The rest is history - 'The Rock' Dwayne Johnson went from failed football player to richest actor in the world

The rest is history – ‘The Rock’ Dwayne Johnson went from failed football player to richest actor in the world

EXCLUSIVE: This week the 48-year-old – who cracked Hollywood and has starred in over 30 movies – was named the highest-paid male actor for a second year in a row by Forbes

“I didn’t know what to do or where to turn,” he said. “I fell into depression.”

Then he thought of using the powerful frame that had made him a bruising defensive linebacker to try to follow in the footsteps of his dad and grandfather and become a wrestler.

The rest is history – and those few dollar bills have now ballooned into a net worth of $280million for the man they call The Rock.

This week the 48-year-old – who cracked Hollywood and has starred in over 30 movies – was named the highest-paid male actor for a second year in a row by Forbes.

The mag revealed he earned a whopping $87.5million in the year up to this June, including $23.5million for the Netflix thriller, Red Notice.

He’s also made a tidy pile from his fitness clothing line, Project Rock.

“Cheers to dreams not coming true,” said Dwayne, hoping to inspire others never to give up when their hopes are dashed.

“Not an easy concept to process, but the idea that sometimes our biggest and most important dreams that don’t come true are often the best thing that never happened.”

Born in California, Dwayne grew up in North Carolina, Hawaii and Pennsylvania and had a brief spell with his mother’s family in New Zealand.


Until the age of 17, he admits he was wayward and was arrested several times for fighting and theft – but sport helped to straighten him out.

As a college football player, he won a national championship with the University of Miami’s Hurricanes team in 1991.

And after graduating, he joined the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League.

“Playing ball, I was always the hardest worker in the room,” he said.

“I did everything I could to make the CFL and then hopefully make it to the NFL where I dreamed of an All Pro/Super Bowl Champion career.


“Instead, I was cut from the team, told I wasn’t good enough and sent home with just seven bucks to my name. After years of blood, sweat, guts and tears, my dream was over.”

But Dwayne’s dad Rocky had been a former pro wrestler.

And his Samoan grandfather Peter had also enjoyed a career in the sport.

So Dwayne branded himself as The Rock and chose to climb into the ring, making his name in the World Wrestling Federation – now the WWE.

He took on the charismatic persona of a boastful, trash-talking wrestler in the “Attitude Era” of the sport – and went down a storm.


He made his acting breakthrough in TV series That 70s Show playing his own father in an episode called That Wrestling Show.

Dwayne made several other TV appearances before his big screen debut in The Mummy Returns in 2001.

Since then, he has gone on to star in more than 30 films and is best known for The Scorpion King and for playing Luke Hobbs in the Fast and the Furious movie franchise.

In 2017, he starred in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle which took $962million at the box office.

A year later, it was revealed Dwayne had become the highest paid actor ever to grace the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.


And while his professional life has flourished, with money pouring in from movies and merchandising, so has his personal life.

Dwayne married businesswoman Dany Garcia in 1997 and they had they had one child, Simone Alexandra, together.

She has now announced, at the age of 18, that she wants to follow in her dad’s footsteps and become a WWE wrestler.

Dwayne said: “She’s so smart, we’re all so proud of her.”

He and Dany split amicably in 2007 after he met singer Lauren Hashian, 34, while filming The Game Plan.

They went on to have daughter Jasmine in 2015 and another girl, Tiani Gia, in 2018. The couple married last year.

Dwayne is a proud father but his own upbringing was not always plain sailing.


Even before getting the boot from his football team, he had been plagued by depression from the age of 15 when his mum Ata tried to commit suicide.

In 2018, he said: “She got out of the car on the Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. Big rigs and cars swerving out of the way not to hit her. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder.

“What’s crazy about that suicide attempt is to this day, she has no recollection of it. Probably best she doesn’t.

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