Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

On January 25, Dwayne Johnson joined Oprah in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out their conversation about loss, gratitude, and finding your personal truth in the full transcript below.

Watch Oprah interview Dwyane Johnson below:
 

 

Read the full transcript:

OPRAH: OMG, it's about to happen. (Applause.) So of the nine visionaries joining us on the WW Presents 2020 Vision Tour, Your Life in Focus, there's only one man. (Applause.) But when it's one of the most recognizable, big-hearted, delightful, fun, strong people on the planet, he's all you need. Please welcome Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. (Applause.)

(Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson entrance.)

OPRAH: The Rock. Welcome. Look at that.

DWAYNE: What's up, Atlanta? (Applause.) Thank you, Oprah, for having me. Thank you, guys.

OPRAH: Before we get started—I love you.

DWAYNE: I love you, too. Thank you, mom. I would love to—I'd love to—where's Erik?

OPRAH: Where's Erik? Erik.

DWAYNE: Where's Erik? Erik, where are you, Erik?

OPRAH: Erik, come up here.

DWAYNE: Erik.

OPRAH: Come on up here, Erik.

DWAYNE: Come up here, brother.

OPRAH: Wow. You know, Erik was so excited because he was saying he's such a fan of—of The Rock. And it's been such an inspiration. And part of his inspiration to do what he does has come from you. Erik Pimentel.

DWAYNE: Erik. I just want to say what a pleasure it is. And you're such an inspiration.And thank you for being a fan. I'm honored that you're a fan. And backstage you look 20 years younger. Give me a hug. Absolutely. I had to say hello to you.

OPRAH: Yeah. Thank you for being here. That was it. That was your moment. (Laughter.)

DWAYNE: That's one of those great moments.

OPRAH: That's what it looks like. Thank you, Erik Pimentel. You know, it means so much to everyone that you are here with us today, since it was only 10 days ago that your father, Rocky "The Soulman" Johnson passed away. And when that happened I thought, oh, no, I didn't think that you'd be able to be here. And you are here. So thank you for being here. (Applause.)

DWAYNE: Thank you.

OPRAH: So it's been a—has it been a challenging week?

DWAYNE: It has. It's been a challenging past couple of days. My father, he passed away on January 15 and we just buried him a few days ago. And it's—we all go through this, and we all go through this, our own process of grieving and regrets and all these things and emotions that we go through. And—but, again, it's the cycle of life. And it's beautiful. It's painful. It's amazing.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: It's incredible. It's all these things. And I will tell you this. In this process—I had a very complicated relationship with my dad. And it was really—there was a foundation of tough love with my father. And he wasn't a big "I love you" guy. And as complicated as it was, what gave me great satisfaction at the funeral was to see he—he was a great friend to so many guys. A challenged father. But a great friend to so many people. So he went quick. There wasn't a lot of suffering, thankfully, but— 

OPRAH: I read on Instagram where you'd said you wished you had just one more day. Do you think you got all the things said that you wanted to say?

DWAYNE: No.

OPRAH: You did not.

DWAYNE: No, I did not. So, you know, that's the tricky thing I think as we all go through this and we all lose loved ones, I think what I've realized in the past couple of weeks is it's good to explore these feelings. I'm feeling a little guilty and I didn't get a chance to say the things I wanted to say. Or I wish he would have said the things to me—

OPRAH: Yes.

DWAYNE: —As a father, now as a father of three daughters, the important critical things that anchor us that I didn't get from him. And it's okay to explore those feelings. But it's also very important to heal, to make sure that we come back to an anchoring foundation of—of gratitude. Gratitude for what I was able to have with him.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: You know. And so I didn't get a chance to say the things that I wanted to say to him. However, another thing that is important, too, is, you know, because in death, that's when we can spiral and think, well, I should have done this. Or I should have called. And I should have sent more pictures. But we've got to realize that the relationship that I had with my dad was a relationship that was—that was appropriate at that time.

OPRAH: Absolutely. For that time. Do you think that—when did you know that he was proud of you?

DWAYNE: I felt that he was proud of me when I became successful in an industry that he had given his life to.

OPRAH: That's right.

DWAYNE: So my father, for a lot of you guys who don't know, he was a professional wrestler.

OPRAH: And so was your grandfather.

DWAYNE: And my grandfather was a professional wrestler, too. And my dad, Rocky Johnson, was—I'm half black and half Samoan. (Applause.) Thank you.

OPRAH: All the Samoans in the house. (Applause.)

DWAYNE: The reason why I say this, my dad was a—a black man coming up in the '60s and '70s in a world of professional wrestling which in all—and a lot of the companies he wrestled at was all throughout the South. So he was a trailblazer in many ways because what he was able to do as a black man was wrestle. We lived here in Atlanta when I was a kid. What he was able to do was go to these small towns where it was an all-white wrestling business, an all-white audience, and at that time in the late '60s where racial tension and divide was still very strong, and the wounds were still there, but he was able to change behavior. The audience's behavior. So this all-white audience who would never cheer a black man, cheered him in these arenas. And he was actually—and he was—it's not like he was wrestling these other black men. He was wrestling these other white wrestlers. So in a trailblazing sense, he was a trailblazer. He did a lot of things that had never been done. But he also changed audience behavior, which is so hard. And the reason why I bring that up is because he was adamantly against me getting into the wrestling business.

OPRAH: Why?

DWAYNE: Because when I said to him, I want to get into the professional wrestling business.

OPRAH: Because it's in your blood.

DWAYNE: Because it's in my blood. And I felt like I had something to offer. But at that time, we were living in a small apartment in Tampa, Florida. And he said, look around. This is what I have. I don't have anything. And I don't want that for you.

OPRAH: Wow.

DWAYNE: So I still had to follow my gut.OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: And my instinct. And I think years later, once I became successful as a wrestler, he was very, very proud. And then what he did, he would take—he would take credit for everything.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: "Of course I taught him everything I know." Yeah.

OPRAH: And so, you know, I often feel when people—someone close to you passes, you now have an angel you can call by name. And in spirit, you can feel them in ways that you couldn't in the flesh. And—because there's a density to the flesh. And I wonder have you reached that yet? It's just been recent. Have you reached the point where you can feel like you have that—you know, the spirits unite. They become—

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: —one.

DWAYNE: I love that you said that. I feel like the day he died, that night I went to bed and I felt—I felt so, again, grateful and moved, like, emotionally, like mana and energy because I realized, like, oh, wow. I have a new relationship with you.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: In death I have a new relationship in spirit. I have a new relationship with you clean slate. No regrets. No pain. No anger. No complication. Just me and you. (Applause.)

OPRAH: Oh, I love that. And you just mentioned mana. I saw on your Insta where you were talking about thanking all the—all the fans for the mana. What is mana?

DWAYNE: Okay. So mana, in Polynesian culture, we have a word called mana. And mana is a powerful word. It means spirit. Power. And so, for example, an example of mana is when we walk out and we walk on stage, the mana in this room is so palpable.

OPRAH: Oh, y'all got good mana.

DWAYNE: We've got good mana here. And that's what it is. It's very powerful. It's a very powerful thing.

OPRAH: So your father was very strict. Now, here's the thing. You've gone one-on-one with some fierce competitors in the ring. Right? But now you're in one of the scariest situations any man can be in: Raising three daughters.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: Yes. Extremely scary.

OPRAH: And are you a strict dad?

DWAYNE: Um, I—(Laughter.) I am. I'm not super strict. But discipline is important.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: And—but also, you know, I'll go back to my dad. My dad loved me with the small capacity with which he was capable of.

OPRAH: Mm-hmm.

DWAYNE: And so I learned from that. And so with my daughters, I want to be as full and as present with the love that I give them.

OPRAH: Presence. Yes. That's what we've been talking about. What do you want to make sure that they get that you didn't get? And it's so interesting when you have children. I've seen this from a lot of people. Who you didn't get what you needed. You just didn't get what you needed because of what The Rock just said. Your parents didn't have the capacity to give it to you. And now that you're older, you have to learn to give that to yourself and to be able to give that to your children in a way that you don't carry on what was done to you. So what is it you want your daughters to know about the way you love them?

DWAYNE: I want my daughters to know that I love them unconditionally. Truly unconditionally. Without condition. And I have a daughter who's 18 years old. Her name is Simone. Jasmine, who just turned four.

OPRAH: Tiana.

DWAYNE: Tiana, thank you, who is getting ready to turn two. And I am, as I told my 18-year-old daughter, Simone, I said, I love you. I'm gonna tell you I love you every day. I'm gonna text you I love you.

OPRAH: So you're one of those say the words out loud.

DWAYNE: Yes. Because I didn't get that.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: And I look at you. I love you. And I'm gonna text you. But I also told you, I'm unattached. You don't even have to text me back. Right? You can text me tomorrow, but it's okay. It's without condition. It's unconditional love. And I also want to teach my daughters the value of hard work. More importantly, I want to teach my daughters the value of being kind. And how important that is.

OPRAH: Well, you know, I read that your father—you used to watch him in training and he would say, if I'm gonna get up at six a.m., you're gonna get up at six a.m. So what do you think you got the most from him? Was it your work ethic? What was it?

DWAYNE: It was definitely my work ethic. My dad was a man who—who, against the odds, made it. And—but he would get up at usually 5:00, 5:30 in the morning. And he would say, if I get up you're gonna get up, too. He would drag me to the gym: By the way, I'm five years old and he would drag me to the gym. And I wouldn't work out but he would make sure that I was there and I would be with him. And that was our time that we would spend together. But I would say my work ethic from my dad—my dad always said that regardless of what you do in life and where you go, respect is going to be given when it's earned, and you have to go out and earn it every single day.OPRAH: Yeah. So your dad taught you a lot. I wonder, what have your daughters taught you?

DWAYNE: My daughters taught me how to be, I think, more caring and more sensitive and more selfless.

OPRAH: Yeah. Were you there for all of them when they were born?

DWAYNE: I was right there.

OPRAH: Right there.

DWAYNE: I mean, right there.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: Yeah.

OPRAH: You mean you were right there.

DWAYNE: I was right there, yeah. Bring it on. I mean, this is our moment. Yes.

OPRAH: Yeah. Yeah. And is that a life-changing moment when that happens for you?

DWAYNE: It's the greatest thing that I have ever experienced in my life. And it gave me such a profound respect for my babies' mamas. I have two. I was once married and now I'm happily married. Lauren is back there. We've known each other for 13 years now. But I have—it is—has been the most profound experience of my life because also, too, you know, when you meet someone—as a man, you meet someone, you meet a woman, and this is gonna be the one. And you want to get married. And my first marriage didn't work out. But then the birth of a child and what that does and the—the aliens’ perspective just shifts and it gives me a new profound respect for, again, their moms.

OPRAH: So it didn't work out with the marriage. But then she became your business partner. Your first marriage.

DWAYNE: She did. Yes. Yes.

OPRAH: Yeah. And you still are.

DWAYNE: We still are. So my first—my ex-wife, Dany, we—the marriage didn't work out. And it was just one of those things where it wasn't an ugly divorce. It was just—marriage wasn't in our cards. Great friends. Marriage wasn't in our cards. But we had—but we both had an appetite for business and to accomplish things. And we thought, well, what if we continued to do business together? And do you think we can? And it felt like it was—like we can make something happen. And we did. So we had— 

OPRAH: It doesn't have to be ugly.

DWAYNE: No, it doesn't have to be ugly.

OPRAH: You proved that. Yeah.

WAYNE: Yes. And if you can kind of remember, as I tell my friends, my friends who do go through divorce, if you can remember what it was years ago—

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: —and what that feeling—

OPRAH: What was the reason why you got entangled in the first place.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: So tell me this. I know you didn't grow up with a lot of money. And I read the story about when I think you were 15 and there was an eviction notice on the door and how that was—made a big impression on you. Right?

DWAYNE: It did. Yes.

OPRAH: Now, now, you're one of the highest paid actors in the world. 

DWAYNE: Oh, thank you. (Applause.) I do all right. Thank you.

OPRAH: You do all right. And does—does that title, the Sexiest Man Alive. The highest paid in the da, da, da. Do all those—what do those titles mean, if anything? You're the greatest. You're the most popular. You're the most followed. You're the most, the most, the most, the most.

DWAYNE: (Laughter.) It's great for the ego. It's wonderful. I think that—

OPRAH: Yeah, the better question is, how do you keep your ego in check when all of that is happening around you?

DWAYNE: Oh, sure. Very important. People I have around me and how important that is.

OPRAH: Do you have anybody who can tell you the truth at this point?

DWAYNE: Yes. She's called my wife. Yes. Absolutely.

OPRAH: Lauren can tell you the truth?

DWAYNE: Yes. Lauren can tell me the truth. And by the way, this is the tricky thing, too, being in this position is we want to make sure we have people around us who are inspired to do well and reach for and continue to share our vision. But also at times, say, ‘Well, I'm not quite too sure if that's the right thing to do.’ So, look, I've had a wonderful career, especially coming from being evicted. And those titles are nice and everything is fine. But honestly, you know, the—I'm so grateful to be in the position I'm in. And I never take anything for granted. I try and—OPRAH: Aren't you glad that you were once evicted? Because it gives you such an appreciation for what you have now.

DWAYNE: It just gives such perspective.

OPRAH: Yes.

DWAYNE: When we were 14 years old, we lived in Hawaii. And we lived in a small efficiency apartment. And we were—my mom and I came home and I'll never forget. The rent was $180 a week.

OPRAH: A week?

DWAYNE: And there was an eviction notice on the—on the door. And it was—this was the one—it was the final eviction notice. Like that's the one. My mom started crying. And I never forgot in that moment—it was a seminal moment for me because I felt like—probably about six months later I thought, I never want to be in this position again. What can I do? And this is at 14. So at 14 years old, I thought, well, the heroes in my life, Muhammad Ali, for example, professional wrestlers, they're all men who have worked hard with their hands and they've built their body. Ah, yes, that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna do what my dad taught me and these other heroes. I'm gonna go build my body so we're never evicted again. But being evicted, by the way, as you were saying, has not only given me not just great perspective, but also great gratitude, but also, and my team and my family, we laugh at it, but I feel this way. Like, well, you know, we're a month away from being evicted. I've got to go to work. Like I still have that in my head.OPRAH: You still have that.

DWAYNE: I still have that in my head, you know. But it keeps you grounded by the way.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: That's why the—the most this and the most that, again, it's wonderful. But the alternative is what I once was.

OPRAH: And it also doesn't change the way you're wired. Because I still save toast. I do. I will save a toast rather than throw it away.

DWAYNE: Uh-huh.

OPRAH: And I know I—I know there's gonna be more toast. But I still do because there's something in me. Because when we were growing up, we had to save it. You know? You weren't allowed to, like, throw food away. So it was a really big deal. So here's the deal. You have, now, the—you get the biggest paychecks. You have all this money. Acclaim. Fame. You didn't have that growing up. How do you raise children who have good sense and are also kind when they have everything? Because part of what made you who you are is having had that eviction notice and having not had everything. So how do you do that with—how are you planning to do that with your children?

DWAYNE: So, for example, with our 18-year-old daughter, it was really important that we share those stories. Share those stories about being evicted. Her mom's parents were—were immigrants who came over from Cuba. It's important that we've always shared those stories. And also, we live—we try and keep it as simple as we possibly can. I live—we have a farm in Virginia. Happily to say I moved my family here to Atlanta.

OPRAH: Yeah. (Applause.)

DWAYNE: A place 35, 40 minutes away where it's very quiet. But also just making sure that we continue to instill in the babies and the kids the value of a dollar and what it means and the value of food and always saying how grateful we are and the things that we're grateful for. Especially at that young age.

OPRAH: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. I want to know, how is success different from the way you imagined it would be?

DWAYNE: (Laughter.) I never imagined this. I—at one time when I was a kid, I did feel in my heart and in my gut that I was—that I thought, oh, I think the world's gonna hear from me. I don't know how. But I do feel that way. But I never thought in my mind it was this level of success or fame, even. It was, I don't know how, but the world's gonna hear from me. So, you know, which is maybe why, you know, I—at times I can walk around and I can look at things like I'm a big kid. Like everything could—at times can be like I'm in Willie Wonka's chocolate factory. Where I'm really in awe of everything that's happening around me? OPRAH: What's the first thing you splurged on when you realized you had enough to splurge?

DWAYNE: Okay. So—all right. The first thing I splurged on. So when I was a kid, 14 years old, 13, 14 years old, in my mind, the—what it meant to be successful? It was a Rolex watch.

OPRAH: Ah.

DWAYNE: Right. So there was such a valuable lesson out of this. So I thought for years, oh, wait, everyone—every successful man has a Rolex watch. It has diamonds in it. So when I finally was making a little bit of money, and this was in 1999, and I thought, okay—and this—by the way, I was still living in an apartment paying monthly rent. But, again— 

OPRAH: Oh, you're renting and buying a Rolex.

DWAYNE: I was just renting. Horrible financial— 

OPRAH: You should definitely own if you're buying a Rolex. Okay? Yes.

DWAYNE: This is what not to do. So I thought, this is it. I'm gonna splurge. And I went and I got myself a Rolex. And I wore it. At that time, I was wrestling. I wore it in the ring, not for a match, but I was doing an interview in the ring. And I wore it in the ring. And a melee broke out, which always happens in the wild world of professional wrestling. One of the wrestlers fell on the Rolex when it came off. It broke. Live TV. And you see me, oh, my gosh. (Laughter.) My Rolex. And I'm supposed to be in the moment and wrestling these other guys. Oh, no. My Rolex. Like you can see on the tape I'm trying to get my Rolex. And somebody's, like, kicking me. And I was trying to get it. So I finally get my Rolex back. I go back stage and I look at it. I'm heartbroken now. This is my thing. And I go home that night and I remember—I remember immediately thinking, this is a sign. And I— 

OPRAH: Oh, I believe in signs.DWAYNE: Yeah. It's a sign.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: And I will—and I don't need it. And it wasn't right for me at that time. And I never got anything like that again.

OPRAH: And so now do you just—do you splurge carefully?

DWAYNE: I do. I'm not a big bling guy or anything like that. And I—I always want to just make sure that—now the splurge is usually with property. Like we have two properties. That way— 

OPRAH: I believe in real estate.

DWAYNE: Yes. Yes, you do.

OPRAH: I do.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: I love property the way some women love shoes. You know? I do. I do. Because God isn't making anymore land. Okay?

DWAYNE: That's right.

OPRAH: We've got what we've got here on the planet earth. We're not getting any more.
DWAYNE: And also our property is our anchor. It's where we become comfortable. So it's that and a few pickup trucks.

OPRAH: Just a few. So I remember reading this, it was, like, WrestleMania 13, and you were still being called Rocky, and there were a bunch of fans at the time who were jeering you and they were saying, you know—you know, unkind things. And you used that moment and literally turned on your heels and turned it around. And, you know, this whole vision tour is about people who have been knocked down sometimes in life. Everybody, you know, not in a ring, but has had those moments where you didn't feel like the rest of the world saw you for who you needed to be. How were you able to turn that around?

DWAYNE: Okay. So thank you for bringing that up. So this is—it was a turning point in my career. And it really allowed me to—to grow. And it really allowed me just to be me. And be anchored in with who I am. So when I first started wrestling, the idea was, well, why don't you call yourself Rocky

Maivia? Out of respect for your dad, Rocky Johnson— 

OPRAH: And your grandfather.

DWAYNE: —and your grandfather, Peter Maivia. I hated the name. And I thought, well, I just wanted to make my own way. And I wanted to be independent. I loved my family. But I don't want to do it like that. Because it feels like I'm trying to leverage their fame. The powers that be said, nope. That's your name. I was also told, well, when you go out and you wrestle, you have to smile. Do you have—I want you to smile big. This is in the WWE.

OPRAH: Why are you smiling if you don't think people— 

DWAYNE: The idea was I was a rookie in the wrestling business. I was a—what's called—in the wrestling business, there's a term called "baby face," which is a good guy. I was being groomed as a good guy wrestler. Young. The idea was, you're grateful. Grateful for the opportunity. So when you go out there, I want you to smile. You can't smile enough. And I thought, well, what if I lose? 

OPRAH: Yes.

DWAYNE: You've still got to smile. And it just didn't feel right. That just didn't sit right with me. So a few months later, the company made me the intercontinental champion. And then a month later, we go into the annual biggest event, it's like the Super Bowl of wrestling, WrestleMania. And it was WrestleMania 13. By the time I got to Chicago, WrestleMania, 16,000 people. In the middle of the ring, when I was in the ring, and I'm supposed to be a good guy and they're supposed to cheer me. 16,000 people were chanting: Rocky sucks.

(Laughter.)

DWAYNE: Thank you for laughing. But it was— 

OPRAH: Can you hear the word "sucks" clearly when you're on the mat? "Rocky sucks."

DWAYNE: Yeah.

OPRAH: Rocky sucks.

DWAYNE: There's a reverb that happens in the arena.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: And when in unison— 

OPRAH: Oh.

DWAYNE: —not one person. You suck.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: Sixteen thousand. A was—I remember laying there in the ring and the referee said to me, don't listen to 'em. And it was crippling for me.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: But—so then at that time the powers that be thought, this isn't gonna work. And for whatever reason, people are not liking you and they're not connecting with you. And so in that moment, I—it was very defining because I asked then if I could just be myself.

OPRAH: Mm.

DWAYNE: And if I could go out there. And if I can speak to the crowd and if I could just be myself and be authentic. And if I don't want to smile, I don't smile. If I want to laugh, I laugh. If I want to sing, I sing. Whatever it is, I just want to be me. Can I have that for one minute of live TV time? The powers that be at that time, Vince McMahon, said, you've got it. So on raw, live TV. I grabbed the microphone. And I said, I may be a lot of things. But sucks isn't one of 'em. (Laughter.) And I said something to the effect of, basically, it's not a “this” thing. It's not a “that” thing. It's a “me-being-myself” thing. And before you know it, I guess the moral of the story is, the importance in the power of finding your identity and being true to who you are, even in that wild world of pro wrestling, it still applies to everyone in the room, and how powerful that can be. Because it was a true shift and click moment. And I never looked back. And I became, fortunately, the biggest draw that the business has ever seen.OPRAH: Wow. (Applause.) And didn't—isn't that the moment, really, that particular moment, the "you suck moment" turned into the moment of you becoming The Rock and no longer Rocky?

DWAYNE: Correct. Yes.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: So that's when it was Rocky Maivia. And I said, you know what? I'm not gonna be called that. We're gonna shorten it. I'll be called The Rock. And here we go.

OPRAH: It's workin' for you.

DWAYNE: It's working.

OPRAH: So even now with all the success you say you still see every opportunity as kind of a crack in the wall. Tell us what that means for you.

DWAYNE: I do. So what that means is I still see every opportunity that I have as like a little crack in the wall, a little scratch, and I—it's almost as if, like, every opportunity represents—the scratch represents every opportunity. Therefore, the success on the other side of the scratch is the light. Scratching hard. Clawing. Digging. It's that mentality to really take advantage of every opportunity I have.

OPRAH: Have you reached the point where you accept your success? Like the world sees it. We all know it. 169 million Insta followers. Have you accepted it? Do you believe it? Have you owned it for yourself?

DWAYNE: I have today. Yes. In this—yes. This time in my life.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: Yes. Because there was a time where I wasn't quite too sure if I was confident enough as to the why and why it was happening and what am I doing? Because it wasn't very systematic. It wasn't—it felt like I had a big blueprint because there really wasn't a blueprint for me to follow when I came from wrestling to Hollywood. There wasn't, a, oh, look, just do it like that other black Samoan guy did it and you're gonna be great.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: Because at that time the biggest movie stars in the world were George Clooney.

OPRAH: And then the movie you did with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was sort of like—it felt like it was a passing of the torch.

DWAYNE: I did a movie called The Rundown, yes, where he walked by and said, "Have fun." And he was great in that.

OPRAH: And do you prefer the acting or the wrestling or all of it? All of it is connected for you?

DWAYNE: I think all of it is connected. You know, what I do love, I love any—whether it's acting or wrestling or producing or any of the other businesses or investments, it all just has to have a connective tissue to me.

OPRAH: And explain wrestling to me. Why isn't it just not beating people up?

DWAYNE: (Laughter.)

OPRAH: I know there's more. There's a discipline to it. There's an art to it.

DWAYNE: Yes. It's almost like a physical soap opera. And I always say with wrestling— 

OPRAH: A physical soap opera. Okay.

DWAYNE: Like a physical soap opera. Like physical theater. I always tell people, I say, you know, whenever I would win, it was very real. Like wrestling is very real because I was literally beating my opponent and it was very legit. But whenever I would lose, oh, it's fake. It's not real. That didn't happen.

OPRAH: But aren't you the first and only third generation wrestler?

DWAYNE: I was. I was the very first third generation wrestler in the history of wrestling. And I went on to have a pretty accomplished career. And what I'm also proud of is my first daughter, Simone, who is 18 years old, straight A student, she's at the University of Central Florida, she's training now to become a WWE superstar.

OPRAH: Really.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: Wow. Runs in the family.

DWAYNE: She's working so hard.

OPRAH: In the genes. So we know you're relentless about your workouts. You even travel with your own—I heard you have your own 40,000-pound mobile gym?

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: You travel with your gym?

DWAYNE: Yes. But let me give everybody context as to why I travel with a gym. It's just—it's very—it's hard—there we go.

OPRAH: Wow. Wow.

DWAYNE: Well— 

OPRAH: You call this your anchor. And where you actually—you find solitude.

DWAYNE: I do. Yes so the gym for me, and this physical activity for me, is my anchor. And I always—I would recommend that for all of you guys in the room is for us to find that anchor, whether it's hiking or biking or yoga or meditation or whatever it is. Because for me, the gym or just some sort of physical activity, it anchors my day and then it allows me to go on and work for the rest of the day.

OPRAH: So it is a spiritual practice for you.

DWAYNE: It's way more than just physicality.

OPRAH: Yes.

DWAYNE: It's way more than just picking up a weight. It is my balance. It's my anchor. It's my spiritual anchor. Mental. Because what it allows me to do, it's the only time, for me, that—and we all need this, because on this treadmill of life there's no stop button.So it's so crazy. It just allows me to block out the noise and clear my head. Think about what I need to do or accomplish or think about the things I need to accomplish without the influx of information and people trying to tug at me and pull at me

OPRAH: Absolutely. What was your workout today?

DWAYNE: My workout today was I did chest and I did back.

OPRAH: I can see it.

DWAYNE: I did those things. (Laughter.) I did the things like— 

OPRAH: I'm feeling it. (Laughter.)

DWAYNE: There's a lot of cheese being delivered on that pizza right there.

OPRAH: So I know your company is called Seven Bucks because you found yourself at one time in your life with only seven bucks in your pocket. You now turned that around.

DWAYNE: I did. I had a dream, and that dream was to play professional football. I fell in love with the game of football. Played at the University of Miami. We had a great—(applause)—thank you. Great teams. We won a national championship. My goal was to play in the NFL. Again, because we didn't have a lot of money. So I wanted to be the first one to buy my parents a house. Buy myself a house. I never lived in a house until I was 29 years old. And the dream didn't come true. I didn't get drafted. I didn't get any offers. Nothing. I had to work up in Canada in the Canadian Football League.

(Applause.)

DWAYNE: And when I was cut—thank you. When I was cut from there, when I was cut from there, I had—my dad had to come pick me up. And I'll never forget. We were on I-75. He lived in Tampa. Came to Miami. Got in his pickup truck. We drove up I-75. And I'm 23 years old. I am forced to move back in with my parents. Which I was—you know, because you want to tackle the world and have all these dreams.

OPRAH: Yeah, yeah.

DWAYNE: And none of it came true. And it was also hard because all my friends around me, those teammates, they were NFL stars and they became millionaires buying their parents a home. You know, that's the thing. You want to buy your mom a home. So I said, I wonder how much money I have. And I took out my wallet and I had a six—I'm sorry, I had a five, a one, and some change. And I rounded up to be optimistic. And I said, oh, I have seven bucks. And now everything, my production company, and all marketing, everything is Seven Bucks.

OPRAH: And I love that. Because I believe everything that is happening to us is happening to lead us to whatever is the greater moment.And so remembering the seven bucks, and now turning your entire company, empire, into Seven Bucks Productions— 

DWAYNE: Yeah.

OPRAH: —and I know you all have a special thing coming to Atlanta. Right? You're planning something special right here? Athleticon?

DWAYNE: We do. We have a special thing coming to Atlanta. It's called Athleticon.

OPRAH: Did you hear about this? Athleticon?

DWAYNE: Yeah, thank you.

OPRAH: Tell us what that is.

DWAYNE: It's great. Athleticon is—imagine if Oprah's 2020 Vision Tour and Comic-Con and a great fitness expo had a baby. (Laughter.)

OPRAH: Imagine that.

DWAYNE: So Athleticon is—we're bringing together the best of athletics and entertainment and wellness. And we're going to have it here in Atlanta and the city's been great and I can't wait. And it's gonna be at the end of—towards the end of the year.

OPRAH: Speaking of having babies, I'm not sure if you had a minute, actually, the past week to see what Tina Fey said about you when she joined us on stage in Minnesota. Did you see this?

DWAYNE: I saw it. Yes.

OPRAH: Take a look at this, y'all.

(Video played)

OPRAH: And I have to say, I heard that you really liked the poster that we shared the lineup for the tour.

TINA: I loved the poster for the tour. I would like this to be how we repopulate the world. We go to an island, these women and The Rock—(laughter)—and start society over. It's a good thing.

(End of video.)

DWAYNE: (Laughter.)

OPRAH: Are you good with Tina Fey's plan?

DWAYNE: Look, here's the thing. I've got—okay, we've got work to do. (Laughter.) That was so funny. I saw that. But, yes, I think in the spirit of populating the human race and taking care of the human race, I just have to ask my wife Lauren. I'm sure she'll be down with that.

OPRAH: Lauren, would you loan him out a little bit? Okay. I think part of the reason that both men and women are drawn to you is that beyond actually the—the buff exterior in a world where masculinity is evolving, would you not say? It's changing.

DWAYNE: Yes. It's completely changing. It's been a long time overdue.

OPRAH: Yeah. And I would say that in this world, the reason why we love you so much, is you always seem to be softer—comfortable with your softer side. Has that always been? Or has that been a learning since your daughters?

DWAYNE: That's been a learning experience since my daughters were born. And that—but that continues to evolve. It's just—it's a continuously—it's a continued management attend to growth thing but also being acutely, I think, empathetic. That was a big thing, too, was just the power of empathy— 

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: —and really trying to be empathetic to my family and also people. But then also self-empathy, too, really helped me.

OPRAH: Did you learn that through therapy? Because you've been pretty open about how going to therapy helped you when you were struggling to bet on yourself.

DWAYNE: I did learn that. It took time for me to learn that one because I had gone through—my first bout of depression I was 18 years old. After that I think I was 23. Then after that was when I got a divorce. So there had been a learning experience through that. Therapy really helped me.
OPRAH: How did it help you make—how did therapy help make you more than of the man you wanted to be?

DWAYNE: Once I understood the—once I understood that, number one, I'm not alone when it comes to mental struggle and that we all go through it. (Applause.) Because growing up, being in a house—like my dad was tough love. So sharing feelings and emotions, I didn't have that. So I held everything in. Plus I was an only child. And— 

OPRAH: Were you the strong, silent type?

DWAYNE: I was the strong, silent type.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: Meanwhile, there was a lot of stuff happening going on in here. So I also—so for me to become the man that I am today, fortunately, one was, one, I'm not alone. But then the other side to that—that's like the A side. And the B side, and maybe the most—maybe the most important side is to communicate and talk and get it out and it's okay. Like your friend Brene Brown, who I love— 

OPRAH: Yes.

DWAYNE: —we talk about this.

OPRAH: About being vulnerable.

DWAYNE: Yes. About being vulnerable and the power of being vulnerable is something we shy away from. Certainly men.

OPRAH: And I think probably big men really do. Because people put another kind of expectation on you when you're a big man. So men don't cry. So big men really don't cry.

DWAYNE: Big men really don't cry. You have to be tough through it all. You have to play through the pain and things like that. But, you know, over the years, you realize that, A, it's unhealthy. And, B, it's just not me. I realized that me, and the—identifying who I am, and who I am is I need to talk about this. I need to talk about this. I need to talk about my issues. My fears. My depression. And it will be okay. And so now what I—what I—I—I'm—not only am I okay with it, but at times, I actually enjoy it. To be able to get it out. Especially publicly. And talk publicly, too, about it. And how important that is, too. Because, yeah, you just realize that it's— OPRAH: Do you feel the weight of your fame?

DWAYNE: I do. I really do. Now, especially as you get a little older, you know, you just feel it. Feel the pressure and the weight of everything. This is why it's so important to anchor at home and with the family.

OPRAH: Mm-hmm.

DWAYNE: And good people around as well.

OPRAH: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I said to the audience earlier, I never—never had therapy because I had The Oprah Show, so I told all my business out there on the street. And also because I had Gayle to talk to every night.

DWAYNE: Sure.

OPRAH: Every night. Do you have a Gayle?

DWAYNE: (Laughter.) I do. I'll tell you a funny story about this. And I was gonna show you the text. Is last night, I come home from work and my wife, Lauren, goes, are you excited about tomorrow? Oh, I can't wait. It's gonna be so good. And I said, you know, I know that Oprah's gonna ask me who my Gayle is. And she's sitting there. And I could just see her face kind of lights up a little and she's, like—(laughter)—shifting a little and she's, like, oh, I mean, who—who's your—who's your Gayle? And of course, for me, because I'm horrible that way. I'm, like, ooh, there's an opportunity. So I go, well, it's crazy, but I think when I was 15 I had this—my friend Nick— 

OPRAH: (Laughter.)

DWAYNE: Oh, it was so good. And her face changed and then—okay. Okay. She's the sweetest woman. Okay. Okay. Okay, sure. I said, you know, because it was a really defining time in my life when I was 15 and Nick. And she's, like, sure. Sure. Sure. So, again, horrible. I leave, I go in the kitchen. I'm eating. I took a picture. I said, hey, why don't you come out and eat some of this food with me? She hits me right back. Bang, capital letters: "Nick is not your Gayle."

OPRAH: (Laughter.)

DWAYNE: He is not your Gayle. With 10 exclamation points.

OPRAH: (Laughter.)

DWAYNE: And I ran into the bedroom. I said, I'm kidding. You're my Gayle. I'm kidding.

OPRAH: Lauren's your Gayle.

DWAYNE: So it would be my wife, Lauren.

OPRAH: That is so good when you can have a partner— 

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: You know, Gary Zukav calls that a spiritual partnership. When you have a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth, meaning you're growing together in spirit. You're there for one another.

DWAYNE: A hundred percent. And that's what our relationship is. And it reminds me—we just—we were there this past August and we are there and there was— 

OPRAH: Is it true you proposed three days before?

DWAYNE: I did. I wasn't—let me just—we knew we were getting married. But I was waiting for the right opportunity to actually get down on one knee.

OPRAH: Ah.

DWAYNE: And so I wanted to wait. I wanted to go to Hawaii. I wanted it to be special. I didn't want to do it in my living room. So I kept telling her, I know we're planning the wedding. And I know we're going through all the process. I promise you I'm going to get down on one knee. So three days before, I said to her—we took the babies on a walk. I said, hey, let's take a walk. We went out to the cliff and we're just looking at the sunset, and I get down on one knee. She turns around. And I said, will you marry me? It was wonderful.

OPRAH: Wow.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: Wow.

DWAYNE: It was beautiful.

OPRAH: And you got married at 8:00 in the morning? Is that true?

DWAYNE: We got married—we got married very early. I've got to work out. That's the thing.

OPRAH: That's what I heard.

DWAYNE: I've got to—no. We got married—married very early because in Hawaii, you know, everybody was up who traveled in because of the time difference and—and also we had a very small wedding. I mean, maybe there were 10 adults. Ten people. That was it.

OPRAH: Wow. So on just a Saturday here we're in a stadium with 12,000 people. But if you and Lauren were just hanging out with the girls, what would you all be doing?

DWAYNE: We'd probably either be playing with the girls or—or fishing. I love doing that. Like on the properties we have. Like I love raising fish and bass and striped bass and things like that. I'm a real country boy at heart. So we do a lot of fishing.

OPRAH: Well, you know, we've got a few good men here in the audience. And obviously showing up here today, like I said to them earlier, is going to get them points for the next eight weeks.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: What advice do you have for these men to keep their women happy?

DWAYNE: Remember that you're usually wrong. (Laughter.) Number one. But I would say keywords remember: "Yes, honey, you're right." But, listen. I would say that it's—really listen. Become a really good listener. And it took me a long time to understand that and how important that was. Because when you become a good listener and you're really listening to your partner in this relationship of love and spirit as you talk about, then inherently, you become more empathetic. And when you become more empathetic, then you just understand your wife and your partner on a deeper level, on a greater level, and then there's a greater level of appreciation, too, as well. And then you make babies. Yeah.OPRAH: Then you make babies. Someone asked me this, yesterday. And I love this question. What still surprises you the most about people?

DWAYNE: I think the thing that surprises me the most about people, I don't know if it's a surprise. Maybe it just gives me great comfort, and I like it, it makes me feel good, is probably in our world today, there's such a magnification of—of negativity and pessimism.

OPRAH: Oh, yeah.

DWAYNE: And it's always out there and it's around. But people are good. The majority of people, I feel, are good. In their hearts, they're good.

OPRAH: I believe that.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: And what surprises you—still surprises you the most about yourself.

DWAYNE: About myself?

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: That I still get wide-eyed at a lot of things that are very—like even though you've had the dance before and you've been around the block I get wide-eyed at things like this and little—I get wide-eyed at—at the little things. Like I really appreciate the little things.

OPRAH: Okay. Fill in this blank: I'd never miss a movie if, blank was in it.

DWAYNE: Myself? No. (Laughter.) Tom Hanks. One hundred percent.

OPRAH: Oh, nice.

DWAYNE: Yeah.

OPRAH: So I'm guessing you're not interested in tackling Shakespeare anytime soon. But is there a part you'd really love to play? A musical? A medical drama?

DWAYNE: Well, I do think there's a musical. I would still love to do a musical. That's the thing. I love music and maybe that—I did Moana for Disney, which we sang a little bit of that. Thank you for that.

OPRAH: Love that.

DWAYNE: Thank you. That was fun. With Lin-Manuel Miranda. But, yeah, maybe a musical one day.

OPRAH: I saw that you told Rolling Stone that you plan to be a little more vocal about who you support in 2020. Did you hear that some people said you and I should run?

DWAYNE: I did. (Laughter.) I mean, look, I've got to tell you, that ticket looks pretty good, Oprah and The Rock.

OPRAH: Pretty good. I'd be your vice any day, honey. I would.

DWAYNE: (Laughter.) As I would, yours.

OPRAH: Thank you. Everyone today has been asked to clarify their vision for 2020, for this year. Do you have one for yourself? Are you one who makes—sets goals?

DWAYNE: I do. Yes.

OPRAH: Yes?

DWAYNE: But I also find it very consistent. Like even throughout the year I'm trying to set goals, too, as well. The vision for me in 2020 is—well, now since the passing of my dad, it's shifted a little bit into just a greater appreciation for life. I want to talk about these little things and, like, really appreciating these little things. I mean, little things and really truly being in the moment, being present, and how important that is. And so even more present, because the other stuff, I feel, you know, the fame and the accolades and all that stuff is awesome. But that comes and goes. This kind of connection, this and what I have with my family, my daughters, and people like that means everything to me. This kind of connection, this and what I have with my family, my daughters, and people like that means everything to me.
OPRAH: You know, I was talking earlier about intention. And you have acquired and continue to acquire a lot as you're continuing to build Seven Bucks. What is the purest, highest, truest intention behind it all? Because I know, at the end of the day, it isn't all about fame. And it isn't all about making money. So the reason why you want to continue to grow and succeed is what?

DWAYNE: Seven Bucks?

OPRAH: Yes.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: Seven Bucks and your life in general.

DWAYNE: Okay, for— 

OPRAH: So you're working this hard. You can quit tomorrow. You have enough money right now. You can live happily ever after.

DWAYNE: Sure.

OPRAH: So you continue to do it because?

DWAYNE: To create an amazing experience for people. And that's important to me. Because that's a—that's an opportunity that I have to give joy.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: And help, whether it's transform or a movie or a thing or whatever it is. Like the audience's experience, the audience experience is something that's deeply personal to me. And I think that goes back to when I was—so before the bright lights of the WWE, I was wrestling in a small wrestling company. We'd wrestle in flea markets and used car dealerships. You'd put a ring in the used car dealership in the parking lot. But the reason why I bring that—and state fairs. But there was an intimacy there. And even at that level it was always about, well, how can I send the audience home happy and make people feel good. And by the way, I also feel like if you're in a position to make people feel good, that is such a powerful thing.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: It's such a power in thing.

OPRAH: I know, we did you for Master Class for OWN. And something you said there really stuck with me. That the most powerful thing you can ever do is to be yourself.

DWAYNE: Be yourself.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: And—and you were talking about that earlier, about that moment that you— 

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: —learned to be authentic is when everything changed.

DWAYNE: That's when everything changed. It was like a shift and click moment for me—for me, when I realized there's great power in being myself, the same thing for all of us, but I do. I believe it's the most powerful thing that we can be. It's easier said than done. Because I struggled for a long time trying to figure out, well, what's my identity? And who am I? For example, when I got to Hollywood, the very first time I got to Hollywood in the early 2000s, I was told, again, well, if you want to be a star, then you—maybe you shouldn't talk about wrestling. Maybe you shouldn't go to the gym as much. Maybe you shouldn't raise your silly eyebrow. You know, there was a lot of things like that. And when you don't know, you buy into it. And so I said, okay, maybe—don't call yourself The Rock. Okay. So, again, I went through that entire process for years trying to figure out who I was. And then when you look back on my earlier career in films I was doing, they were good, but just not, you know—like, oh, that's how I like to see him because he's his true authentic self.

OPRAH: And have you had a sweet revenge moment?

DWAYNE: Um—yeah, who sucks now, huh? (Laughter.)

OPRAH: (Laughter.)

DWAYNE: Yeah.

OPRAH: One of those. Yeah.

DWAYNE: One of those. Yes. It was—okay, so at this time when I felt like, okay, I really need to make a change in my career, I need to be me, and I want to have the kind of career that is a global career, and I said, I'm not quite too sure how we're gonna do it, but I need you to buy into the vision with me, and I'm willing to put in the work with my own two hands as I was telling my—my agency at that time in Hollywood.

OPRAH: Yes.

DWAYNE: Which you know of. And they all looked at me like I had three heads. And they thought, well, we just don't—okay, sure. Sure, sure, sure. Kind of placating me. And then eventually I left them and then decided, you know what? My name is The Rock and I come from the world of professional wrestling and I look the way I look and I talk the way I talk and I love to workout. And you know what? This is who I'm gonna be. And then here I am today. So for those who said, we don't get it, kind of sweet revenge.

OPRAH: So you posted on Instagram in November, joy and hope costs nothing. Remember this?

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: And yet it's the most powerful gift that we can all give, and that's the real magic to life. So after everything that you've been through, particularly this past week, what are you now most grateful for today?

DWAYNE: I'm most grateful for life. I'm most grateful for an opportunity. I'm most grateful for my family. I'm most—gratitude is a big thing with me. I mean, it is truly my—my anchor.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: You, too, right? It's my anchor and I wake up with a heart full of gratitude. And even in death, and even when things don't go right, and even though I didn't make it to the NFL, me making it to the NFL was the best thing that never happened. Yes. Because it also gave me a great sense of gratitude to be here. So I would say that it would be—and also I want to tell you, and I'll tell you this, Oprah. And I want to tell you guys, like I—I was so excited to come here and do this with you and share a little bit of my story and background and any kind of wisdom that I have learned over the years to share with you guys. But I want you to know that especially this week of just, you know, laying my dad to rest, I needed this from you. And I thank you. Truly. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. I did.

OPRAH: I love you.

DWAYNE: I love you back. I truly do.

OPRAH: That's some good mana you all just got. Some good mana.

DWAYNE: Thank you. I did. I needed this. And I needed this. I need the love and this mana. Because what I also realized is, and I felt it coming in, is that, you know, you go to rock concerts and things and events and wrestling matches and whatever. But, you know, when you come to this room and you have thousands, 12, 13, 15,000 people who have one intention, which is to be better and give so much love— 

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: —and receive so much love.

OPRAH: Yeah.

DWAYNE: It's a powerful thing.

OPRAH: It is a very powerful thing. Thank you for being here today to share it. And I know one of the things that's exciting me is I know that of all the things that you're doing with Seven Bucks, that you're also starting a tequila company.

DWAYNE: Yes. Yes.

OPRAH: And I said to the audience earlier that there's a rule that unless Jesus has told you otherwise, you cannot come to my house without a tequila shot.

DWAYNE: Yes. Well, I know you're a big tequila fan and we are. We started a spirits company. And tequila is the first expression. Tequila—like you, I'm a tequila lover. And I have a special surprise for you.

OPRAH: You have a tequila surprise for me?

DWAYNE: I have a tequila surprise for you. And it's coming out.

OPRAH: OMG. Oh, my gosh. What's it called? It's called— 

DWAYNE: This tequila is called— 

OPRAH: Oh, it's called Teremana.

DWAYNE: Teremana.

OPRAH: Oh, it's right on stage.

DWAYNE: So I thought—this is Teremana. It's gonna come out next month. I thought the occasion was appropriate, because not only we're tequila lovers, and not only was this an amazing day, but also it is an early birthday gift to you.

OPRAH: Oh, okay. Thank you.

DWAYNE: And also this is the very—so none of this has ever been seen. This is the very first bottle ever of Teremana tequila. And it is going to you. And I'm gonna pour us just a sip.

OPRAH: Oh, you've got to sign it before you go.

DWAYNE: I will. Yes. And this is a sipping tequila. So we're not gonna— 

OPRAH: We're not taking shots.

DWAYNE: Yes.

OPRAH: I'll let y'all know how it is. So I would like to have—make a toast to your father. I'd like to make a toast to the man who helped make you the man that you are.

DWAYNE: Thank you.

OPRAH: And may your relationship with him in the beyond be stronger, more profound, and bring you all the love that you've always deserved.

DWAYNE: Cheers.

OPRAH: Cheers.

DWAYNE: Thank you, Oprah. And cheers.

(Applause.)

OPRAH: You did good.

DWAYNE: Thank you. It means a lot. Thank you very much.

OPRAH: I mean, you did—it's very good.

DWAYNE: (Laughter.)

OPRAH: Thank you, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

DWAYNE: Thank you. (Applause.)

OPRAH: Sign the bottle.

DWAYNE: I will. I promise. Thank you, guys.

OPRAH: Thank you. Perfect.

 

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Find out more about the special guests on Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour!