Dwayne Johnson is full of swagger and charisma, and you’d be hard pressed to find a person who didn’t begrudgingly appreciate his enthusiasm for all things. These days, he’s a full-fledged movie star, but Johnson hails from humble beginnings. Here are some facts about the man formerly known as The Rock:
1. Johnson comes from a family of wrestlers
The man who would rise to fame as The Rock came by it honestly. His father, Rocky Johnson, was a professional wrestler; his maternal grandfather, Peter “High Chief” Maivia, was also a wrestler. Several of Johnson’s cousins and uncles have enjoyed careers in the wrestling business as well. Johnson was the WWF/WWE’s very first third-generation pro wrestler, which added to his notoriety in the ring.
2. Football was his first career choice
Johnson played high school football in Pennsylvania and attended the University of Miami on a full football scholarship. After he was sidelined by a series of injuries, Johnson failed to get drafted by the NFL. He persisted in the sport by joining the Canadian Football League, which only lasted a few months before he was let go from the Calgary Stampeders.
3. He’s a tough guy who isn’t afraid to cry
Johnson has been very upfront about his multiple bouts with depression. He told Hollywood Reporter that he suffered two major depression episodes over the loss of his football dream: “I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know why I didn’t want to do anything. I had never experienced anything like that. I didn’t want to do a thing. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was crying constantly. Eventually you reach a point where you are all cried out.”
4. Pro wrestling made him a star
Johnson decided to combine his father and grandfather’s names and become Rocky Maivia in the wrestling ring (after a short stint as Flex Kavana). He soon simply became known as The Rock. His wrestling career lasted until 2004 and included 8 WWF/WWE championship belts. After a break for other opportunities, The Rock returned to the ring from 2011-2013 until he suffered a major adductor injury that required surgery to fix.
5. The Rock coined several wrestling catchphrases
Fans went wild when The Rock dropped his favorite words in the ring. Some of these catchphrases included, “Layeth the smackdown,” “The millions (and millions) of Rock Fans,” “Jabroni,” “Roody Poo Candy Ass,” “Yabba Dabba Bitch,” and (last but definitely not least) “The People’s Eyebrow.”
6. Then Hollywood came calling
After The Rock hosted Saturday Night Live in 2000, Hollywood studios began to send him unsolicited scripts. Soon, he found himself starring in 2001’s The Mummy Returns alongside a $5.5 million salary (at the time, the highest amount an actor ever earned in an initial starring role). In 2013, Johnson qualified as the top-grossing actor of the year.
7. One role he didn’t capture
Johnson desperately dreamt of portraying a James Bond villain after his grandfather played one in 1967’s You Only Live Twice. Johnson was said to be “crushed over the snub,” which reportedly occurred because he demanded too high of a salary.
8. Johnson enjoys taking care of a woman
He told Essence magazine, “When I say I’m going to take care of a woman, I don’t just mean physically or sexually or romantically. I’m going to take care of her emotionally and spiritually. I’m going to take care of her in all ways. I take a lot of pride in that today.”
9. Johnson lived in many places as a child
Before reaching the age of 18, Johnson lived in New Zealand, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. His mother is of Samoan heritage, and his father’s side of the family hails form Black Nova Scotia.
10. He holds dual citizenship
Johnson is a citizen of the United States. He was also able to gain Canadian citizenship (as of 2009) because his father was born in Canada.