In an Instagram post last week, while filming a scene in a cemetery for the TV series, “Ballers,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did much more than simply touch on a personal subject. He gave it his full attention, hoping his message will spread.
In “Ballers,” The Rock plays Spencer Strasmore, an NFL player-turned-financial-advisor. In this particular scene, he’s come to the cemetery to honor his brother, who died by suicide. But the scene resonated with him on an extremely personal level, and he took the opportunity to speak up on a topic many consider taboo: Suicide.
What many fans of this incredibly sweet and humble action star don’t know is that his mother, with whom he is incredibly close, tried to commit suicide in the 1980s, when he was just 15 years old.
The family had only recently relocated to Nashville from California, and the move put a strain on their relationship.
One afternoon, he was dining with his parents at a restaurant when they started arguing loudly. The fight continued even as they got back into their car and drove away, with young Dwayne following along behind them in another car.
As they continued along I-65, the main thoroughfare through the state, his parents’ car started jerking and swerving. Shortly afterward, Dwayne’s father pulled over to the side of the road.
The Rock recalled in an interview:
My mom gets out of the car, and when she got out of the car – I’ll never forget it, she had a glazed look over her eyes that I had never seen before. And she walks right into the middle of I-65 and continues to walk down into oncoming traffic.
Horns were blowing and cars were swerving out of the way and 18-wheelers were swerving out of the way. And I got out of the car and I grabbed her and wrestled her over to the side of the road. … And in that moment, one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned is how precious life is and how, in an instant, it can all go away.
Now The Rock is encouraging people to look outside their own lives, so they can help prevent moments like the one he and his mother went through.
We always gotta do our best to really pay attention when people are in pain. Help ‘em thru it, get ‘em talkin’ about the struggle and remind ‘em that they’re not alone. We got lucky that day when I was 15 and that ain’t always the case.
His mom, Ata, has recovered in the years since and is so proud of everything her son’s been able to accomplish.
In a Mother’s Day post on The Rock’s Instagram: Ata bursts into tears after she’d been served breakfast on an airplane tray.
“I used to worry about how I was going to buy groceries for us, and now I just had my breakfast placed down in front of me … I couldn’t be happier.”
This is an extremely important message that could save someone’s life, so please remember to share it with everyone you know.