rare, occurring in just 0.06 of every 10000 live births.

While it’s unclear if Phoenix’s mark is a scar or a cleft lip, it became the focus of attention when talk show host Wendy Williams assumed it to be a cleft lip, following Phoenix’s appearance on her show. She appeared to mock the condition, but quickly apologised when she received widespread criticism.

Birthmark or scar, it has done nothing to stop Phoenix from rising to stardom, where the award winning actor has proved his versatility time and time again.

Stars with Scars

Joaquin recalls in an interview that upon moving to California as a child, “we spent our days talking and singing and we were always in front of an audience”. It wasn’t long before he landed an agent, at just six years old. The rest is history.

He’s one of many Hollywood stars with visible scars, proving that they’re not so different to the rest of us. 

Harrison Ford has a well-known facial scar gained from crashing his car into a telephone pole in 1964. Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Jason Momoa are amongst a long list of other celebrities with visible scars.

For Joaquin Phoenix, a mysterious scar is just one of the many interesting things that make him a fascinating actor and person. 

Watch the actor discuss his Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in the YouTube video below.

“When he shaves off his mustache he’s got a hairline fracture, he’s got one of those — what do you call it? Cleft lip, cleft palate,” said Williams, 55.

As she spoke, Williams pulled her lip up with her finger to mock the condition, which happens when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wendy Williams made fun of cleft palates while talking about “Joker” star Joaquin Phoenix’s appearance.Marilla Sicilia / Getty Images

Though Phoenix hasn’t spoken publicly about the scar, an October 2019 profile about him in Vanity Fair described it as “not a surgically fixed cleft, he says, but a nonsurgical scar he was born with.

Late Wednesday, Williams apologized for her comments, writing on Twitter that her show plans to donate to organizations that benefit people affected with cleft lip.

. @Bighill44 We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery. I want to apologize to the cleft community and in Beau’s honor, our show is donating to @operationsmile and @AmerCleftPalate and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community.

— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) January 16, 2020

The Oscar nominee hasn’t responded to Williams’ remarks, but many parents and activists have slammed the host’s insensitivity.

Adam Bighill, a Canadian professional football player who was born with a cleft lip and palate and whose son Beau was also born with the condition, has been demanding an apology from Williams for days on Twitter.

“@WendyWilliams comments/actions towards the cleft community clearly promotes bullying,” Bighill tweeted Wednesday.

Another angry father wrote, “For a solid 10 seconds she used her finger to mimic a cleft lip while the audience laughed. Imagine how my 5 year old would take it if he saw it?”

Carol Vorderman, a British TV personality who called herself an ambassador for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, also condemned Williams.

“Mimicing (sic) a cleft lip, and making a joke about it, is disgraceful. Have you any idea the pain and operations a child with cleft must go through as they grow?” she tweeted.

Gina Vivinetto is a writer for TODAY.com. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she spends her free time hiking, reading and snuggling with her “Friends” box set. She and her wife, Molly, are the proud moms of two formerly stray cats, Sophie and Pierre, and a rescue dog named Gracie. 

Wendy Williams apologises for mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘cleft palate’ | The Independent

Wendy Williams has publicly apologised after she was criticised for mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft palate.

During the “Hot Topic” segment of The Wendy Williams Show on 7 January, Williams said that she found the Joker star “oddly attractive”, noting that she even liked the actor’s scar.

“He knows how to transform, when he shaves [his beard] off, the way he looks at you,” Williams said.

“And he’s got the good nose that dips way down, like he’s happy with it and so am I.”

“When he shaves off his moustache he’s got a hairline fracture. He’s got one of those — what do you call it — cleft lip, cleft palate.”

Williams came under fire for mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘cleft palate’ (YouTube) 

The 55-year-old presenter then crudely hooked her finger under her lip as if she was suffering from the condition, adding: “He’s got this. I find it to be very attractive.”

While Phoenix has never formally spoken about the cause of the scar on his lip, social media users were quick to condemn Williams’ actions.

British TV personality Carol Vorderman spoke out on Twitter, telling Williams: “As Ambassador for Cleft Lip and Palate Association, I really am disgusted by this @wendywilliams.

“Mimicking a cleft lip, and making a joke about it, is disgraceful. Have you any idea the pain and operations a child with cleft must go through as they grow?.”

Meanwhile, Canadian football player Adam Bighill tweeted the talk show host several times since the clip aired, asking for an apology.

Bighill and his son were both born with bilateral cleft lip and palate, for which his his four-month-old underwent surgery on Wednesday.

“Today is Beau’s big day. He is getting his lip repaired today in Winnipeg by the fantastic Dr. Ross,” Bighill wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo holding his baby.

“Thanks to everyone who has reached out, and in advance, thanks for any of your well wishes for Beau. He is so loved!”

Later, he wrote in another tweet that he was still waiting for Williams to apologise

Williams finally responded to the sports star with an apology “to the cleft community,” sharing that The Wendy Williams Show has donated to two charities in Beau’s honour.

[email protected] We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery,” Williams wrote.

“I want to apologise to the cleft community and in Beau’s honour, our show is donating to @operationsmile and @AmerCleftPalate and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community.”

However, not everyone accepted Williams’ apology, including singer Cher who called for the host to be fired.

“DOES AN APOLOGY MAKE UP FOR THIS?” she wrote alongside a screenshot of Williams using her hand to pull up her own lip.



In a second tweet, Cher reminded Williams of how much people with clef palates go through.

“THEY GO THROUGH HELL, THEIR PARENTS. GO THROUGH HELL. F**k Her Apology [sic]” the singer wrote.

According to the NHS, a cleft lip and palate is the most common facial birth defect in the UK, affecting around one in every 700 babies.

A cleft is defined as a gap or split in the upper lip and/or roof of the mouth (palate) and is the result of the baby’s face not joining together properly during development in the womb.

Wendy Williams Apologizes for Joking About Joaquin Phoenix’s Lip Scar

TV personality Wendy Williams came under fire after she mocked Joker star Joaquin Phoenix’s upper-lip scar, which she called a ‘cleft lip.’

Talk show host Wendy Williams issued an apology to Joker star Joaquin Phoenix after making fun of a scar the actor has on his upper lip, which she referred to as a “cleft palate.”

Williams mocked Phoenix by lifting her own upper lip up dramatically with her finger during the Jan. 7 segment on The Wendy Williams Show, causing the audience to laugh. Phoenix, however, does not have a “cleft palate” or “cleft lip,” as Williams also put it, but rather a non-surgical scar that he was reportedly born with.

. @Bighill44 We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery. I want to apologize to the cleft community and in Beau’s honor, our show is donating to @operationsmile and @AmerCleftPalate and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community.

— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) January 16, 2020

RELATED: Joker Gets Limited Theatrical Re-Release In Wake of Oscar Nominations

“I want to apologize to the cleft community,” Williams tweeted after coming under fire on social media. Countless users were calling her out for the Phoenix segment, which was supposed to focus on the actor’s good looks.

“He’s got that most, it dips way down, like he is happy with it, so so am I,” Williams quipped at one point. “And when he shaves off his mustache he’s got a hairline fracture. He’s got one of those, what you call them? A cleft lip, cleft palate.”

A number of celebrities called out Williams for her remarks, including Cher and Canadian football player Adam Bighill, who blasted her for promoting bullying. Bighill has a son who just underwent cleft lip surgery this week.

“We’re thinking about Beau today,” Williams added in her tweet. “In Beau’s honor, our show is donating to [Operation Smile] and [American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association] and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community.”

RELATED: Joker Director Todd Phillips Reacts To 11 Oscar Nominations

Williams had been discussing Phoenix’s success at the Golden Globes for Joker when she brought up his appearance.  Phoenix won for best actor in a drama film for his performance as Arthur Fleck in the Todd Phillips-directed film.

Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film is currently available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and DVD.

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Wendy Williams Mocked Joaquin Phoenix’s “Cleft Lip” And People Are Calling Her Out

“This should not have been aired.

When Joaquin Phoenix’s name came up on a recent installment of

The Wendy Williams Show, things quickly took a turn.

Anthony Harvey / FilmMagic

But it was during a conversation about Beyoncé’s notable decision to not rise for Joaquin Phoenix’s standing ovation when Wendy went on a tangent about the

Joker actor. “In my universe, who is Joaquin Phoenix?” she asked.

Wendy then proceeded to talk about how hot she thinks Joaquin is: “By the way, I think I’ve shared this with you before: I find him oddly attractive. He played that Johnny Cash. It wasn’t Reese [Witherspoon] who kept me. It was him.”

“This right here, I don’t know anything about this,” she joked, pointing to a still from


“He knows how to transform.

When he shaves this off,” she said, referring to his beard, “the way he looks at you…he’s got that good nose…”

That’s where Wendy veered off course: “He’s got that, what do you call it? Cleft lip. I find that to be very attractive,” she said, while making a mocking gesture.

It didn’t take long after the clip aired for people on Twitter to start calling out the talk show host for the offensive joke.

@WendyWilliams – as the mom of an 11 yr old girl who was born with cleft lip & palate, I was horrified to see you make this gesture regarding Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft! These are the kinds of bullying gestures my daughter has dealt with since preschool. SHAME ON YOU.

I’m still appalled at Wendy Williams addressing Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft with such disrespect. It’s honestly just heartbreaking to see people continue to lack understanding and willingness to learn regarding children and adults with cleft lips/palates

Wendy Williams is now making fun of Joaquin Phoenix for his microform cleft. Fucking disgusting.

No one should be making fun of anyone else’s appearance. End of story.

If y’all wanna drag her, go for it. I’m not gonna feed her.

People are waiting for an apology.

@WendyWilliams should feel ashamed for being so disrespectful joking about Joaquin Phoenix cleft lip, not only to him but others out there. This should not have been aired and she should be held responsible for her actions.

And a donation to a cleft lip and palate charity.

Day 3
We are still waiting for a @WendyWilliams apology to the cleft community.

Outside of that, seeing everyone come together on social media to rally around her comments and actions has been truly amazing.

It’s clear we are making progress towards being able to #endbullying

Wendy has yet to respond.

Update: Wendy apologized and shared that her show will be donating to the cleft lip and cleft palate nonprofits Operation Smile and American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

. @Bighill44 We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery. I want to apologize to the cleft community and in Beau’s honor, our show is donating to @operationsmile and @AmerCleftPalate and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community.

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90,000 The presenter made fun of Joaquin Phoenix’s scar. And for this I had to answer

Beyoncé’s reluctance to get up during the applause for Joaquin Phoenix at the Golden Globe caused widespread discussion, and the singer’s act was commented on by TV presenter Wendy Williams. The TV star defended the pop diva, made ironic comments about the actor, and walked through his appearance. But taunting the scar over the Joker’s lip only got her into trouble.

Joaquin Phoenix was named Best Performance in a Drama Film at the Golden Globe Cinema Awards (Jan.5) for his role as Arthur Fleck in The Joker, according to the Golden Globe website.After the announcement of the star’s victory in the nomination, most of the celebrities in the hall stood up and began to applaud Phoenix – but the pop diva Beyoncé remained seated.

The act of the star caused a lot of discussion on Twitter, because while some people admired the alleged audacity of the singer, others felt that Jay-Z’s wife behaved disrespectfully.

Spencer althouse

Joaquin Phoenix received an award for “Joker” and a standing ovation from everyone . .. except Beyoncé.Love her.

Sam stryker

Beyoncé, seated as everyone stood up to applaud Joaquin Phoenix’s victory, is the spirit I want everyone to have in 2020.

Josuke =?

To be honest, this is rather rude.

Gabrielle skye

She should have stood up to show her respect.WTF.

Beyoncé’s reluctance to get up during a standing ovation to Phoenix became one of the topics of discussion on the show by American TV presenter Wendy Williams. In the January 7th episode, a TV star known for her sharp tongue defended B. According to the woman, it was enough that Bee patted the actor with a smile. In addition, according to Williams, celebrities and so had to constantly get up for a standing ovation throughout the ceremony, and, after all, “this is Beyoncé. ” The presenter assured: the pop diva’s dress was not at all bulky and she could well rise – she simply did not want to do it.

Following Williams began to speak out about the performer of the role of the Joker:

“In my universe, who [generally] is Joaquin Phoenix? Wendy asked, then pretended to think. “I think I’ve already shared this with you: I find him oddly attractive. He played Johnny Cash (in the 2005 film Walk the Line – Approx. Medialeaks). It was because of him that I was chained to the screen, not because of Reese [Witherspoon]. And this [points to the Joker poster]? I don’t know anything about it. “

“Who is Joaquin Phoenix?”

According to Williams, Phoenix “knows how to transform into another person.” But she paid special attention to his face. Wendy drew attention to a small scar over the actor’s upper lip – she decided that it was caused by an operation to eliminate cleft palate (or, as the people call it, “cleft lip”). Social media and media users have long suspected that the man had such an anomaly.

“He has this one, what is it called? Cleft lip.I find it very attractive, ”said the presenter.

It might seem that the TV star was complimenting Joaquin – but her gestures looked like she was making fun of the actor.

“I find it very attractive”

How that moment looked in the video can be seen below on the page.

The release caused a wave of outrage on social networks, and the main reason was the taunt of the host over the scar of Joaquin Phoenix. After all, the celebrity, with her remarks and gestures, managed to offend not only the fans of the actor, but also the audience who was born with a cleft palate – or knows firsthand how difficult it is for the owners of such a feature.


Hey @WendyWilliams, do you want to make fun of Joaquin Phoenix? Perhaps you should remember this exact comparison.

Tim peters

Born with a cleft lip, and I still have a scar there. The way @WendyWilliams made fun of this is extremely disrespectful and wrong.Joaquin Phoenix deserves the best, just like the rest of us. And no amount of apology will fix that.


It’s just disgusting that Wendy Williams made fun of Joaquin Phoenix for his cleft lip – something he had no control over and was born with. Good luck trying to fix your shitty temper, Wendy ?? ‍♀️

Alden Hirata

Because of my cleft lip and cleft palate, I had more than a dozen surgeries.Your actions made me feel ashamed, and it really sucks. You should at least think about an apology to Joaquin Phoenix.

Canadian athlete Adam Bighill ran an entire Twitter campaign urging Wendy Williams to apologize. The American football player published posts on his account for five days in a row, criticizing the host for her mockery of the cleft palate. The release touched the man, among other things, because his little son has just such a feature.

Adam bighill

Is @WendyWilliams taunting people with cleft palate on his TV show ???? Are you kidding ??? We are all responsible for ending the bullying.She – with such a [large] audience like me – bears much more responsibility for her actions [than other people]. That’s just terrible.

A petition even appeared on the Change.org portal demanding the dismissal of Wendy Williams for her trolling of people with a “cleft lip.” The author of the appeal has friends, whose son was also born with a cleft mouth, and he published their outraged words about the release of the TV show. At the time of this writing, the petition was signed by more than 23 thousand people.

The criticism worked. On January 16, the TV presenter on her Twitter briefly apologized to all the words hurt by her, tagging Adam Bighill in the publication. The woman also wrote that in honor of the son of a football player, who will have surgery that day, the show will send donations to two non-profit organizations helping people with this disability.

Wendy williams

Adam Bighill, my thoughts are with Bue today, because he has an operation.I want to apologize to people with cleft lip, and in honor of Bew, our show will donate to Operation Smile and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. We encourage viewers of Wendy’s Show to learn more [about this feature] and help support people with cleft lip.

True, judging by the comments, people are not impressed: many believe that the request for forgiveness looks unconvincing, and the TV star tried to buy off the critics.

Celebrities today get it for less.So, Stephen King spoke on Twitter about the hype with the “Oscar”: the allegedly unfairly deprived categories of actors and directors who were not nominated. Two tweets and people got so angry that excuses didn’t help much.

Another topic discussed in connection with the upcoming Oscar was the host of the ceremony, or rather, his absence. The organizers announced that the presentation of the statuettes will again take place without an entertainer, but people have found their own ideas of candidates from the people – one is better than the other.

Not only a famous TV presenter can share her opinion.An English teacher told you how to cope with huge New Year’s expenses, and you will definitely take this life hack into service.

90,000 The presenter mocked Joaquin Phoenix’s scar and insulted thousands of people

January 16, 2020, 12:20

TV presenter Wendy Williams apparently thought she could say and do whatever she wanted, especially insult other people. Recently, a woman willingly joined in the persecution of Meghan Markle, rode through Madonna, indicating who she should meet and who not, and now she decided to giggle heartily at people with a cleft palate (the so-called “cleft lip”).

Shot from the program

Wendy Williams often hounds other celebrities on her show, but this time she went overboard, because, together with Joaquin Phoenix, she ridiculed everyone who was ever born with a cleft palate.

It all started with a discussion of the Golden Globes, at which Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Performance in a Drama Film award. The fact is that most of the celebrities gave a standing ovation, except for pop diva Beyoncé, who for some reason remained sitting still.

Wendy decided to discuss this in her program, and defended Beyoncé, saying that there was enough and just applause from the pop diva. In her opinion, celebrities constantly got up to clap and the fact that Beyoncé did not want to do this is her business.

Well, then Wendy Williams started her favorite pastime: bullying those who are more talented and better than herself.

“Who is Joaquin Phoenix anyway? I find him strangely attractive, played by Johnny Cash, and thanks to him I was glued to the screen.And this one (pointing to the Joker poster)? I don’t know anything about it ”,

– says Wendy, showing complete illiteracy and unfamiliarity with modern cinema.

Wendy Williams paid special attention to Joaquin Phoenix’s face, especially the scar over his upper lip. She, like many fans of the actor, decided that the reason for this was the operation to remove the cleft lip.

“He has this one, what is it called? Cleft lip. I find it very attractive, ”

– said the presenter, gesturing with the same scar.

But it turned out to be extremely disgusting: Wendy literally scoffed at it with her gestures to applause in the studio. Here is the moment in the video: