Celebrity | Movies

Dwayne Johnson Finally Comes Clean About His Family's Struggles With Depression And Suicide

Huffington Post

We like to imagine that the celebrities we see on TV and in movies lead perfectly happy lives.

But deep down we know that's just not true.

Whether they're battling hidden illnesses or have lost loved ones, celebrities are facing the same problems as the rest of us.

Dwayne Johnson and his daughter Jasmine.
Dwayne Johnson and his daughter Jasmine.therock / Instagram

Take Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson. He was facing every parent's worst nightmare last month when he had to rush his daughter to the E.R.

The actor was up all night worrying about her, and that's something any parent can relate to.

But there are other dark chapters to Johnson's life that he's just beginning to share with fans.

"We couldn’t even afford Thanksgiving dinner"

Johnson was recently filming a scene for his HBO show, Ballers, in a cemetery.

The setting reminded the star of a particularly scary moment from his childhood.

The Rock Instagram
therock / Instagram

Johnson was raised by his mother in Hawaii, and says his family struggled after his father - who was also a pro wrestler - lost his job.

"We couldn’t even afford Thanksgiving dinner and was praying someone would invite us over their house to eat," Johnson revealed on Instagram.

"We were in a tough spot back then, but we got through it."

But before the family recovered, a teenage Johnson was forced to rescue his mother from a desperate suicide attempt.

"Big rigs and cars swerving outta the way not to hit her”

Johnson was only 15 when he says his mother, Ata, walked into oncoming traffic, trying to kill herself.

She had recently been evicted and had her car repossessed, and he says she was struggling to cope with the stress.

The Rock and his mother Ata Johnson.
The Rock and his mother.therock / Instagram

Johnson remembers she "got outta the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic."

"Big rigs and cars swerving outta the way not to hit her."

Johnson was forced to grab his mother and pull her to the side of the road to save her life.

"What’s crazy about that suicide attempt is to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever," he wrote.

"Probably best she doesn’t."

"I've battled that beast more than once"

Of course, Johnson grew up to be one of the world' most recognizable professional wrestlers and a very successful actor.

He's treated his mother to gourmet meals and trips on private jets.

But the actor admits he's still battled his own demons.

Dwayne Johnson Twitter
TheRock / Twitter

Writing to a fan who mentioned he suffered from depression, Johnson said, "I've battled that beast more than once."

And he revealed just what he meant in a new interview.

"I was crying constantly"

While he's famous for playing tough guys and action heroes, Johnson isn't afraid to show his sensitive side.

He revealed that, just like his mother, he's lived with depression for years.

Dwayne Johnson crying.
Johnson gets emotional during an interview for Oprah's 'Master Class.'OWN

He's sharing his story now in the hopes that it will inspire others to seek help.

"No shame in getting help and wanting to be better," he told his fans.

Johnson revealed to Express that his "absolute worst time" came when his football career ended, and he was dumped by his girlfriend soon after.

"I reached a point where I didn't want to do a thing of go anywhere," he admitted.

"I was crying constantly."

Inspiring others

During an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's Master Class in 2015, Johnson also shared a message with his fans suffering from depression.

"I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you're not alone," he said.

Dwayne Johnson and his mother Ata Johnson.
The Rock says he and his mom are living proof that things are never as bad as they seem.VinceMcMahon / Twitter

"You're not the first to go through it, you're not going to be the last to go through it. Have faith that on the other side of your pain is something good."

While Johnson says both he and his mother are happier now, they want to help others grappling with the same condition.

"We both healed but we've always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain."

And of course, other celebrities have shared their own experiences with depression.

Laughter and tears

It seems like plenty of our favorite comedians have suffered through dark periods where nothing could make them laugh.

While many of their fans don't realize it, Jim Carrey and Robin Williams both battled depression.

Jim Carrey Robin Williams
Wikimedia

"I had that for years," Carrey told 60 Minutes about his condition.

"But now, when the rain comes, it rains, but it doesn’t stay."

The comedian even admits he would hide his emotions from the people around him.

"There are peaks, there are valleys. But they’re all kind of carved and smoothed out, and it feels like a low level of despair you live in," he said.

"Where you’re not getting any answers, but you’re living OK. And you can smile at the office. You know? But it’s a low level of despair."

"I didn't want to be alive"

Even Michael Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, sometimes felt like he had nothing to live for.

Michael Phelps
JD Lasica / Flickr

"I can tell you I've probably had at least half a dozen depression spells that I've gone through. And the one in 2014, I didn't want to be alive," he confessed on the Today show.

"But going through my all-time low, you know, kind of seeing where I was and then seeing what I have now, I'm so thankful for my family and friends around me who were able to help me and were able to communicate with me."

If you know someone who's struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can get help by calling 1-800-273-8255.

[H/T: Express]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com