Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Talks Depression Battle: I Was "All Cried Out"
The Rock's rock bottom. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about battling depression and overcoming the "absolute worst time" of his life. In the interview, the Hercules star, 42, recalled his teenage years, when he got in trouble with the law and at age 14, he was evicted from the home he shared with his mother.
"We were living in an efficiency that cost $120 a week," he told THR. "We come home, and there's a padlock on the door and an eviction notice. My mom starts bawling. She just started crying and breaking down. 'Where are we going to live? What are we going to do?'"
That time period, according to Johnson, changed everything. "That was the tipping point," he told the mag. "It was about, 'What can I control with these two hands?' The only thing I could do was train and build my body. The successful men I knew were men who built their bodies."
Eventually, Johnson bulked up and went from a gangly, angry teenager to an NFL hopeful who attended the University of Miami on a full football scholarship at 18. But during his freshman year, Johnson succumbed to numerous injuries, which led to further depression. "I didn't know what it was," Johnson told THR. "I didn't know why I didn't want to do anything. I had never experienced anything like that."
Johnson's dream of becoming an NFL player was crushed when he wasn't picked in the draft, but he went on to sign with the Canadian Football League. At the time, Johnson lived in a two-bedroom apartment with three of his teammates, where he slept on a filthy mattress found on the street. When it felt like things couldn't get worse, Johnson was released from the team. "There was no injury," he recalled. "It's just, 'That's it. You're not good enough.' That was very sobering."
The incident led to Johnson's first split from his girlfriend Dany Garcia (who eventually became his wife and manager.) "The dreams I had, they're dashed," added the Fast & Furious franchise star. "There is no more football. My relationship was crushed. That was my absolute worst time."
Johnson said the breakup brought him to an even lower place. "I didn't want to do a thing," he explained of his mental state. "I didn't want to go anywhere. I was crying constantly. Eventually you reach a point where you are all cried out."
Still, Johnson trudged on and found stardom in the wrestling ring, where he was dubbed "The Rock." Johnson's Hollywood acting career began in March 2000, after he first successfully hosted Saturday Night Live. In 2001, he starred as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns and its spinoff, The Scorpion King. "I was told that I had to conform to a standard in Hollywood that would beget me more work, better roles," he recalled. "Which meant I had to stop going to the gym, which meant I couldn't be as big, which meant you had to distance yourself from wrestling. You essentially had to deconstruct yourself."
The actor's films in 2013 alone made a whopping $1.3 billion. Up next he stars in Hercules.
"I grew up where, when a door closed, a window didn't open," he said. "The only thing I had was cracks. I'd do everything to get through those cracks—scratch, claw, bite, push, bleed. Now the opportunity is here. The door is wide open and it's as big as a garage."