Tragic Details About The Rock

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of the most recognizable names in pro wrestling and one of the biggest success stories in the industry to date — and he's one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, on top of all that. While he's stepped away from wrestling, even claiming that he quietly retired in 2019, Johnson made appearances as The Rock on "WWE SmackDown" in September 2023 and "WWE Raw" in early January 2024 before joining the TKO Board of Directors later that month. He even teased a long-anticipated rivalry with his cousin, dominant Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.


However, despite all this success, Johnson comes from humble origins, something he's never been shy to share. Even after his rise to fame, The Rock"was never a stranger to tragedy, and faced many difficulties that could have derailed other careers. In fact, the challenges he's faced across his life make him one of the most relatable men in both Hollywood and professional wrestling.

As a teenager, he had multiple run ins with the law

While he's reached many heights of success today, Johnson's childhood was far from ideal. As the son of Rocky Johnson and "Ata" Maivia — adopted daughter of "High Chief" Peter Maivia — The Rock has wrestling in his blood. Rocky Johnson started his career as a boxer but eventually transitioned into pro wrestling, where he first met Peter at Ata Maivia. However, Rocky Johnson was married at the time and had children he also had to provide for, even after he divorced his first wife.


Rocky Johnson's life as a wrestler left Dwayne and his mother to care for themselves day-to-day in Hawaii. They had to move from place to place, often only staying in one home for a few months at a time. Despite this, they were once evicted from their home, which Johnson recalled in an interview with "The Hollywood Reporter."

"We come home, and there's a padlock on the door and an eviction notice," he said. "My mom starts bawling. She just started crying and breaking down. 'Where are we going to live? What are we going to do?'"

Johnson's mother also had her car repossessed a week before this. Unfortunately, Johnson turned to a life of petty crime and joined a theft ring that targeted tourists in Waikiki, resulting in multiple run-ins with the local police before he was old enough to vote. 


His mother attempted suicide when he was 15

The Rock has been candid about his relationship with Rocky Johnson, having described him as an absent father. Sadly, this put his mother, Ata, through traumatic emotional pain.

During an interview with Express, Johnson recalled the day his mother attempted suicide in front of him, shortly after the aforementioned eviction. According to Johnson, they were in Nashville and driving on Interstate 65 at the time. Without warning, his mother got out of the car and "walked into oncoming traffic." Traffic swerved out of the way, and Johnson luckily got to her quickly enough to grab her and pull her back onto the shoulder of the road, saving her life in the process.


Looking back, he still claims he "got lucky that day" and lamented how often things take a more tragic turn of events with many other suicides. However, while he might have saved his mother's life, he admitted that the ordeal still sent him into a deep depression.

"I reached a point where I didn't want to do a thing or go anywhere," he said. "I was crying constantly."

According to Johnson, his mother has no recollection of the events whatsoever, but that the two of them have since healed. Today, Johnson and his mother have a heartwarming relationship. In 2023, for her 75th birthday, Dwayne posted a clip of him singing to Ata, which made her emotional.

He lost two of his rolemodels before he turned 23

Like many children of wrestlers, Johnson grew up in and around the industry and met many veterans. With his father rarely at home, his grandfather became a father figure to him and helped stabilize his life. In an interview with GQ, Johnson even described Peter Maivia as "a very proud man who was very much loved and respected, and also one of the toughest men ever in pro-wrestling." Johnson once revealed that his grandfather was partially the inspiriration for the character of Maui in Disney's "Moana," who Johnson voiced.


Sadly, Maivia died when Johnson was only ten years old, after a battle with cancer — one of the catalysts that propelled Johnson into a life of petty crime. Later, in his 20s, Johnson also had to deal with the passing of Andre The Giant in 1993, when he was only 46 years old. Years later, Johnson posted a tribute to "The 8th Wonder of the World."

"Andre was a hero of mine," Johnson wrote. "And for some reason he took a liking to me too & always treated me like his own son."

Maivia and Andre were good friends while both were in the industry, which could be why the massive legend took a liking to Johnson. Johnson also posted a tribute to both men on his social media accounts, highlighting how close they were while lamenting that he never got to raise a tequila with them.


His football career fell flat

After some growing up and watching his mother struggle to keep a roof above their heads, Johnson finally decided to do something with his life. But before following in his father and grandfather's footsteps in wrestling, he decided to set his sights on the NFL, landing a football scholarship with the University of Miami.


According to Johnson in an interview with "The Hollywood Reporter," he sustained his first-ever injury during his freshman year. "My shoulder popped out of its socket and was just hanging there," he said. Following this, Johnson fell back into depression, as he began to question his identity and his future. At this time, his parents were living together in Tampa, and he decided to drop out of school and live with them instead. But after a few weeks, Johnson received a call from his coach scolding him and telling him to go back.

"He says, 'Get your ass in a car and come back right now.' He was so embarrassed and pissed," Johnson said. "It's one thing when you go through an injury and depression. It's another when you walk away and say, 'F*** it.'"


Johnson returned, but he missed his opportunity to be drafted by the NFL, and despite being picked up by the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders, he was still not making enough money to help his mother. Things got worse when he was demoted to the practice team and earned only $250 per week, after which he cut from the team entirely.

"There was no injury. It's just, 'That's it. You're not good enough,'" Johnson explaned. "That was very sobering."

His divorce sent him into a depression and took 10 years to recover from

In 1997, Johnson married his first wife, Dany Garcia. Their marriage lasted a decade and produced a daughter, current "WWE NXT" general manager Ava. Despite their divorce in 2007, the two have remained close and even worked together in business. According to Garcia in an interview with People, their past has helped them succeed in their business ventures.


""He has a strong sense of family," Garcia said. "We have that extra layer of trust that can only come from family. We are just a different family, and we keep adding new people."

However, in the "The Hollywood Reporter" interview, Johnson said taking accountability for his failed marriage sent him into yet another cycle of depression in which he questioned his ability as a father and husband.

"That's when it all hit me," he said. "What kind of dad does this make me? What kind of man will I now become? Failing at marriage and as a husband was a heavy thing, and divorce had that special way of knocking me on my ass."

Years later, in an interview with WSJ Magazine, Johnson revealed that it took him over 10 years to process his divorce and become open to getting married again. In 2019, he finally married his long-term girlfriend Lauren Hashian after 12 years of dating and the birth of their two daughters, Jasmine Lia and Tiana Gia.


""My divorce did a number on me," he said. "I wasn't fearful of getting married again, there was just some hesitancy."

He suffered numerous injuries across his career

While he might have won the WWE Championship on eight different occasions and became the sixth WWE Triple Crown Champion, Johnson's career in pro wrestling suffered many setbacks. In a 2021 Instagram post, while going through rehab, Johnson listed all the injuries he suffered over the years he put his body on the line: "4 knee surgeries, torn quadricep off my pelvis, torn adductor off my pelvis, triple hernia surgery, ruptured Achilles' tendon, [complete] shoulder reconstruction, 3 low back disc herniations, 2 low back disc ruptures."


During a Q&A session on his Instagram account, Johnson explained that he actually retired in 2004.

"In 2004 when my contract expired, I had delivered on my agreement with the WWE and with my long-time mentor and very, very good friend Vince McMahon," he said, "We shook hands, that's the way we are."

Despite this, he later called Vince McMahon in 2011, and the two began planning his comeback and "official" retirement, which ended up being his WrestleMania 29 match against John Cena. However, Johnson suffered an injury during that as well match, when he tore the top of his quadriceps completely off the bone. He claims he lost feeling for ten minutes and relied on momentum to carry him through the remainder of the contest.


His daughter, Jasmine, was rushed to the hospital in 2018

Johnson currently resides with his wife, Hashian, and two daughters Jasmine and Tiana. Unfortunately, in March 2018, the Johnson family was plunged into a crisis while his wife was still pregnant with Tiana. In the middle of the night, the couple had to rush their daughter Jasmine to a nearby hospital.


Following the crisis, Johnson took to his Instagram to talk about the situation, which he described as something he "would never want to happen" to any of his fans. In the post, he also thanked the LAFD as well as the UCLA medical team. "Things got a lil' hairy this weekend. Thank you LAFD first responders & UCLA medical team." Sometime following the situation, Johnson spoke to Extra and briefly spoke about what happened that night.

"About three weeks ago, in the middle of the night, she wound up having like a croupy cough which a lot of parents out there know. So we experienced that, and then she also had a problem breathing in that moment... it got a little hairy. Called 911. LAFD came so quick and I was very proud of them and very grateful for them, too."


Luckily, the family dodged what could have been an absolutely tragic moment just before the birth of their second daughter. Today, Jasmine is healthy and happy, and is often described by her father as "fearless." Johnson also regularly shares sweet moments between him and his daughters online, via his social media.

His daughter, Ava Raine, personally knew people in the Parkland Florida school shooting

The 2018 Parkland school shooting is still remembered as one of the most deadly school shootings in American history, with 17 fatalities and 17 wounded. While the event naturally shocked the country, Dwayne Johnson's family was personally touched by it, since Johnson's daughter, Ava Raine, had friends in the school due to attending a high school nearby.


Following the tragedy, Johnson commented on the aftermath and how it affected his daughter. "She was absolutely terrified. A lot of her friends' friends died. It's heartbreaking. They're still going through it." While John didn't have much else to add to comfort families and friends, he emphasized child safety going forward. "We've gotta keep our kids safe."

It remains to be seen if Johnson will make yet another career transition and aim for the realm of politics, but he has often spoken out on major political issues and tragedies. He notably shared photos of a "March for Our Lives" rally, whose sole aim was to bring attention to actions that should be taken in light of gun violence and the responsibilities that follow. 


Additionally, Johnson also shared a tribute to the victims and their families on his X account. "My heart breaks for those affected from the Parkland shooting. This one hits hard as it's in our county where I live w/ my family. [Strength], love and light to all the families & students during this tragic time. Stay strong – together."

Johnson lost two very close frineds in 2013 and 2020

In 2013, Hollywood star Paul Walker died after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident in California. Naturally, the industry and all the fans of the "Fast & Furious" franchise mourned his passing, but since the two co-starred in the movie series, Johnson was personally hit by the news.


During his interview with "The Hollywood Reporter," Johnson recalled hearing about Walker's death while he was driving with his wife. "I pulled over and looked at my messages and had a moment where I just caught my breath." The couple then said a prayer for Walker's daughter, then proceeded to travel home where they mourned together.

Sadly, this wouldn't be the last time Johnson would lose a close friend, as in 2020 former WWE star Shad Gaspard died heroically after saving his son from a rip current in Venice Beach. Lifeguards were able to rescue his son, but by saving the then 10-year-old, Gaspard was left and taken by the ocean. Gaspard's body was discovered on the beach three days later.

Following Gaspard's tragic passing, Johnson took to Instagram where he shared a heartfelt tribute to his friend. "This one hurts. Great guy. My deepest condolences and love to Shad Gaspard's wife, son, and family. ... This is a tough one to process."  Gaspard notably retired from pro wrestling in 2010 and began to make small appearances in Hollywood films, seemingly following in the footsteps of Johnson as well.


Johnson lost both his father and father-figure in 2020

Despite not having a good relationship with his father growing up, Johnson grew very close to him later in life, and the WWE Hall of Famer even mentored him once he started making strides in WWE. Sadly, "Rocky" Johnson died in January 2020 at the age of 75. In a heartfelt post, Johnson shared a tribute to his father on Instagram.


"Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back. Im in pain. But we both know it's just pain and it'll pass ... Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman ... I love you dad and I'll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high."

Two days later, Johnson revealed his father's cause of death in another Instagram clip, and according to him, "Rocky" Johnson suffered from a cold and infection that led to a blood clot in his leg, which ultimately ruptured in his lung, leading to a massive heart attack.

Later that year, Johnson's mentor, Pat Patterson also passed away. Patterson notably petitioned McMahon to give Johnson a shot and suggested that he should go by "The Rock" instead of "Rocky Maivia." Similarly, Johnson shared a heartfelt message to Patterson via his Instagram.


"Rough phone calls to get this morning to tell me, our dear family member, Pat Patterson who was my pro wrestling mentor and father figure has passed away."