In a new interview with the UK magazine Sunday Express, the world’s highest paid movie star, Dwayne Johnson, is opening up about his past experience with depression. Johnson is the latest celeb to share his personal relationship with the disease and, in turn, is helping remind his millions of fans that depression doesn’t care how masculine you look or how much you can bench press. FYI, he can bench press a lot.
Johnson revealed that his depression first began during his teen years when things were especially difficult in his home life. After Johnson and his mother Ata were evicted from their home in Nashville, Johnson witnessed his mother try to take her own life. "She got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic," said Johnson. "Big rigs and cars were swerving out of the way. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road. What's crazy about that suicide attempt is that to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever. Probably best she doesn't."
The former Calgary Stampeders football player revealed that his depression reached its peak years later when a series of injuries led to him being cut by the CFL. Not long after, Johnson’s girlfriend left him. "That was my absolute worst time," Johnson said. "I reached a point where I didn't want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly."
Johnson says he later found the strength to keep living and refocus his career and personal life, adding that his mother is also in a much better place mentally. "We both healed but we've always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain," he said.
Since the article was published earlier this week, Johnson says he has received an outpouring of support from fans. In a tweet to his 12.7 million followers, Johnson wrote:
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
Johnson has also reached out to fans who have revealed they too suffer from depression.
Hey man I get it. We all go thru the sludge and shit. Stay strong and make sure you’re talking to good people about it. Us men have a tendency to hold it in. No shame in getting help and wanting to be better.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 2, 2018
Known for his positive attitude on social media and when interacting with fans in person, many were surprised by the actor’s admission of his personal struggles.
"Struggle and Pain Is Real": Dwayne Johnson Opens Up About His Decades-Long Battle With Depression
Of all the people, i never thought for even a second that -the Rock was depressed..https://t.co/yeI4IRGoiC#dwaynejohnson #therock #depression #help #health #struggle #pain pic.twitter.com/rSznixHS47
— Lehiri (@Lehiri1) April 3, 2018
Johnson’s story is yet another reminder that depression doesn’t look a certain way or affect specific people. Every time we think we can’t love The Rock any more than we already do he takes it to the next level.
When we sat down with a group of young men to discuss #BOYHOODTODAY, everyone chose @TheRock as their idea of masculinity.
Thank you Dwayne Johnson for sharing such a difficult personal story. No doubt it will help so many young people struggling.@TODAYshow https://t.co/Cg5faGziww
— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) April 3, 2018