People has just crowned the 2016 Sexiest Man Alive, and for fitness lovers everywhere it’s a major victory. All hail Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — Sexiest Man Alive!
But it hasn’t been all sexy photo shoots and endorsement deals for the pro-wrestler-turned-actor. In People’s recent interview with Johnson, the 44-year-old opens up about the rough road he traveled to get to where he is today.
“I was a challenging kid,” Johnson tells People of his childhood in Honolulu. “I was doing a lot of things that I shouldn’t have. I was getting arrested multiple times, but at the same time always very respectful to my teachers and elders. I was unsure of who I was and who I wanted to be.”
But the one thing that Johnson was sure of was that he wanted to take his passion for sports and football all the way to the NFL. And for a moment that dream was on its way to being a reality. After playing college football for the university of Miami, Johnson played professionally for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Unfortunately, Johnson’s dreams were cut short when he was subsequently cut from the team two months later. “I played football for 10 years with one goal, which was to play in the NFL, which meant we’d never be evicted again,” Johnson told People. “It meant that I could buy my parents their first home, their cars, whatever they wanted. So that failure was tough; that was a tough pill.”
“I literally looked in my wallet and I had a five, a one and change. So I rounded it up to seven,” Johnson remembers. “It was a real rock bottom for me, and I didn’t know how defining or how meaningful seven bucks would be only until years later in my life.”
The failure pushed The Rock to pursue professional wrestling as his grandfather and father had, and he joined the WWE in 1996. Following an astoundingly successful wrestling career, People reports that Johnson started a production company with his then wife, Dany Garcia, called Seven Bucks Productions, to always be “a constant reminder of how things once were.”
Turn the clock forward and Johnson is now the highest-paid actor in America. We bet those football coaches had no idea what a huge star they had on their hands.
“I’m always operating like I could go back to that,” he told People “It sounds cliché, but I always say, ‘Use me [as] an example.’ If I can do it and I did — because we all have those low points in our lives — hopefully I can motivate and inspire some people out there.”