When you think of Dwayne Johnson, there are probably a few images that come to mind. You may recall him as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, WWE Superstar, or you may know him from his acting work in Fast & Furious, Moana, Jungle Cruise, and more. Or, perhaps you just enjoy his tequila. If there is one thing we all have in common when it comes to our perception of Johnson, it is success.
As noted by Vanity Fair, “For each of the last five years, he was, according to Forbes’s annual list, either the highest or second-highest-paid actor. (In that period, he is estimated to have earned a total of $430.4 million.)”. The only actor to have topped him most recently was Daniel Craig. Dwayne comes off as a lovable teddy bear, and although he may be very successful now, it was not always that way. Dwayne, in fact, grew up deep in poverty, with less than $10 to his name.
In the Vanity Fair piece, Dwayne recalls his mother receiving an eviction notice on their door in Hawaii when he was a teenager. After seeing all that his parents were doing to make it through, he vowed to ensure they would never have to feel that way again. At age 15, he “was sent ahead to Nashville, where, instead of staying with his father as he expected, he moved into a seedy motel room with one of his father’s wrestling friends, Bruno Lauer.” He had to drive Bruno around and make sure that they had what they needed to survive. To do this, Johnson would steal, which was something he had been doing in Hawaii all his life.
Once John’s mother arrived in Nashville and saw that the car her husband was driving was stolen, Johnson notes that she seemed to give up.
“My mom gets out, completely glazed over in her eyes, and walks into I-65, walks in the middle of the highway,” Johnson says. “Into traffic. Big rigs swerving. Like she felt, ‘What has my life come to? I don’t care anymore.’ ”
Johnson rushed from his car, ran into the traffic, grabbed his mother, and pulled her to the side of the road.
To this day, his mother remembers nothing of that moment.
“I think what breaks her heart is that I saw it, and I pulled her from the highway,” Johnson says. “That’s the part that really hurts her.”
Shortly after, Johnson never stole again. Life continued to be challenging for the Hollywood star after who turned to the Canadian Football League for success, only to be cut. This was the moment Johnson realized he only had $7.00 to his name. Of course, once Dwayne was introduced to the WWE, a calling he surely received from the complicated relationship with his father, who was also wrestling to put food on the table, his success only grew.
Johnson became just as popular as Stone Cold Steve Austin, the reigning king of the WWE at the time, and would then move into the realm of Hollywood as a successful actor and producer.
What do you think of Johnson’s humble beginnings?