People magazine on Tuesday named wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson this year’s Sexiest Man Alive, succeeding 2015’s David Beckham.
Calling the distinction “awesome,” the 44-year-old star of HBO’s “Ballers” and the voice of Maui in the new Disney animated feature “Moana” told the magazine that upon hearing he was chosen, “what went through my mind was just how cool and exciting it is,” adding, perhaps not quite seriously, “And then I thought, ‘Wow, we’ve pretty much reached the pinnacle.’ I’m not quite too sure where we go from here. I’ve done it all, this is it.”
The former WWE champion — who with movies like “San Andreas” and “Central Intelligence” earned an estimated $64.5 million from mid-2015 to mid-2016 to become Forbes magazine’s highest-paid male movie star of the year — told People he had come a long way from his teenhood in Hawaii. “I was doing a lot of things that I shouldn’t have,” he said. “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.”
Johnson, the grandson of pro-wrestler Peter “High Chief” Fanene Maivia and son of wrestler Rocky Johnson, said, “I’ve made big, sweeping changes in my career over the years, which have served me nicely. But I feel that the big, sweeping changes that happened in my life, in my relationships, of being a dad, of being a partner, and the things that I was and the things that I am, has really lent itself to a confidence.” Johnson has an 11-month-old daughter, Jasmine, with his singer-songwriter girlfriend, Lauren Hashian, and a 15-year-old daughter, Simone, with ex-wife Dany Garcia, who remains a friend and his film-production partner.
As for what he thought made him sexy, “Ah, a sense of humor,” he replied. “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 off-screen and the man they see on-screen.”