The two action stars made their first onscreen appearance together in 2011’s Fast Five, in which the former wrestler joined the already long-running franchise as Luke Hobbs, an agent pursuing the Fast and Furious crew for their various crimes against … every law enforcement agency in the world.
Everything seemed copacetic over the years as Johnson returned for the sixth and seventh entries in the saga, but in August 2016, the Jumanji star set the fandom ablaze with a since-deleted Instagram post in which he referred to unnamed members of the cast as “candy asses.”
Rumors immediately swirled that he was insulting Diesel, who had been part of the Fast franchise since the first movie premiered in 2001. A few days later, after filming for The Fate of the Furious wrapped, Johnson posted another Instagram thanking some of his castmates by name — Scott Eastwood and Nathalie Emmanuel, for example — but pointedly did not mention Diesel.
Though the Rampage star never identified the target of his ire, his costar seemingly confirmed that it was him in his own Instagram video. “Honestly, give me a second and I will tell you everything,” he said. “Everything.”
“Any human being who knows what men are like knows to stay out [of those] situations and let them figure it out,” she said in September 2016. “They’re ‘bros’, man. They’re friends, and ultimately even friends reach a point where they have to set aside their differences to make a movie for multicultural people around the world, and that is the bigger scheme of things.”
Fellow Fast Saga actor Tyrese Gibson was somewhat less diplomatic, however, when F9 was delayed for the first time in October 2017. (It was later delayed again because of the coronavirus pandemic.)
“Congratulations to @TheRock and your brother in law aka 7 bucks producing partner @hhgarcia41 for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU,” he wrote via Instagram, seemingly blaming Johnson for the movie’s production delays.
At that point, Diesel defended the San Andreas actor from Gibson’s accusations, saying that it wasn’t any one person’s fault and the franchise was “in need of maintenance.” Johnson, meanwhile, left the main Fast Saga and starred in his own spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw.
Keep scrolling to see everything Hobbs and Toretto have said about their feud over the years:
1 of 13
The Post That Started It All
"Some [male costars] conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't," Johnson wrote via Instagram in August 2016, kicking off the public feud between the two stars. "The ones that don't are too chicken s—t to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I'm not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling — you're right."
In a follow-up post, the Baywatch star said that conflict could be beneficial, but again didn't name names. “Family is gonna have differences of opinion and fundamental core beliefs,” he wrote. “To me, conflict can be a good thing, when it’s followed by great resolution. I was raised on healthy conflict and welcome it. And like any family, we get better from it.”
Credit: Larry Marano/Shutterstock
2 of 13
After filming for The Fate of the Furious wrapped in August 2016, Diesel posted a video about how happy he was to be home with his family after making two movies back-to-back. He also included a seeming nod to his drama with Johnson, saying, "Honestly, give me a second and I will tell you everything. Everything."
Credit: Jim Smeal/Shutterstock
3 of 13
In a November 2016 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Johnson implied that the feud was at least partly free publicity for The Fate of the Furious. “I’ve been in the game a long time,” he said of the conflict. “Would Universal have preferred that didn’t happen? Sure, we talked about it. The irony is after that and as they do their tracking and all their analysis, the interest shot through the roof to a whole other level.”
4 of 13
Ahead of the Fate release, Diesel told USA Today that the costars were actually friends and the whole situation had been overblown by fans and critics. "I don’t think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way," he explained. "I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don't think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne."
He also described himself as the punching bag for the franchise and claimed he was taking hits for the good of all the cast and crew. "I protect the franchise," he added. "I protect everybody including Dwayne. I protected Dwayne more than he’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to know. But he appreciates it. He knows it. Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that’s me."
5 of 13
Both stars attended the Fate of the Furious premiere in April 2017. “We still love each other, that's my boy," Diesel told Entertainment Tonight. "When I was making that difficult decision, should there be an 8 or not, I called [Johnson] and he said, ‘Brother, I will be there shoulder to shoulder with you to make sure it's the best movie in history.’ And he delivered." Johnson, for his part, said their feud was the result of "differing philosophies."
Credit: Felipe Dana/AP/Shutterstock
6 of 13
After Gibson accused Johnson of being the reason production on F9 was delayed, Diesel defended his costar via Instagram. "Brotherhood ... and all its complexities," he wrote in October 2017, alongside a photo of himself with Johnson in character. "I know there has been a lot of speculation as to why the Fast 9 release date was pushed ... but it would be unfair to say it is anyone's fault. As we plot the course to expand the Fast & Furious universe, one must be mindful to take stock of the roads we took to get here. The pillars of authenticity, family and most importantly, our loyal fans' perspective has been instrumental in procuring success. However, like any vehicle that has run around the globe 8 times, the franchise is in need of maintenance."
Credit: Marion Curtis/Starpix/Shutterstock
7 of 13
Together, But Apart
As viewers of Fate of the Furious quickly noticed, the two actors did not appear together in any scenes. Asked about this fact for a 2018 Rolling Stone interview, Johnson replied, "That is correct. We were not in any scenes together."
Credit: David Fisher/Shutterstock
8 of 13
A Heartfelt Thank You
Johnson seemingly let go of any remaining grudges after the success of Hobbs & Shaw. In an Instagram video shared in September 2019, he specifically thanked Diesel for his support of the spinoff. "Lastly, but not least, want to thank brother Vin for your support of Hobbs & Shaw," he said. "I'll be seeing you soon, Toretto."
Credit: David Fisher/Shutterstock
9 of 13
The Bloodshot star reignited conversation about the feud in June 2021, telling Men's Health that creating the Hobbs character required "tough love" on his part. "My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be,” he explained. “As a producer to say, ‘OK, we’re going to take Dwayne Johnson, who’s associated with wrestling, and we’re going to force this cinematic world, audience members, to regard his character as someone that they don’t know’ — Hobbs hits you like a ton of bricks.”
He added that any of his potential critiques were in service of his role as a producer on the franchise. "That took a lot of work," he told the magazine. "We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love. Not Fellini-esque, but I would do anything I’d have to do in order to get performances in anything I’m producing.”
Credit: Rob Latour/Shutterstock
10 of 13
Johnson revealed in July 2021 that he would not be returning to the franchise after he did not appear in 2021’s F9. “I’ve wished them well,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “I wish them well on Fast 9. And I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the Fast & Furious movies they do that will be without me.”
The Moana star also commented on Diesel’s “tough love” remarks, telling the outlet, “I laughed and I laughed hard.”
Credit: People Picture/Gerome Kochan/Shutterstock; Matt Baron/Shutterstock
11 of 13
In October 2021, Johnson told Vanity Fair that it wasn't his "best day" when he shared the original Instagram post that started it all. "I shouldn’t have shared that," he added. "Because at the end of the day, that goes against my DNA. I don’t share things like that. And I take care of that kind of bulls—t away from the public. They don’t need to know that. That’s why I say it wasn’t my best day.”
Though he regretted the initial post, the Jungle Cruise star said he wouldn't take back his message if given the chance. "I mean what I say when I say it," he shared. "But to express it publicly was not the right thing to do.” He also claimed that unnamed members of the Fate of the Furious crew "quietly thanked" him for speaking out about Diesel's behavior.
Credit: Shutterstock (2)
12 of 13
Jokes Are Fair Game
“The jokes never end,” Johnson said during a November 2021 appearance on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show when asked about the jab at Diesel in his film Red Notice. “People were asking me about that, and they find a way. These Vin Diesel jokes — which play great, by the way, to the audience, which is always a good thing because it’s all about them — people think these jokes come from me and they actually don’t.”
The former wrestler added: “You’d be surprised with how many people come to me with, ‘I’ve got a great one. I’ve got another great Vin Diesel joke.’ I’m sure you do. [They’re] always funny.”
Credit: Netflix; Rob Latour/Shutterstock
13 of 13
After Diesel made a public plea in November 2021 for Johnson to reprise his role despite their differences, the Moana actor shut it down as a form of "manipulation."
"I didn't like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker's death. Leave them out of it," Johnson told CNN one month later. "We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding. My goal all along was to end my amazing journey with this incredible Fast & Furious franchise with gratitude and grace."
Johnson pointed out that he felt "surprised" by Diesel's approach since he has previously made his decision not to return to the franchise very clear.
"This past June, when Vin and I actually connected not over social media, I told him directly — and privately — that I would not be returning to the franchise," he noted. "I was firm yet cordial with my words and said that I would always be supportive of the cast and always root for the franchise to be successful, but that there was no chance I would return."
Credit: Shutterstock (2)