The Rock revealed a struggle with depression throughout his life in a new interview, proving that even larger-than-life figures can get down.
Dwayne Johnson may one of the biggest (literally) stars in Hollywood, successfully making the jump from pro wrestling to the big screen, but his road was not always easy. Johnson revealed that he struggled with a difficult childhood that included being kicked out of home at age 14, but turned things around to earn a full football scholarship to the University of Miami.
Johnson impressed the coaching staff, earning himself a place on the team as a freshman. But after suffering a number of injuries, Johnson lost his way and ended up leaving school without even taking midterms.
As he felt himself slipping back into the troubles that followed him through childhood, one of Dwayne’s coaches got through to him.
Dwayne Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter in the June 27 issue:
“He says, ‘Get your ass in a car and come back right now.’ He was so embarrassed and pissed. It’s one thing when you go through an injury and depression. It’s another when you walk away and say, ‘F— it.’ ”
Johnson was again crushed when he was passed over by NFL teams, leading him to sign with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. But Johnson didn’t make the cut for the team.
“You hear the words you never want to hear as a player: ‘Coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook,’ ” said Johnson. “There was no injury. It’s just, ‘That’s it. You’re not good enough.’ That was very sobering.”
That led the many later known as The Rock into depression again. Johnson said his dream of playing professional football had reached its end, and he had just $7 to his name.
He eventually found a career in professional wrestling, becoming one of the biggest stars in the then-WWF’s history. But The Rock still fell into depression even after his success. After his 2008 divorce from college sweetheart Dany Garcia, Johnson said he drifted into a funk that was only snapped when he realized his obligations to his daughter.
“Once I manned up and became accountable for the mess I was in, that’s when it all hit me,” he told the magazine. “What kind of dad does this make me? What kind of man will I now become? Failing at marriage and as a husband was a heavy thing, and divorce had that special way of knocking me on my ass.”