Dwayne Johnson was ranked second on Forbes' list of highest-paid actors in 2017, with a net worth of $65 million, thanks to blockbusters like Jumanji and Fate of the Furious. However, not everyone is aware of Dwayne's early life and the events that led to his current global superstar position.
Johnson was born in Hayward, California on May 2, 1972, to Ata and Rocky Johnson. Dwayne's father, Rocky Johnson, and grandfather, Peter Malvia, were both professional wrestlers, hence he came from a wrestling family.
Dwayne Johnson has Samoan, Canadian, and American citizenship through his parents, despite having spent most of his life in the United States.
Dwayne Johnson was a promising football player in high school and college. His stature and athleticism led students at his high school to believe he was an undercover cop because he was 6'4 and 225 pounds at the time! Dwayne played football for the University of Miami and later for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. After his career was cut short due to injuries, he turned to wrestling after growing up seeing his father wrestle.
He met his first wife, Dany Garcia, while at university, and they married a day after his 25th birthday in 1997. They have a daughter named Simone Alexandra. They divorced in 2007. As of this writing, Johnson has subsequently found love elsewhere and is currently married to the musician Lauren Hashian, with whom he has a daughter.
In his early days in the WWE, Dwayne was known as "Flex Kavana," but he changed his name to "The Rock" a year later. With his iconic slogan "If you smell what the Rock is cooking!" he went on to become one of WWE's most popular wrestlers. He won the WWE heavyweight championship eight times during his wrestling career.
Dwayne Johnson decided to pursue a career in acting after wrestling, and his first appearance was as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns (2001). In 2007, he set a Guinness World Record for the most paid actor in a first film, earning $5.5 million. The film's success spawned a sequel, The Scorpion King (2002), which featured Johnson in his first leading role in a film. Dwayne began using his own name rather than The Rock, which was still owned by WWE at the time, which meant that Vince Mcmahon was credited as a producer on The Mummy Returns. Johnson now owns the name and occasionally appears as The Rock, much to the joy of WWE fans.
Dwayne Johnson has other businesses and published his autobiography, "The Rock Says...", in 2000, which spent several weeks at the top of the New York Times best sellers list. Johnson also runs his own production firm, Seven Bucks Productions, which has worked on a number of his films.
Dwayne Johnson's great blockbusters are well known, but what about the movies he was almost cast in? He was set to play Johnny Bravo in the live-action adaptation of the popular Cartoon Network show in 2002, but the project never materialized. Then, in 2005, he was Tim Burton's second option for Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, after Johnny Depp.
Many of Dwayne Johnson's films feature dangerous stunts that he is unable to perform due to insurance restrictions. Tanoai Reed, his nephew, is his stunt double for these stunts.
In one of his own stunts, he accidentally knocked down his co-star, Michael Clarke Duncan, in a battle scene in The Scorpion King. Dwayne Johnson has a long list of achievements, but the oddest has to be the record for "most selfies in three minutes," which he earned in 2015 during the premiere of San Andreas after taking an incredible 105 photos with fans!
In 2017, rumors began to circulate that he was considering a presidential run, which he confirmed in an interview with Ellen Degeneres, saying, "I'm definitely considering it, sure." He's also indicated an interest in playing a Bond villain in the future, similar to his grandfather Peter Malvia in You Only Live Twice in 1967.
Dwayne Johnson has been candid about his unhappiness since his mother, Ata, attempted suicide in 1987, despite his career's dizzying heights. He recalls her stepping into oncoming traffic and having to be dragged back to safety by a 15-year-old Johnson.
He has now recovered from the incident, noting, "We're both healed, but we've always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in agony."
Who knows what Dwayne Johnson will do next? But you can bet he won't be retiring anytime soon!
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