Dwayne Johnson opens up about depression

Dwayne Johnson opened up about his struggles with depression in an interview with a British newspaper.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson said he sank into depression as a teenager after witnessing his mother's suicide attempt.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson said he sank into depression as a teenager after witnessing his mother's suicide attempt.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, one of Hollywood's highest-paid stars, is speaking publicly about his and his family's struggles with depression, and encouraging men suffering from the condition to open up and seek help.

In an interview with Britain's Express newspaper, the 45-year-old said he faced his demons after witnessing his mother's suicide attempt as a teenager.

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

After the interview was published on Sunday, he tweeted that he received "tons of responses. Thank you".

"Depression never discriminates," he wrote to his 12.7 million Twitter followers. "Took me a long time to realise 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."

Express recounted that Johnson was 15 when his mother attempted suicide, months after they were evicted from their apartment.

She walked out of her car on a major interstate in Nashville and into oncoming traffic, with giant trucks and cars swerving out of the way.

He said he was able to pull her from the highway, but then sank into several years of depression, which were made more difficult by several injuries that halted his would-be football career and a break-up with a girlfriend.

"That was my absolute worst time," he told Express.

Johnson, who is promoting the Warner Bros action film, Rampage, has previously revealed details about his mother's suicide attempt.

In a February Instagram post about filming a scene involving suicide in his HBO series, Ballers, he wrote that the moment had him reflect on "how many of us have been affected by suicide of our friends, family".

He told Express that he and his mother "both healed, but we've always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain. We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone".

He rose to prominence as a professional wrestler in the 1990s as The Rock and has considered entering politics. Forbes has estimated he was Hollywood's second-highest-paid actor last year, with US$65 million (S$85 million) in earnings.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'Dwayne Johnson opens up about depression'. Print Edition | Subscribe