Thanks to a slew of hit comedies, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson has transitioned from pro wrestling tough guy to Hollywood teddy bear and beloved funnyman. Now he’s showing fans a different side.
In an interview with the Express, the action hero spoke candidly about his personal mental health struggles.
According to the Rampage star, his “absolute worst time” came after his dreams of pursuing a football career crumbled — he was cut from the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders in 1995 — and his girlfriend ended their relationship.
“Struggle and pain is real,” he said of that dark time. “I was devastated and depressed.
“I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere,” he added. “I was crying constantly.”
It’s not the first time Johnson has addressed mental health in his family. In February, he posted an Instagram message detailing his mother Ata’s suicide attempt when he was 15.
“She got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic,” the 45-year-old actor told his fans. “Big rigs and cars were swerving out of the way. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road.”
Though he has now found success on both personal and professional levels — the father of two is expecting another child with longtime girlfriend Lauren Hashian, and is one of the highest-paid actors in the world — Johnson says it’s “important to not forget the tough times.“
“We both healed but we’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain,” he said about showing empathy to others in similar situations. “We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone.”
The actor’s frank discussion about depression has been applauded for raising awareness about mental health struggles, particularly in men. As Johnson said in a tweet, “us dudes have a tendency to keep it in.”
Got tons of responses to this. Thank you. We all go thru the sludge/shit and depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 2, 2018
— shauna (@goldengateblond) April 2, 2018
— K Shier (@Kesbug) April 2, 2018
I'm very glad you choose to share this story, raise awareness, & help destigmatize discussions on mental health. I have struggled with depression my whole life and last year sought out and received tremendous assistance in a mental health hospitalization program. Thanks for this.
— Jared Petty (@pettycommajared) April 2, 2018
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