Who is Summer Phoenix?

A television and film actress with 30 acting credits to her name, Summer Phoenix is still perhaps known best for her role as Samantha in the 2002 TV movie “Wasted”, which also earned her a Prism Award nomination for Performance in TV Movie or Miniseries. However, Summer is also known as the ex-wife of the Oscar-awarded actor Casey Affleck – their divorce made the headlines and caused many rumors.

More about this talented actress, her life, her career, and how she’s doing now, you’ll find in this article. So keep on reading.

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Early life, parents, and education

Born Summer Joy Phoenix under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius on 10 December 1978, she’s today aged 44 (as of July 2023). A native of Winter Park, Florida USA, Summer holds American nationality and comes from a family of Hungarian, Russian, Jewish, German, French and English descent, and was raised by her parents, missionaries, John Lee Bottom and Arlyn Sharon (nee Dunetz), alongside her four siblings, Joaquin, Rain, River and Liberty.

Their parents met while John Lee was hitchhiking, and Arlyn offered him a ride. The couple married in 1969, and joined the religious cult Children of God, subsequently serving as missionaries in South America. Summer’s siblings are all actors too, and probably the most famous and the most successful is Joaquin Phoenix, the famed “Joker” actor.

When their father, John Lee, stop working due to health problems, the family moved to Los Angeles, California, and their mother Arlyn, with the help of a high-profile child agent, Iris Burton, got the children into commercials and bit parts on television. At the time, Summer was just two years old, but she also worked.

When it comes to her educational background, she attended a local high school, and upon matriculating in 1996, enrolled at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, however, she left the school before graduating to pursue her acting career.

Roles in series

Summer made her acting debut playing a Little Girl in an episode of the series “Airwolf” in 1984, and later that year, she was seen as Cindy Donovan in an episode of the popular crime-drama series “Murder, She Wrote”.

Her next TV series role came in 1987, when she was cast to play Molly Kelly in “Duet”, followed by her role as Jody in “Growing Pains”. In the following years, Summer guest-starred in “ABC Weekend Specials” (1988), “The New Leave It to Beaver” (1989), and “Swamp Thing” (1990).

Summer focused on her movie roles, and to date, her last TV series appearance was her portrayal in 1997 of Petra, in an episode of the long-running popular series “ER”.

Roles in movies

Summer made her movie debut playing Frannie in the 1986 TV drama “Taking It Home”, then made her big-screen debut in the following year, as Candi in the drama “Russkies”, also starring her brother Joaquin. A decade later, Summer was cast to play her first lead role, as Jane Freeman in the drama “Arresting Gena”, starring opposite Aesha Waks in this coming-of-age movie, which followed the story of a teenage girl and her brother, a drug dealer, who had to run away from their home. The film was nominated for the Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize.

It seems that 1998 was a good year for Summer – she was seen starring in the movies “Girl”, “I Woke Up Early the Day I Died”, “SLC Punk!”, and “The Faculty”. Two years later, she landed the role of Meg in the comedy-drama “Commited”, starring Casey Affleck, and later that year, Summer was seen playing the lead role in the romantic drama “Esther Kahn”, which followed the story set in 19th-century London, about a young Jewish girl who dreams of becoming an actress. The movie won the Cahiers du Cinema Top 10 Film Award for Best Film.

In the following year, Summer was cast to play Carla Moebius in “The Believer”, which earned her the Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Female. As mentioned, she starred in the TV movie “Wasted”, playing Samantha, who with her two high school friends, Owen (Aaron Paul) and Chris (Nick Stahl), gets drawn into the drug scene. The movie won the Prism Award for Movie or Miniseries for Television.

Summer next starred in the 2004 movie “Suzie Gold”, and then after twelve years, she landed the role of Samantha in “All at Once”. Many assume that the reason for her acting hiatus was her devotion to her children.

In 2017, she was seen in “Across My Land” and “The Mad Whale”, followed by her roles in the short movies “Tiny Little Life” (2018) and “Skin” (2019). Most recently, Summer was seen as Beth in the 2022 thriller drama “What Comes Around”, starring opposite Grace Van Dien and Kyle Gallner. The movie was nominated for the Sao Paulo International Film Festival for Best Film.

Summer’s fans will be happy to hear that she has two upcoming movies, entitled “The Line” and “Mary Pickford: Love Wild”, both currently in development.

Love life, marriage, and divorce

Summer was rumored to be in a relationship with an actress, Clea Duvall – allegedly, the two dated in the early 2000s, as they were often seen together in public, however, neither Summer nor Clea spoke about their alleged romance.

Casey Affleck and Summer met through Joaquin Phoenix, Summer’s brother, when he and Casey were filming “To Die For” in 1995. They eventually started dating in 2000, and three years later, Casey proposed to Summer, and the couple announced their engagement on 25 December 2003. Their first son, Indiana, was born on 31 May 2004, and two years later, on 3 June, the couple exchanged their wedding vows, in a ceremony held in Savannah, Georgia. Summer gave birth to their second son, Atticus, on 12 January 2008.

Reportedly, the two separated in November 2015, but publicly announced their separation in March 2016. In the following year, Summer filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences, and their divorce was finalized by the end of 2017. Summer and Casey remain very close friends.

As of July 2023, it seems that Summer is single; she was once married and has two children.

How rich is Summer Phoenix? Net worth

Many critics believe that now as a mature actress, Summer has a lot to bring to the world of the film industry. Although she may not have had any significant roles that would have brought her that great Hollywood fame, she’s left her mark on the big screen. Thanks to her acting career, she has earned a good living for herself.

According to sources, as of July 2023, Summer Phoenix has a net worth estimated at over $4 million. We know you’re wondering how rich her ex-husband is; well, Casey Affleck’s net worth has been estimated at over $25 million. According to People magazine, he pays $4,000 per month in child support, but isn’t paying spousal support.

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