Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. “The Rock,” has battled depression for decades, saying his mental health struggles were triggered by his mom’s suicide attempt when he was 15-years-old.
“Struggle and pain is real,” Johnson told the Express. “I was devastated and depressed. I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly.”
Johnson, who was ranked the highest-paid actor in 2016, said his lifelong struggle with depression stemmed from his troubled childhood growing up in poverty. His despondent mom got so distraught one day that she tried to commit suicide in front of him.
“She got out of the car on the Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic,” The Rock recounted. “Big rigs and cars were swerving out the way. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road.”
Shockingly, Johnson said his mother has no memory of trying to kill herself. But it’s something he will never forget.
“What’s crazy about that suicide attempt is that to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever,” said Dwayne. “Probably best she doesn’t.”
While the 6-foot-5 former pro wrestler is celebrated for his rippling physique and unwavering dedication to fitness, his tough exterior masks the same hidden insecurities and struggles everyone else navigates.
After his professional football career was derailed by injuries, Johnson became a wrestler, where he ruled the ring from 1996 to 2013. Since 2014, The Rock has made guest appearances with the WWE after pivoting to acting in 2000.
Johnson said he modeled his incredible career after former bodybuilding champion Arnold Schwarzenegger, who became an A-list action star after retiring from bodybuilding. Last week, Schwarzenegger underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic catheter valve but is doing well now.
“I tried to model myself after Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone and I knew that one day I would get into acting,” Johnson told Dolce. Like his heroes Schwarzenegger and Stallone, Johnson credited exercise and fitness for helping him develop self-confidence and discipline.
“I had a lot of personal struggles I was going through and I was lost and getting into lots of trouble as a teenager. I needed to straighten myself out and thanks to bodybuilding, I was able to gain self-respect and set definite goals in my life.”
The Rock often shares motivational quotes and posts inspirational videos on Twitter and Instagram, where he constantly urges his fans to set goals, work hard, and never give up. After all, he says, his own improbable journey from impoverished kid to world-famous millionaire movie star shows that you can move mountains if you persevere.
When a fan recently wrote him a letter confessing that he was battling severe depression, Dwayne Johnson wrote back.
“I hear you. I’ve battled that beast more than once.”