Dwayne Johnson is paying tribute to his late father on his 79th birthday with a video answering some questions from fans — mainly, the biggest life lessons his dad taught him. Johnson’s dad, famous wrestler Rocky, died in January 2020, and the two had a somewhat complicated relationship and weren’t on speaking terms at the time of his death.
Over the years, Johnson has spoken up about his dad and how he was a major influential person in his life — in bittersweet ways. Losing a parent is hard, especially or even if you have a complicated relationship. As he put it in a 2021 interview with Fatherly, Dwayne said that one of his main goals as a parent was to be a “better dad than my dad was for me. And my dad loved me with the capacity that he had, but we had a challenging, complicated relationship.”
Still, even the most complicated relationships can be full of wisdom — bittersweet or otherwise. His fans wanted to know the “biggest lesson [his] dad taught [him]” growing up — so Johnson shared some in a long and heartfelt video.
“My dad taught me 'respect is given when it’s earned, so get out there and earn it,'" Johnson said. “Actually, he would say, ‘so get your a-- out there and earn it,’” he said while referring to the fact that his dad was his first physical fitness trainer as a very young kid.
Another big lesson Johnson learned was a more bittersweet one — that you may not always have the chance to make up with those you love after a big fight, which he and his father had before he passed away.
After a fight, “... Get in there and take care of it,” Johnson shared. “I thought about him every day, and I was conflicted because it’s my old man, and I kept saying, ‘Alright, I gotta call him. I gotta call him,’ and then he passed away suddenly.”
It’s rarely easy to make amends after a big fight — especially when you have a complicated relationship with that person, whether they’re your spouse, your sibling, or your parent. If it feels good to you, there are big and small things you can do after a big fight to help repair the relationship — from giving your person space, to telling them you heard them, to apologizing with specifics.
This lesson was a hard one for Johnson to learn since he wasn’t able to make up with his dad before he suddenly died. “I lost that shot,” Johnson shared. “And now, of course, I gotta live with that every day because I think about him every day, and I think, ‘Damn, I should have made a different decision.’ So he inadvertently taught me that lesson.”