Dwayne Johnson barely escaped his hardscrabble upbringing, says Allison Glock in Men
Dwayne Johnson barely escaped his hardscrabble upbringing, says Allison Glock in Men’s Journal. Before becoming rich and famous as “the Rock,” the 36-year-old wrestler-turned-actor grew up poor and rowdy in Bethlehem, Pa. “When I was 15 we had to go to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving because we couldn’t afford our own meal. I remember they asked my mom to say grace, and she started crying, she couldn’t get the words out.” Johnson’s father, a professional wrestler himself, was usually on the road; at home, he drank. “My relationship with him was strained. He was not a loving guy.” Seething with anger, Johnson began shoplifting and picking fights with classmates. He was arrested several times. The “defining moment” in his life, he said, came after he was suspended for pushing another kid, hard, into a locker. When he returned to school, he encountered the head football coach, who screamed at Johnson that he was ruining his life. The coach later convinced Johnson to try out for the team; he not only made the squad but became its star defensive tackle. “Coach wanted so much more for me. He pushed me, got me to apply for scholarships.” Johnson got into the University of Miami, which led to a football career in Canada, professional wrestling, and finally, Hollywood. Lowering his head, he says, “I could have easily gone the other way.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Conspiracy theories spread in the wake of Malaysia Airlines flight disappearance
Subscribe to the Week