The Rock's First Daughter's Mother: What You Don't Know

It doesn't get much bigger than The Rock — we mean that literally and figuratively. The hulking wrestler-turned-actor is one of, if not the biggest actor in the world, not to mention a former People magazine Sexiest Man Alive winner. Behind The Rock's ascension to the top is his long time girlfriend, Lauren Hashian, with whom he shares two daughters, Tiana and Jasmine. But before Hashian was his college sweetheart and ex-wife, Dany Garcia, with whom he shares daughter Simone Garcia Johnson.

Garcia — who met The Rock (then known by his real name, Dwayne Johnson) when he was a college football player — has continued to play a pivotal role in his career long after their 2008 divorce. Sound strange? Oh, it is. But it's also inspiring. And that's part of what makes Garcia's story so interesting. Here's what you don't know about the mother of The Rock's first daughter.

She was an outcast

Like way too many kids around the world, Garcia was bullied as a child. In an interview with Bullied But Not Broken, she said it began when she started at a new school around age 10 and was due to her then-skinny frame, glasses and boy-ish first name. To make matters worse, she didn't have a social circle that she could turn to for support: "I spent quite a few years with just a friend, maybe one."

This unfortunate outcast stage lasted all the way up until high school when Garcia found sports and the weight room, and in turn found herself. She said she "stopped paying attention to people who couldn't understand her" and "started paying attention to the things that made me feel really great," adding that the experience helped turn her into the woman she is today. See, kids, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Her dad fled from Cuba

Garcia didn't exactly come from riches. Both of her parents immigrated from Cuba as teenagers, with her dad fleeing at age 14 before finishing high school. He worked at an auto body shop upon arriving in the US and would remain at that job while providing for his wife and three children. Garcia told Marie Claire: "Times were very, very tight for us" and that she used to think, "I'm going to be a millionaire. I'm going to take care of them."

Rather than hold on to their Cuban roots like many immigrants do, Garcia's parents assimilated to their new surroundings as best as they could. The Rock told Ebony magazine that they "were adamant about being American. English was always the first language in their home. They wanted their children to assimilate, adapt and succeed." Whether that approach is right or wrong, there's no denying their plan worked.

The Rock didn't meet her parents for six years

Garcia fell for The Rock, or DJ, as she calls him, when they both were student athletes at the University of Miami. She was a 21-year-old member of the crew team and he was an 18-year-old member of the much-talked-about football team. But there was a problem that prevented Garcia from introducing her football stud of a boyfriend to her parents for many years. The Rock told Ebony that Garcia's parents didn't want "their daughter dating me, a person of color. I was half-black, and that made me an unsuitable suitor."

The Rock said he didn't meet Garcia's parents formally until a whopping six years into the relationship, when he told her dad they were planning to get married. How's that for an uncomfortable introduction? The college sweethearts later walked down the aisle in 1997. And yes, they had Garcia's parents blessing.

She was a VP before going Hollywood

Garcia is what you would call a go-getter. After graduating in 1992 with a degree in international marketing and finance at the University of Miami, she landed a job at investment firm Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, climbing the ladder all the way up to vice president. In 2002, the same year The Rock released his first starring vehicle, The Scorpion King, she took a leap of her own and launched JDM Partners LLC, serving as the investment advisory firm's CEO. Clearly, she wasn't content with just being The Rock's wife.

Garcia has a knack for business, which is why in 2008 The Rock asked her to become his manager. This came at a time when the burly actor was struggling to find his place in Hollywood and was in need of fresh ideas. What was her transition like? Garcia told Variety, "It was just taking the skill set from one career and moving it into the next and into the next." She makes it all sound so simple.

Admirable exes

The most surprising part about Garcia becoming The Rock's manager isn't that she was his wife. It's that Garcia was on her way to becoming The Rock's ex-wife when he asked her to take on the position. Garcia and Johnson, who share a daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, divorced in 2008 after 11 years of marriage. Somehow the split didn't destroy their business relationship, which continues to thrive to this day.

How have they made their unusual business relationship work? "Therapy," the Rock responded half-jokingly on Good Morning America. Garcia elaborated on the topic in an interview espnW, saying, "What it feels like is two friends who work together and have big dreams. That's the secret sauce. We have so much history. We were so broke together. We've always had respect for each other, and that respect allows a friendship to continue." If only all exes could be so civil.

Her brother helped The Rock become The Rock

The Rock didn't become The Rock on his own. He had some help, including Garcia's brother, Hiram. According to Hiram's interview with Variety, "I started helping him out creatively with his wrestling, whether it be his dialogue or building the character of the Rock. It would be me, him, and this WWE writer forming this character." But Hiram wasn't done yet.

The Rock invited Hiram to join him on the set of The Scorpion King and it was there that he discovered his love of producing. Hiram told Collider he took screenwriting classes after that and worked as a P.A. and then second assistant director before reconnecting with The Rock. Along with Fast Five screenwriter Chris Morgan, Hiram said they would create the character of Hobbs. Considering The Rock is one of the most beloved characters in wrestling history and Hobbs is popular enough to warrant his own big budget spin off, Hobbs & Shaw, it's no wonder The Rock trusts Hiram so much.

Her company does more than TV and film

Garcia and The Rock founded Seven Bucks Productions — named after the amount of money The Rock had to his name after he was cut by the Canadian Football League — in 2007. Along with Garcia's brother, Hiram Garcia, the president of production at Seven Bucks, they've released films such as Rampage and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and television projects such as Ballers and The Titan Games.

But they do more than churn out movies and TV projects. The multi-platform Seven Bucks launched Seven Bucks Digital Studios in 2016, which focuses on creating original digital content such as The Rock's YouTube channel and various digital series. And in 2017, they launched their first podcast and created an ad agency, Seven Bucks Creative, that was behind an ad campaign for The Rock's Under Armour line. "Having a very large footprint helps us execute," Garcia told Forbes, adding colorfully "We would never do anything half-assed."

Hollywood has taken notice

There was a time when Hollywood underestimated Garcia. She told Variety she would accompany The Rock to meetings early in her entertainment career "and talk about business models and return-on-investments. And we loved watching the reaction in the room; it was always satisfying." But that time seems to be long gone. She now has a proven track record in the film industry and people are taking notice. And by people, we mean People En Espanol, which named her to its 25 Most Powerful Women list in 2018. "Look MOM!!!!" tweeted Garcia, whose parents were born in Cuba. "What an incredible list to be a part of!!"

But they're not the only publication giving Garcia her due. That same year she was named to the Variety500, which recognizes the most influential business leaders in the entertainment industry. Also on that list: The Rock, because of course he is.

She became a bodybuilder at 40

Garcia revealed in a Reddit AMA that it was around the age of 13 or 14 that she first became fascinated with bodybuilding. She happened to come across a bodybuilding magazine with Miss Olympia on the cover and the images resonated with her. But it wasn't until she was 40 years old that Garcia decide to pursue her passion, at the encouragement of her husband Dave Rienzi. She competed in her first bodybuilding competition in 2011, placing seventh out of 42 women, and turned professional when she won the Masters Over-35 title at the 2014 IFBB North American Championships.

In order to stay swoll, Garcia does cardio seven days a week and trains six days a week. Where does the busy entrepreneur find the time? "I'm fortunate because my husband is my trainer!" she revealed on Reddit. "So we get to spend personal time and get fit." Apparently the couple who trains together stays together.

She manages Henry Cavill

It appears Henry Cavill is hoping Garcia can do for him what she did for The Rock, currently the highest paid actor in Hollywood and a global icon. Garcia announced on Instagram in 2016 that she was managing Cavill, best known for playing Superman in the DC Extended Universe films. She told Newsweek that "Henry has a big appetite. We've been in a five-month period of time where he's re-strategizing... he's going to be a force globally."

Not coincidentally, the same year Garcia became Cavill's manager, The Rock, who will join the DCEU in the role of Black Adam, posted a photo of both men on Instagram and teased a collaboration. "We're excited for what the future brings." That future has since become a little cloudier with rumors that Cavill is walking away from the Superman role. But Garcia, as his manager, released a statement insisting Cavill has done no such thing. She tweeted, "the cape is still in his closet."

She's married to The Rock's trainer

Just when you thought The Rock-Garcia dynamic couldn't get any more — what's the word we're looking for? — unique, Garcia married The Rock's personal trainer, Dave Rienzi. The competitive bodybuilder has been the Rock's trainer since 2011, helping him get extra buff for films such as Pain & Gain, Hercules and Hobbs & Shaw. (For those wondering about The Rock's training habits, Rienzi told Mens Health UK they take a less is more approach to the gym, limiting The Rock's workout sessions to an "intense" 45-60 minutes each).

In 2014, Rienzi — who also trains fellow Garcia client Henry Cavill, as well as football stud slash Dancing with the Stars alum Antonio Brown — married Garcia in Orlando with The Rock's blessing, according to the Miami Herald. Garcia gushed about Rienzi on Instagram, writing "it feels I've loved you all my life" along with the hashtag "#MyTrueLove." 

She has managed wrestlers (besides The Rock)

You know the kind of wrestling managers who escort their client to the ring and sometimes cheat to help their wrestler win their match? Garcia isn't that kind of wrestling manager. Not even close. She handles business for wrestlers outside of the ring. Besides The Rock, she has managed wrestlers Tamina and Eva Marie. Makes sense. Tamina is related to The Rock. "I kept her in the divorce," joked Garcia on Reddit. And Eva Marie left wrestling to make the jump to Hollywood like The Rock. "She will find a place in television, in feature film, she's an excellent client with a great potential for lifestyle relationships," Garcia said.

Eva Marie appeared on the San Andreas red carpet with The Rock and Garcia in 2015, which is the sort of exposure Garcia can provide clients. But that's not all she has to offer. Eva Marie told Rolling Stone, "My manager, Dany Garcia, is a prime example of somebody I look up to because she not only owns her own business but she's doing multiple different things." Sounds like Eva Marie picked a good role model.

She wanted her daughter to have a normal childhood

Garcia and The Rock made the decision early on to keep daughter Simone Garcia Johnson out of the limelight. While her dad was making headlines and conquering Hollywood, Garcia Johnson would live with her mom on the other side of the country near Fort Lauderdale, away from the madness. Garcia told the Hollywood Reporter, "She needed to be sheltered from an environment where there's paparazzi, where people are interested in what she was wearing at a very young age." You can't blame them. Celeb kids often get scrutinized by tabloids and social media, despite not having signed up for the added attention like their famous parents.

As she gets older, Garcia Johnson has been given more freedom to put herself out there (she was the Golden Globes Ambassador during the 2018 Golden Globes ceremony and is active on Instagram, where she has over 300,000 followers), mostly because Garcia feels she has earned it. She told the Hollywood Reporter her daughter is now "so well-baked into who she is that I feel confident letting her navigate the world."

Whose footsteps will her daughter follow?

It appears that Garcia's daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, could one day follow in her mother's management footsteps. On the other hand, she could follow in her dad's wrestling footsteps instead. Or she could do both, which seems like the plan for now. Simone told the Hollywood Reporter, "I plan to study business in college — NYU, hopefully — and after graduating, I want to pursue wrestling and eventually transition into talent management."

What about her dad's current job — acting? She said, "As much as I love and admire the film industry, I don't see myself pursuing a career in it at the moment." That's somewhat surprising when you consider she's been getting her feet wet in the industry. Garcia told Working Mother that she regularly turns to Simone for creative input on projects because "she does an amazing job representing the voice of her peer group" and that her daughter "has actually green-lit numerous TV projects." She's still young. Maybe the industry will grow on her. Or not.

Her daily routine includes "magic hours"

It doesn't matter what is going on in her life or what coast she wakes up on, Garcia has a set daily schedule that she makes sure to follow. A routine is important when you're as busy as she is. Garcia told Working Mother she kicks off her day at 6:30 am with cardio and then from 8 to 11 am — her "magic hours," as she calls them — she reads, studies philosophy and conducts research: "At this point, I'm looking for solutions or answering questions pertaining to the advancement of the people and brands I work with."

After that, it's back to the gym because, don't forget, she is a professional bodybuilder. Those biceps aren't going to work themselves out. From 3 to 7 p.m., Garcia makes calls and attends meetings and then calls it a day to spend time with family. You have to have family time.