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As Young Rock Season 2 Premieres, Dwayne Johnson Gets Honest About His ‘Complicated’ Relationship With His Dad

Dwayne Johnson on Young Rock
(Image credit: Universal Television)

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may be on top of the world now, but it wasn’t always easy - especially when family was involved. With Season 2 of his semi-autobiographical series Young Rock returning on March 15, the pro wrestler-turned-movie star shed some light on his "complicated" relationship with his dad and how it translates to the small screen. 

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Dwayne Johnson got real about his nuanced relationship with his late father, Rocky Johnson, as well as his bond with his mother. He said: 

I was an only child and I had a complicated relationship with my dad, though he was my hero when I was a little boy. And I have a loving, supportive relationship with my mom, but all the lessons that my mom was able to teach me over the years I didn't realize because I was running around getting arrested and being an idiot at some points in my life.

The star spent much of his young life (as chronicled in Young Rock) moving from state to state and getting into trouble. He revealed in a recent Instagram post that he had been suspended from his high school in Pennsylvania for fighting and had even been arrested for theft. He shared that his dad (who was also a pro wrestler) had "a lot of pressure on him to pay the rent," which may have contributed to his "tough love" style of parenting. It may not have resonated at the time, but Dwayne Johnson would come to understand his father’s intentions. He told ET: 

But some of the things and the lessons that I learned from my old man I didn't realize how critical those lessons were until years later. And, to be honest with you, I didn't realize how important they were until he passed away.

Rocky Johnson was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and tragically passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2020. Dwayne Johnson regrets that he did not have the opportunity to "say goodbye" and affirm his love, but he did feel a kinship with his father after his death:

You know, when we lose loved ones like that we have to go through our own process. But when my dad passed away you look back -- and I know a lot of people feel this way too -- it's that wild thing that happens where in life if you have a complicated, loving relationship like I did with my dad, then in death and in passing -- in this wild way -- you actually become closer.

Perhaps that’s why Dwayne Johnson took the opportunity to celebrate his father in Young Rock. The trailer for Season 2 showed the Rock’s journey from high school student to pro wrestler - and he was guided by Rocky Johnson every step of the way, in addition to WWE stars like Macho Man. (The show even touches on his emotional relationship with André the Giant). From his portrayal on Young Rock to birthday messages and Father's Day posts on Instagram, Johnson’s love and respect for his father is clear as day, and it's great that he's continuing to honor his legacy

Young Rock is now airing on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. You can also watch past episodes with your Peacock Premium subscription, or check out how to watch more of the Rock’s best movies

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.