Dwayne Johnson Reveals Moment He Knew Fame Was Making Him An Asshole
Dwayne Johnson has opened up about how his view of fame has changed over the years and recalled the moment he knew his celebrity status was turning him in to an asshole.
In the past few decades, The Rock has gone from being a WWE superstar to a household Hollywood name. He’s known for being a family man, for his banter with Kevin Hart and his epic cheat meals, and all in all fans don’t really have any reason to see him as anything other than a nice guy.
Apparently the actor has had to work to become the person he is now, though, as he admitted in an Instagram video that he actively made the decision to be more kind following an eye-opening experience with two fans.
During a Q&A session on the platform, Johnson was asked whether he loves or hates being famous, and how he feels about taking selfies with fans.
He explained he’d been asked the same question many times before, but said his answer has evolved over the years because he believes fame can be a ‘really tricky thing’ to navigate.
Sharing the video on Instagram, he wrote:
[Fame] can be highly deceiving, cold blooded and set you down a dark path that ends in self destruction if you let yourself buy into your own fame.
I started to become as asshole about my fame when I was a famous pro wrestler in my 20’s, (and I wore a fanny pack) until one fateful night changed my perspective and self awareness and GRATITUDE for the rest of my life.
Johnson recalled being in a restaurant in the late 90s, when he was known for being a pro wrestler. He saw a couple psyching themselves up to talk to him and eventually they came over and asked for a picture.
The Rock explained:
They come up, and they were so nice. I’ll never forget it because this moment became my teachable moment and a great lesson that I took with me for life. And I’m so grateful it happened. And I thank this couple, by the way. They probably had no idea that they were part of a defining moment of my life.
Hear Johnson recall the experience here:
Johnson emphasised how nice the couple were, remembering how they apologised profusely for interrupting him and asking for an autograph and picture.
The actor continued:
Of course I said yes, but how I said yes was a psychological play, like I was playing chess, because I said yes, but in a way that made them feel bad.
So I said ‘…Sure. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Come on. Sit down.’ And in that moment, their demeanor changed, their energy changed. They went from excited, and ‘sorry’ but really excited, to then they felt bad. I have goosebumps now thinking about it.
They said, ‘We’re so sorry. You know what? Bad idea.’ The wife is hitting the husband. ‘See? I told you we shouldn’t come over.’
Johnson assured the couple it was ‘okay’ and encouraged them to sit down as they continued to apologise for the intrusion. They took a picture together and Johnson signed their menus, after which they walked away backwards while still saying ‘sorry’.
The experience appeared to have a big impact on Johnson, as he quickly realised he’d handled the situation poorly.
It took all of 30 seconds, not even 30 seconds, for me to realise that I had an opportunity to make somebody feel good, and I made them feel bad. And what an asshole that made me. And what an asshole, rightfully so, that made me feel like.
Johnson decided to try and see things from his fans’ point of view and put himself in their shoes, imagining the scenario when they would have walked in to the room and spotted him.
He said the exercise ‘really helped him’, adding:
I did this little exercise at the table and I walked through it… After that, I told myself I would never ever make anyone feel bad again for coming up to me.
Johnson now recognises meeting fans as the ‘easiest part of [his] job’, though he urged anyone wanting to be famous to instead ‘work hard to become good at something’, adding: ‘fame is fleeting but your legacy is forever’.
Though the couple in the restaurant may not have had the experience they were hoping for, they can rest assured they changed The Rock’s outlook on fame for good.
Hopefully they’ll get to meet him again and he’ll be able to show off his renewed sense of appreciation for his fans.
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