Dwayne Johnson Pays Emotional Tribute to His Late Father

Dwayne Johnson has a soft side. The prolific actor took to social media to share personal feelings about his father, the late professional wrestler Rocky Johnson, to mark what would have been his 77th birthday. 

He reflected on failing to become an NFL player

The Rock close-up shot
Dwayne Johnson | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

In an August 21st Instagram post, alongside a video, the Jungle Cruise actor reflected on the irony of appreciating the dreams of youth that simply didn’t come true. 

“Man I look at life these days with deep gratitude, humility and a little grace – thankful for those dreams that didn’t come true,” he wrote on Instagram. 

“That’s the irony of life sometimes where the thing we want most – is sometimes it’s the best thing that never happened. I failed at becoming an NFL player. And as complicated as my relationship was with my old man, he was the one who eventually trained me to become a pro wrestler. And the rest is history,” 

Johnson continued by marking the occasion of what would have been his father’s 77th birthday. The loss is still fresh; Rocky Johnson died of a heart attack on January 15th of 2020. 

“My dad would’ve turned 77 years old this coming week,” he wrote. “Rest In Peace Soulman and cheers to those dreams that don’t come true.” 

A touching video tribute accompanied the post

Expanding on his thoughts, Johnson also posted a video. He’d wanted more than anything to play football professionally and said he felt it was his “path.” It was that failed dream, however, that allowed him to bond with his father over wrestling. And that was the thing that would ultimately propel him to international superstardom in movies. 

“My dream was to become a professional football player, and felt like that was my path,” he said in the video. “And of course, that dream didn’t come true. But life is so wildly unpredictable. And when you look back, sometimes the dreams that we have and the things that we want most to happen in life are sometimes the best things that never happen.” 

Johnson also said that one’s destiny couldn’t be achieved without sometimes being forced out of their ideas about things. And he’s grateful it didn’t work out the way he originally planned. 

“Because truth is, had I not been evicted, and had we not been kicked off the island, that would not have set me on a path of being motivated and driven to work hard [and] work my ass off,” Johnson said. “I look back with gratitude and I look back now thankfully with a little bit of grace in knowing that all things worked out the way they should.”

Dwayne Johnson said his father ‘paved the way’ for future generations

At his father’s funeral last year, Johnson delivered a eulogy. In a subsequent Instagram video post, he praised his father’s far-reaching influence and called him a trailblazer. 

“You trail blazed and even harder, you changed people’s harsh behaviors toward a man of color,” he captioned the video. “Paving the way for me, my family and generations to come.”

Johnson continues to blaze trails of his own. The actor was recently named the second-highest-paid actor in a single role for 2021 by Forbes. His role in the upcoming Red One will earn him $50 million. 

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