Getty images | Instagram/Dwayne Johnson
Source: Getty images | Instagram/Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson Made His Mum Cry by Buying Her a House — She Struggled to Make Ends Meet When He Was a Kid

Esther NJeri
Jun 11, 2022
01:40 A.M.
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Raised primarily by his mother, Dwayne "The Rock," Johnson's childhood was far from his current wealthy lifestyle. He watched his mother struggle to make ends meet, and today, he is changing her life, a gift at a time.


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson grew up poor and was raised by his mother, Ata Johnson. Even though he knew his dad, he did not have a close relationship with him, and he was absent for most of Johnson's formative years.

In the wake of Johnson's upcoming comedy "Young Rock," the wrestler-turned-actor had to relive his most painful childhood memories as he recalled his late dad, Rocky Johnson.

Dwayne Johnson and Ata Johnson attend the premiere of Sony Pictures' "Jumanji: The Next Level" on December 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


He recalled defining memories when he was 10, 15, and 18, especially the event that would forever shape him into the man he is today. He admitted:

"My dad was kicked out of his house at 13, and he was homeless, so that then shaped the man who then raised me."

Sadly, Rocky, a retired professional wrestler himself, suddenly passed on in 2020, and Johnson regrets that he did not live long enough to see "Young Rock," which showcases the world of the men who "ruled" the rings in the 70s and 80s.


Dwayne Johnson and his mom, Ata Johnson, attend the "Moana" premiere the El Capitan Theatre on November 14, 2016 in Hollywood, California.| Source: Getty Images


A current-day multimillionaire, Johnson did not always know a life of abundance. When he was 14, things got so bad that he and his mother were evicted from their Hawaii home because they could not afford the $180 a week needed to cover rent.

While the tough days are long behind them, Johnson does not shy away from appreciating the woman who sacrificed everything to give him a bright future.

He has consistently posted tear-inducing messages about his mother on special occasions. However, on Mother's Day 2015, he outdid himself with a story of how his mother cried, recalling how far they had come.

Actor Dwayne Johnson (R) and his mother, Ata Johnson, arrive at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Rampage" at the Microsoft Theatre on April 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


In the Instagram post, Johnson shared a photo of his mother in an airplane. He then shared how they had been sitting across from each other when she looked around the plane and could not believe her life.

The "Baywatch" actor asked if she was happy, and before she could answer, the flight attendant placed a plate of food on her table. With tears in her eyes, she replied:

"Am I happy? 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."


Unable to control her emotions, she said she'd never been happier, and all Johnson could do was shake his head and smile. He then wished his mother a wonderful Mother's Day and jokingly concluded the caption by saying that his mother would for sure kill him for posting a photo of her crying.


Born Feagaimaletea Fitisemanu Maivia to Peter Fanene Maivia and Lia Maivia in October 1948, Ata spent her childhood in Samoa. In 1972, she had Johnson but did not marry his father until 1978. The couple divorced in 2003, and Ata did not remarry.

Even though life had given her nothing but lemons, she chose to make herself a big pitcher of lemonade. In 2010, she battled and beat stage 3 lung cancer. But her misfortunes were far from over.


Dwayne Johnson poses with his mother, Ata Johnson, at his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star ceremony in Hollywood, California on December 13, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

In 2014, she got involved in a horrible road accident, and again she survived. During her recovery, Johnson shared the importance of family and documented her journey.


The beautiful and diverse Ata has remained the epitome of strength for Johnson, and it is safe to say that the father of three has taken after his mother and is just as strong.


It has never been a secret that Johnson and his mother share an admirable bond. In 1986, when Johnson was only 14, life was tough on him and his mother. And within the period that they got evicted, his mother's car also got repossessed.

Ata Johnson and Dwayne Johnson attend the World Premiere of Netflix's "Red Notice" at Regal LA Live on November 03, 2021 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


In 2012, Johnson shared a heartfelt post on Facebook, where he had gifted his mother a brand new car on Christmas Day. The gift was to "replace" the one repossessed decades earlier.

The post showed Johnson and his mother embracing, with another one showing Ata in her new car. The emotional caption accompanying the photos read:

"At 14, I saw my mom crying about our only car being repossessed. This felt good. Merry Christmas, mom."


However, the beautiful gift was only one of Johnson's many surprises in store for his mother. While gifts have always been a way for Johnson to show gratitude to his mother, his latest one outdid all the rest, leaving his mother in tears.

On Saturday, June 4, the actor shared several clips on his Instagram, showing his mother taking a tour of the brand new house he purchased for her. He started the post with a beautiful caption reading:

"Love you, mom, and surprise! When I was a little boy, I hated when my mom would cry ~ these days, I'll happily take her tears of joy."


The home features a black double door that opens into a beautiful sitting area with white interiors and matching furniture. Beautiful wall paintings and house plants accentuate the area, with dashes and hues of brown.

The family room boasts similarly beautiful white sofas with a wall featuring her vintage ukuleles. The opposite wall shows an array of framed photos that Johnson says are of their ancestors that his mother hasn't "seen since she was a child growing up in Samoa."

In all of the houses Ata's lived in, there has been a constant feature — a smackdown room — where she keeps her most incredible Rock/DJ memorabilia. However, the room would get overcrowded over the years from her numerous collections.


So for his mother's new house, Johnson incorporated built-ins and added several items, including posters, movie awards, championship titles, and University of Miami game balls. Now, his mother has plenty of space to add more memorabilia whenever she needs to.

The "Walking Tall" actor disclosed that it'd taken him and his design team 8 weeks to get the house ready. The gift came as a total surprise to Ata, and she couldn't help the tears. The actor concluded the caption with beautiful words, writing: "Mom, there's no greater feeling than to make you happy ~ welcome home."