Of all the bad guys and beasts Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has taken on over the years, there’s one foe that stands out to the former wrestler and action star: depression. Over the weekend, The Rock opened up about going through dark times emotionally, and how the best way he’s found to work through them is to stop bottling his pain up.
The Rock’s depression got to its worst point after injuries kept him from his dream of playing professional football (he played in Canada, but was dropped after a year), and his then-girlfriend broke up with him.
The interview comes exactly two months after Johnson posted on Instagram about the suicide of his character’s brother on his HBO series Ballers, and how shooting one scene brought back memories of his real mother’s suicide attempt, which Johnson witnessed at age 15. After being evicted from their apartment, Johnson’s mom walked into oncoming traffic; Johnson, who often speaks about how close he and his mom are, pulled her back.
Johnson says they’ve both healed from those experiences (his mom apparently has no recollection of her suicide attempt).
But it taught him to be vigilant about supporting friends, family, and even fans when they need help. That means committing to being open with his emotions himself, he says, even though men, particularly men like him whose tough guy status is at the center of their public identity, sometimes have a hard time being vulnerable.
As The Rock posted on Twitter on Sunday, April 1st, “depression never discriminates.”
Just because he’s one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors, his new movie Rampage comes out this month, he may have our vote for president in 2020, and he has possibly the cutest baby daughter in the world (with another on the way), doesn’t mean he doesn’t hit a rough patch every once in a while like everybody else.
“You’re not alone,” he wrote Sunday, and after his brave choice to speak out about these difficult personal issues, we’re sure there’s someone out there who really needed to read that.