"I came to Hollywood wanting a career that had longevity, and I wasn't afraid to take risks because I had a dollar in the bank," the Ballers star tells Esquire in the magazine's August issue

By Mariah Haas
Updated June 30, 2015 09:45 PM
Credit: ImagineChina/FameFlynet

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one lucky guy.

“About three weeks ago, I’m here at the house and I get a letter – ‘Been enjoying your movies over the years. Very entertaining. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know you over the years, most recently after watching you host Saturday Night Live,’ ” Johnson tells Esquire in the magazine’s August issue. ” ‘Great job. You continue to go for it. Proud of your work and look forward to meeting you. Steven Spielberg.’ ”

But, even though the Ballers star has had an incredibly successful acting career and is being lauded by Oscar-winning directors for his work, he admits that when he first decided to make the jump from wrestling to Hollywood, he wondered if it was the right move.

“When I first came into acting, I had great opportunities to make a decent movie. I had a run there in 2005, ’06, ’07 – for a long time it was, ‘Oh, he’s the best thing in the movie that’s not that good,’ ” Johnson, 43, explains. “I started questioning: Did I make the right choice? Should I have stayed in wrestling a bit longer? And then budgets became lower and lower and the pay kinda stayed the same and there wasn’t a lot of growth.”

Still, Johnson says he’s thankful for his pro-wrestling days.

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“I’ve been fortunate to have had the life I had prior to Hollywood. I wasn’t starving, I was going to eat the next day,” he explains. “I came to Hollywood wanting a career that had longevity, and I wasn’t afraid to take risks because I had a dollar in the bank.”

“I wasn’t driven by money as much as I was driven by making a successful transition,” Johnson adds. “And I was smart enough to know that I certainly didn’t have all the answers and I needed to surround myself with smart people and be willing to take risks and be willing to fail.”

As for his home life? The actor says it’s “solid.”

“I’ve lived with my longtime girlfriend, Lauren Hashian, going on, like, eight, nine years now. She’s a singer-songwriter. We spend a lot of time with my daughter in Florida, Simone, who’s 13,” Johnson shares. “We do these stories and we talk so much about the business end, the success end, but then Lauren isn’t mentioned and my daughter isn’t mentioned. I always like making sure we find the balance and my home life is in there and Lauren Hashian is in there and my daughter is in there.”

He adds, “You gotta get the better half in there. With all the cool s— and success that I’ve been lucky enough to get? That doesn’t happen unless the home life is solid.”