The wrestling world was saddened in January when news emerged of the passing of Rocky Johnson, a celebrated WWE Hall of Famer and the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. While speaking with Oprah Winfrey on her “2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour,” the Hollywood A-lister opened up about his relationship with his dad and discussed how he’s been coping with the grieving process.
As quoted by 411 Mania, Johnson revealed that he and his father didn’t always have the best relationship. However, at the funeral, he did learn just how positive an impact the Hall of Famer had on those who knew him.
“I had a complicated relationship with my dad. It was really, there was a foundation of tough love with my father. [He] wasn’t a big ‘I love you’ guy, and as complicated as it was, what gave me great satisfaction at the funeral was to see he was a great friend to so many guys. A challenged father, but a great friend to so many people.”
Johnson also opened up about his regrets over not being able to say all of the things he wanted to tell his father before he passed away. According to the actor, he’s been feeling “guilty” because the two of them didn’t get to have an honest heart-to-heart when they still had time. Overall, though, Johnson is thankful for the time they did get to spend together.
Winfrey also asked Johnson if he felt his father was proud of him. The actor said he believes his father was proud of his success, especially in regards to his own professional wrestling career. “The Rock” said his father gave his life to the wrestling industry, and seeing his son make a name for himself in the business he helped build was a big moment for him.
Johnson also discussed how his father was a “trailblazer,” as he was a successful black wrestler who wrestled in the South for most of his career. Back then, opportunities were rare for black athletes, and racism in the industry was still very prominent, but the Hall of Famer was still able to find success despite all of the obstacles in his way.
During the interview, Johnson revealed how his father never wanted him to become a wrestler because the business didn’t lead to financial stability for their family. However, Johnson still followed his heart and ended up becoming one of the biggest stars in WWE history.