“The First Time Depression Hit Me…”: Dwayne Johnson, on Verge of Billionaire Status Thanks to XFL and Teremana Tequila, Had a Gut-Wrenching Bout With His Own Mental Health

Over the last two decades, Dwayne Johnson has had no problems portraying the roles of the macho hero in films. His impressive physique adds legitimacy to the characters he plays on screen. To keep his fans interested, Johnson frequently posts videos and pictures of his workouts on social media, wherein he shows the method behind his madness. A glance at them would reveal Johnson’s discipline and dedication to bolstering his craft. While stories of his physical prowess have always generated interest from his fans, Johnson’s recent revelation, which highlights another aspect of his strength, is winning accolades.

Appearing on The Pivot Podcast, The Rock laid bare his vulnerabilities as he openly discussed his battles with mental health in the past. While it is not unusual for the burly star to suffer from bouts of depression, it certainly takes an immense amount of courage to open up to it publicly.

Three Battles of Depression That Made Dwayne Johnson a Megastar He Is Now

Not just once, The People’s Champ was struck by depression thrice at different stages of his career. The 51-year-old, who is now on the verge of becoming a billionaire, thanks to an increase in the sale of Teremana tequila- his spirit brand, last battled depression around 2017, while his first one was as a budding footballer in school.

Speaking to the hosts of the podcast- former NFL stars Channing Crowder, Fred Taylor, and Ryan Clark- Johnson said his divorce from first wife Dani Garcia in 2008 was the second time he was hit by mental health issues. However, The Great One admitted that he didn’t know what mental health of depression was at that time.

“Years later, went through it again when I got a divorce, didn’t know what it was,” he said. Johnson was married to Garcia from 1997 until 2008. It took him another 11 years to walk down the aisle as he married Lauren Hashian in 2019 after over a decade of dating the musician.

In between, he was hit by the depression, but by then, the $800 million Hollywood actor was well equipped to handle it. “Around 2017 or so, went through [it] a little bit but knew what it was at that time,” Johnson said.

He added, “And luckily at that time I had some friends I could lean on and say, ‘Hey, you know I feel a little wobbly now. I got a little struggle happening. I’m seeing the gray and not the blue’.”

Earlier in 2021, Johnson told Men’s Health that asking for help during such times of distress was the “most powerful thing you can do”. Talking about his first experience with depression as a teenager, he said, “Back then, depression was also called ‘get off the couch and get your s**t together and change what’s happening here.’”

He said people should embrace their vulnerability and accept the fact that one cannot always solve everything. “A lot of times in life, as you head down the road, you’re going to need help, and it’s all a part of life,” the Jumanji actor explained.

Johnson’s words of wisdom were a result of what he had experienced as an 18-year-old, whose hopes of making a name for himself in the world of the NFL were cut short by an untimely occurrence. The situation was so bad that it left a bitter aftertaste in his mouth, forcing him to sever an important tie.

Is it Genuine That Dwayne Johnson Left Schooling Because of Mental Health Issues?

Before following in his father’s footsteps and joining Vince McMahon’s WWE, Dwayne Johnson had dreams of becoming an NFL star. To his credit, he was headed in the right direction and was doing well at the University of Miami, until an injury dashed his hopes.

“The first time depression hit me I was at the University of Miami. I came in. I was balling out. I was going to be the only freshman to play. And at that time we were national champions, defending national champions,” he told the Pivot podcast hosts.

“That sent me in a tailspin,” Johnson said. The sudden forced change of plans didn’t sit well with the 18-year-old who had already started dreaming about buying his parents a house and supposedly had his life set.

So, when it hit him, Johnson stopped going to school. “I didn’t want to go to school. I was ready to leave. I left school. I didn’t take any midterms, and I just left,” he said.

As mentioned above, Johnson didn’t know what was plaguing him at the time. It just stopped him from attending team meetings and participating in anything. “I just knew I didn’t want to be there,” The Rock said.

Call it ironic or just fate, Johnson is now the proud owner of XFL, a professional American-rules football league.

Fortunately for Dwayne Johnson, he was able to convince himself to give wrestling a shot and, subsequently, Hollywood. The rest, as they say, is history. Hopefully, Johnson’s story will inspire many out there, who are battling a similar condition, to seek help. And if you have a story to share, feel free to use the comment section.