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There’s something magnetic about Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. At 6'5" and 245 lbs., the actor is Herculean in strength, but it’s his playful charm, infectious laugh and genuine interest in others that pull you in even closer.

It’s no wonder this former WWE champ, who first dreamed of being a pro football player, has become the highest-paid actor in the world. Now lending his voice to Disney’s new animated film Moana, in theaters Nov. 23, and hosting the holiday special Rock the Troops, which will air on Spike Dec. 13, Johnson credits his “nontraditional” family—including longtime girlfriend Lauren Hashian, 32, their 11-month-old daughter Jasmine and his daughter Simone, 15, with ex-wife Dany Garcia—along with his millions of fans for keeping him grounded. “It sounds corny, but I get so much of, ‘You’re just as nice as I thought you were,’ ” he says. “That’s important. Being kind and nice to people is the easiest thing we can do.” Sitting down with People’s Julie Jordan in his beloved state of Hawaii, the 44-year-old heartthrob opened up about his unconventional journey to Hollywood and his dreams for the future—Mr. President!

“I’ve learned to not regret things. Everything happens for a reason.”

How did it feel when you first heard you were being given the title?
I said, “That’s awesome.” And then what went through my mind was just how cool and exciting it is. Then I thought, “Wow, we’ve pretty much reached the pinnacle.” [Laughs]

Who’s going to give you the most grief about it?
I mean, you name it, everybody in my world. Probably my guy friends. But see, here’s the thing: They give me grief, but they all wish.

What do you think is the sexiest thing about you that translates to fans?
This is the kind of question that gets me into trouble. Ah, a sense of humor. And I think probably just not trying to be sexy and just being cool and confident in your movies. I think with a lot of my fans, I’ve gotten to a very, very cool place where there’s a direct line between the man they know offscreen and the man they see onscreen.

“Hawaii is my favorite place in the world,” says Johnson (photographed on Sept. 13 on Oahu, where he’s been filming next year’s Jumanji). The actor, who spent his teen years in Honolulu, says, “Every time I come back, the mana—which means spirit—is real.”

Did you ever have an awkward phase?
I did. When I was growing up here in Hawaii, I was like 13, 14 years old and doing a lot of things that I shouldn’t have. I was getting arrested multiple times but at the same time always very respectful to my teachers and elders. I was unsure of who I was and who I wanted to be. And, by the way, I loved sweets. Every day after school I would go get donuts and cookies, and I would break out and I had all these pimples. And they were the big ones. Not the little ones but, yeah, the mountains. So you just imagine that with my curly half-Afro. Yeah.

How did you learn to be comfortable in your own skin?
It just took a lot of time. I’ve settled into being comfortable with who I am.

Growing Up Dwayne

Future Champ
“Eight years old. Four years from this moment,
you are going to be mistaken for a little girl. Waiters would say, ‘And what would the young lady like?’ ”

Dapper Dwayne
At age 4. “Look at that. Very, very cool
Javier Bardem haircut. You can see
the baller in me coming out.”

Mama's Boy
“Here I am giving my mom
the bunny ears.
And I need a bra.”

Fit at 15
“Captain White Shorts, they called me.
They’re a little too tight, as you can tell. And that’s
what we call a porn mustache.”

Serious Business
“This is my senior year in high school,
and I’m clearly rocking that mustache again.
We’re having tryouts for a group called Menudo.”

MAking the Team
“They call me Quadzilla in this picture.
I was extremely determined to make the team,
and two months later I was cut.”

What’s the secret to being confident?
It kind of all starts at home for me. Becoming a dad when I was 29, when I was flying by the seat of my pants, compared to being a dad in my fourth level of life, I would say the confidence comes from that. And the fact that I am indeed—I will repeat it—the Sexiest Man Alive. [Laughs]

You named your production company Seven Bucks because you once had just $7 in your pocket. How does that motivate you?
It’s a constant reminder of how things once were. And I’m always operating like I could go back to that.

What’s been your biggest aha moment?
Professionally, the biggest was when I was making the transition into Hollywood. I was met with skepticism and some cynicism of where I came from and the world of wrestling. Because you’ve got to prove yourself. But there wasn’t a blueprint for me to follow. It wasn’t like, “Oh, there’s this half-Samoan, half-black wrestler, and you just do it like him.” The aha moment was, “Well, it’s even better that no one did it before me. I’ve got to make up my own rules myself.”

First kiss
Fifth grade. Slipped me a note: “meet me at the cubbies.” Best 30 seconds of her life. [laughs]

First pickup line
The very cheesy one: “Is your dad a thief? because he stolethe stars out of the sky and placed them in your eyes.”

First person who said you were sexy
Um, what’s that Michael Jackson song? Oh, “Man in the Mirror,” that’s the one. [laughs]

First recognized
1997. The doorman at a hotel said, “Hello, Mr. Johnson.” It was very cool. Like, “Say it again!”

First kiss
Fifth grade. Slipped me a note:
“meet me at the cubbies.”
Best 30 seconds of her life. [laughs]

First pickup line
The very cheesy one: “Is your dad a thief? because he stolethe stars out of
the sky and placed them in your eyes.”

First person who
said you were sexy
Um, what’s that Michael Jackson song? Oh, “Man in the Mirror,” that’s the one. [laughs]

First recognized
1997. The doorman at a hotel said,
“Hello, Mr. Johnson.” It was very cool.
Like, “Say it again!”

Do you ever fail at anything?
Yeah, of course. Failure has been one of the most important things for me. Failing at football and not being able to play in the NFL. Also the failure of marriage, because we don’t sign up for divorce. Those occasions led to bouts of depression, but I came back. They became the most defining times in my life.

You and your ex-wife Dany Garcia are business partners. What’s the key to staying friends?
There comes a time in all divorces when you just rip yourself open and it’s like, “Here I am.” And then you start to kind of heal. The one thing that helped Dany and I was to remember what we once were to help us move forward. And I’m so grateful. We just have this awesome family that is truly nontraditional but so rooted in love.

All about That photo
The superstar is the first to make fun of himself in one of the most viral photos on the Internet—his oft-emulated look from the ’90s. “Here’s the thing: It takes a lot of confidence to rock a fanny pack. Put your thumb in it. I’m giving a look. I’ve got a tissue underneath my elbow because I felt like my turtleneck was expensive,” Johnson says. “The funniest thing about this picture? This is not a joke. I walked out of the house like this. Like, ‘Hey, baby, this is it, right?’ ‘Yeah, you look good.’ ”

The legendary photograph

Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum

Seth Rogan

All about That photo
The superstar is the first to make fun of himself in one of the most viral photos on the Internet—his oft-emulated look from the ’90s. “Here’s the thing: It takes a lot of confidence to rock a fanny pack. Put your thumb in it. I’m giving a look. I’ve got a tissue underneath my elbow because I felt like my turtleneck was expensive,” Johnson says. “The funniest thing about this picture? This is not a joke. I walked out of the house like this. Like, ‘Hey, baby, this is it, right?’ ‘Yeah, you look good.’ ”

Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum

Seth Rogan

Do you think you’ll ever wrestle again?
Never say never. My very first match in the WWE I won. And that never happens. I was lucky, and it was a privilege that Vince McMahon let me win. And in my last official match, I lost. And I did the honors and passed the torch. I feel good with that.

How is the Rock different from Dwayne Johnson?
All one and the same. When I was wrestling, I used to say that the Rock is myself, just with everything adjusted. The volume, the treble, the bass. But now it’s all one big ball of sexiness. [Laughs]

What does Lauren tease you about?
Everything. Nothing is off limits in our house. And I tease her.

Do you do anything to drive her crazy?
It’s such a random thing. I have these shaker cups for protein drinks. When I’m done, I like to put them in the sink and fill them up with water to soak. She hates that. As a matter of fact, she’ll do all the other dishes, but she’ll leave those there.

Dwayne's Girls

The actor says he and
singer-songwriterLauren Hashian
“have the greatest relationship.”

“Anything she does that’s phenomenal, I’m always like,
‘Hey, you get it from your mom,’ ” Johnson says
of daughter Simone with ex-wife Dany Garcia.

Eleven-month-old
Jasmine, says the actor,
“has Lauren’s eyes.”

What’s one of the most romantic things you’ve ever done?
I was in the kitchen one morning, and we were talking about Percy Sledge—[he sings] “When a man loves a woman.” And Lauren goes, “Oh! I love that song!” And then before we went to bed, I called her into the bedroom, put my phone on, hit play, and it was that song. And we slow-danced. On the romantic chart, that might be up there.

What’s your favorite time of day?
Early in the morning. I like to wake up before the sun comes up, because I get a chance to reflect. My other favorite time is bath time with Jasmine. It’s my job, and I love filling up the baby tub and I get her toys, making everything right. And then I say my thing: “All right, Daddy’s ready!” And in she comes, and she’s kicking and she’s so happy. I own being the daddy. I love it.

"When you're grateful for everything you have, it just leads to happiness."

You sing in Moana. Do you sing in the shower too?
I sing everything and anything that comes to mind. I’m like, [he sings] “You-ooh-ooh-ooh send me.” And when you hit that little bit of vibrato? Oh. “Where’s DJ at? He still in the shower?” “Yeah, been about an hour and a half.”

On that note, where was the last place you were naked?
Let’s see. I’m going to hear about this one. I was in bed. In the morning. We were practicing making babies [he grins]. You’ve got to be honest.

What’s your biggest vice?
Junk food. Cheat meals. Burgers, fries, massive sushi meals, pizza and pancakes. And then by midnight I’ve ingested too much sugar and carbohydrates, and I have an insulin spike. Lauren’s like, “You okay, baby?” I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’m good, good, yep, just sweating right now.”

What I eat in a Day

BEFORE BREAKFAST
I wake up in the morning and have a little bit of caffeine. I don’t drink coffee, so I have some energy drink powders that I like to mix up, and they’re all fruit-flavored. Because you have to make the caffeine fun.

BREAKFAST
And then about an hour later I’m having breakfast, which consists of roasted potatoes (10-12 oz.), grilled sirloin (8-10 oz.) and 4-6 scrambled egg whites.

3 HOURS LATER
8-10 oz. grilled chicken and 1½ cups of white rice.

3 HOURS LATER
10 oz. of bison with 1½ cups of white rice again. With some greens. I’ll have a salad at that point. There’s just balsamic vinegar on it.

3 HOURS LATER
Chicken salad (10-12 oz.) with coconut oil, celery and onion, then 10-12 oz. of roasted potatoes and a salad.

3 HOURS LATER


My last meal is 10 egg whites in ¾ cup oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter. I generally don’t eat many carbs before bed, but I’m on a diet for a character.

STAYING HYDRATED
Water is my go-to. And I drink a lot, probably between 2½ and 3 gallons a day. It’s a lot. I’m always, as they say, yes, peeing. [Laughs]

What’s your workout regimen like?
I train about five days a week for about an hour and 15 minutes. It’s 20-35 minutes of low-impact cardio, generally on an elliptical. It’s easier on my joints. And then free weights, and I rotate muscle groups.

Let’s talk grooming. Do you shave your head every day?
Generally once a day, sometimes every other day if I go with a scruff. When I’m on-set, someone will do it for me, but if not, I love doing it myself.

Is it true you would consider running for President some day?
There’s a good chance, yeah. I used to say it jokingly, but every time I was asked, it was with a real genuine interest. And it was very earnest. And so I started to really think. “Could I make a difference? Could I surround myself with really brilliant people to help me make decisions? Do I care about this country?” And when the answers continued to come up yes, then I thought, “There’s a good chance.” Yeah, one day. Then we’ll do another interview like this.

"In Polynesian culture, tatooing is a rite of passage. Mine took 60 hours and tells the story of my life."

Dwayne FILLS IN THE BLANKS

I ALWAYS COMPLIMENT A WOMAN ON...
Little details. Her hair or something about her eyes. I like to focus in on those.

I'M SELF- CONSCIOUS ABOUT MY...
I think my head’s too big. Not ego— like, the actual circumference. It’s a thing.

A MAN SHOULD NEVER WEAR...


A thong backwards. I don’t know from experience.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT I...


Can hear a song and the words just trigger something in me, and I’ll get a little teary-eyed.

I ALWAYS BORROW FROM LAUREN...


Her deodorant. I didn’t say that.

"I've learned that when you love, you've got to love powerfully."

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