Forget asking ‘what would God do?’, and for calm and clarity in the modern world consider instead, ‘what would Dwayne Johnson do?’ Possibly the most positive man on the planet, the former wrestler turned Hollywood powerhouse carries enough enthusiasm and joy on his broad shoulders to brighten up the days of everyone he meets, and despite being recently being named as the highest-paid movie star of all time (according to Forbes), remains admirably humble and gracious.
It all begs the question, does the indefatigable Johnson ever have a bad day? “Of course! We all have bad days but when I come to work, I try to put my best foot forward,” he begins. “There are a lot of people who depend on me and I feel like a lot of the work that I do starts with me, so let’s just embrace that,” he says.
“INEVITABLY, I AM GALVANIZING A
LOT OF PEOPLE AND BRINGING THEM
TOGETHER. THAT IN ITSELF WILL GIVE
ENOUGH MOTIVATION TO PUT YOUR
BEST FOOT FORWARD TRY TO WORK
WITH A SMILE. AND ALSO I THINK IT’S
IN MY PERSONALITY.”
Such statements perfectly articulate the huge shift that has occurred over the last decade in Hollywood. Gone are the days when diva-ish behavior and outrageous
demands were an effective way to exhibit power and esteem, as celebrities regain agency over their own careers and promote instead the virtues of hard work
and humility. In short, it pays to be kind and sincere.
And in the case of the wrestler formerly known as The Rock, it pays and pays. Last year marked a blockbuster trifecta for our handsome hero, having helped fuel the box office success of Fast & Furious 8 in the spring, he rounded the year off with the enormously popular Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. And though the highly-anticipated Baywatch was more ‘beach bum’ that ‘beach chic’, his earnings last year were estimated to be around the $124 million mark—the largest ever recorded on the Forbes celebrity list.
But Johnson isn’t all about the money —though he did name his production company ‘Seven Bucks Productions’ in reference to the amount of money he had in his wallet when he dropped out of the Canadian Football League in 1995—as he promises to always do his best for his fans. “I want to bring a lot of joy and entertainment to people who are paying their money and expect their money’s worth,” clarifies Johnson. “I work very hard on my movies and as a producer I also try to involve myself in the entire process and make sure that people who go to see them are going to leave the theatre feeling happy and entertained. That’s what it’s all about for me.”
This year, the 46-year-old has been continuing his success at a brisk pace with action movies Rampage and Skyscraper both ensuring he remained a reassuring presence over the summer blockbuster season. And the accolades are deserved. For staying at the top isn’t easy when you consider all the work that goes into building and maintaining a top action movie star. Hours at the gym to hone that perfect physique, keeping up appearances on social media—where once more Johnson is formidable with over 108 million followers on Instagram, 13 million on Twitter and 58 million on Facebook—along with meeting and greeting his fans in real-life, and time spent actually on film sets making movies. In fact it’s hard to imagine the star doing anything outside of his exhaustive career, but Johnson actually has a happy and thriving homelife, welcoming his third daughter Tiana in April, with his partner of 12 years, Lauren Hashian. Juggling work commitments with a newborn is never easy, and the aable actor happily admits that while he has been enduring many a sleepless night, he wouldn’t change a thing, adding: “That’s three daughters now, which of course is amazing, and I am very blessed. Not sure why I can’t make boys, though!” he says with a laugh.
“It’s not for the lack of trying and I am practicing all of the time, you can be sure of that. Some people say that practice makes perfect, but maybe in my case a boy, maybe… at some point.”
Baby Tiana joins big sisters Jasmine, who turns three in December, and Simone, 17 (from Johnson’s marriage to Dany Garcia), making the actor an old pro when it comes to fatherhood. And while he may have a tough guy persona, it is well known that Johnson is a softie at heart, meaning there was no way he would miss out on witnessing the birth of his youngest daughter. “This time around it was an incredible experience and I have learned that you
have to be supportive of your partner, you have to be right there for her… I hold hands and legs… I did it all on this,” he says proudly. “The doctor had asked me
if I wanted to watch and go down to the business end, where it all happens, and I said: ‘No, I would rather stay up here by momma…’” “Then, I thought: ‘No, this is my daughter, my third child, I have to be there…’ so I said my wife: ‘Just hang on… I’ll be right back!’ Just watching and being a part of that process was amazing.”
Johnson is well aware that he is living the Hollywood dream, yet things could have been very dierent for the cinema titan, who originally had his heart set on a career in American football. Hampered by injury he was forced to find another path, deciding to follow his grandfather Peter Maivia and his father Rocky Johnson into the wrestling ring—Johnson’s debut wrestling moniker was Rocky Maivia which later became, The Rock. With his cheeky charm, impressive strength and swarthy good looks, Johnson quickly became a hit on the wrestling circuit, a path that would eventually lead him to superstardom.
Having built his empire brick by brick, the movie mogul understands how important it is to keep on top of your game, work hard and maintain a focus on your goals, all the while preserving a positive mental attitude. He has also been most candid about discussing his 19-year struggle with depression, taking comfort from the knowledge that opening up about his own problems may just save someone else from theirs. “When I spoke about my depression in my younger days, people did take inspiration from my comments and as I have said previously, depression doesn’t discriminate. I thought that if I was going to share some
stories of my past, it doesn’t matter what your stature, your income or where you’re born, and that is still the case—depression doesn’t know any difference; we all go through it in some way,” he explains. “I knew that I could share a little bit of what I had gone through and if it could help just one person, then I was happy to
do it. There’s something about the way men are put together as human beings, and a society which often doesn’t let us talk about any time that we feel scared or
vulnerable or anything like that.”
For Johnson, his struggle began when he was a young child witnessing the financial burden and stress on his parents who were evicted from their apartment and
had their car repossessed. This heartache eventually become too much for his mother who attempted suicide when Johnson was 15. He admits that his own depression plagued him throughout his difficult college years and though, thankfully, both he and his mother have both conquered their demons, Johnson can’t stress enough the importance of speaking up on issues of mental health. “You have to talk about it, never be too proud, too shy or too embarrassed. I was
an only child and I kept my depression bottled up—deep, deep down inside of me— and it wasn’t good. But I am happy to share my experiences if it helps other people try to feel better about themselves.” Next year his career will go full circle as he stars in and co-produces the comedy drama Fighting With My Family, which is based on the true personal story of WWE Superstar Paige (played by Florence Pugh) and her family of professional wrestlers.
In the hilarious trailer for the film we see Paige and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) ask Johnson (playing himself) advice on how to make it in wrestling. And while he offers up an impressive monologue on trash talk, his real-life tip for overcoming adversity is perhaps slightly more succinct and infinitely more helpful: “You’ve got to find a purpose in life. Whatever it is, go out and work your butt o and don’t ever stop. In my case, sports and later on bodybuilding were the things that helped me set goals for myself and build my self-esteem, but that’s only a platform for what’s to come. And what’s to come can be magnificent if you let it.”