Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Talks Depression, Urges Others to “Open Up”

The Rock - Dwayne Johnson
via Eva Rinaldi / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Yet, in an interview with British publication Express, he recalls points in his life where he felt he’d never make it to see his current success.

Johnson secretly dealt with depression for most of his life. The 45-year-old actor began noticing his symptoms as a child, after witnessing the hardships his mother underwent to provide for the family.

At the age of 15, Johnson saved his mother from a suicide attempt, stopping her from walking into oncoming traffic. Johnson then suffered injuries that would halt his high school football career, and he lost the support of his long term girlfriend after a bad breakup. Johnson told Express “that was my absolute worse time.”

“We both healed but we’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain,” he said. “We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone.”

“I’ve battled that beast more than once,” The Rock told a fan talking about depression on social media.

Johnson persevered, and turned his wrestling fame into a lucrative career in acting by 2000. The Rock became a household name, and cautions young black men to “open up” more and talk about mental health. He tweeted the same caution to his 2.7 million followers on Monday after so many responded with support for him opening up himself.

The Rock’s message comes at a time where hashtags #BlackBoyJoy and #YouGoodMan encourage black men to explore and express their emotions, despite toxic gender roles. He urges black men especially to “do our best to pay attention to when other people are in pain.”