How Dwayne Johnson’s Ex-Wife Saved His Career: ‘I’ve Always Been in The Background’

Dwayne Johnson epitomizes success. His dedication and hard work put him on the path to become the world’s biggest superstar and one of its most notable figures. Johnson, however, didn’t achieve his great success alone. His ex-wife, Dany Garcia, has her fingerprints all over Johnson’s incredible career. Garcia was able to offer both the emotional and business support Johnson needed to take his stardom to the next level. Without the help of Johnson’s first love, it’s possible Johnson’s film career would’ve gone on a much different trajectory.

Who is Dany Garcia?

Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia smiling
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Dany Garcia | Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Dany Garcia first met Johnson at the University of Miami. Like Johnson, Garcia had a hustler’s spirit. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, her drive was inherited by parents who taught her the value of hard work.

“Growing up in that family, there was a sense of drive,” Garcia said in an interview with Paste.

The work ethic instilled in Garcia at a young age motivated her. At age 12, she’d already decided that she wanted to become a millionaire. The question was just how she would get there. At the university, she took an interest in International Financing and Marketing, which led her to the investment management company Merill Lynch. There, Garcia rose through the ranks to become the company’s head VP.

“Whatever I learned at Merill Lynch would absolutely benefit me in any other career,” Garcia said about the company.

Because of Garcia’s business acumen, Johnson requested that she managed his career even after their divorce 2008. Garcia obliged, and it was a partnership that paid off.

How Dany Garcia saved Dwayne Johnson’s career

Johnson didn’t become the world’s biggest movie star overnight. He had a difficult time transitioning from wrestling to acting at first.

“I was told I had to conform to a standard in Hollywood that would beget me more work,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “You essentially had to deconstruct yourself.”

“He was like: ‘Okay, I need to conform. Maybe, I’m too big.’” Garcia confided to Newsweek about Johnson. “He dropped down to sort of embrace ‘this is what a Hollywood actor does.’ But it wasn’t feeling great.”

So, Garcia gave Johnson a sort of career intervention.

“We had a movie come out called Faster at the tail-end of his CAA run. It was a small but important movie because the decision was made that he would be himself from this point on,” Garcia said. “He was going to make Hollywood make room for him instead of trying to fit himself into Hollywood.”

With Garcia’s management and support, they decided to drop Johnson’s agent, CAA, in favor of WME, which aligned more with their vision. They were going to stop trying to conform to an archetypal model of the leading man.

“Let’s do you. That’s all we need to do.” Garcia said she told Johnson in an interview with marieclaire.

The strategy worked. Johnson went from being an actor with a great resume to a megastar and a brand, a transformation that might not have happened without Garcia’s guidance.

Dany Garcia has always been in the background

There’s a reason why Johnson personally asked Garcia to manage him. She’s been a secret part of Johnson’s career since before Johnson’s transition into movies.

“From the time Dwayne was playing football at University of Miami, to wrestling in the WWE, to emerging in film, I was always in the background guiding him, giving counsel, and adding a business point of view to all the decisions,” Garcia said to marieclaire.

From discussing Johnson’s wrestling storylines and promos back in his WWE days, to discussing contracts and business dealings, Garcia has been instrumental in Johnson’s accomplishments.

Garcia and Johnson have since cultivated a thriving partnership that keeps growing. The pair co-founded Seven Bucks Productions, Johnson’s production company. They purchased the XFL, a football league that was once run by WWE chairman Vince Mcmahon. The two have even started their own Tequila brand in Teremana Tequila. Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garci might not be a couple anymore, but it’s clear with her constant care and support, Johnson has found a life partner in his manager and confidante.

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