Ata Johnson is the mother of the former WWE wrestler and one of the highest-paid Hollywood actors, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Not only this but Ata was the wife of former wrestler Rockey Johnson.
Dwayne’s mother and Dwayne himself have come a long way to reach their current prosperity; from poverty to roaming each state and some life-threatening conditions. She often is the talk of the media for the way Ata receives love from her famous son.
See how the highest-grossing actor always credits Ata for his extraordinary success. In between also know about her origin, past marital life, and how is Ata doing in the present.
|Date of Birth
|October 25, 1948
|Sione Papali’i Fitisemanu
|Pater Maivia Jr and Toa Maivia
|Dwayne Johnson (The Rock)
|Ata Fitisemanu/Ata Johnson
Who are Ata Johnson’s Biological Parents? They Divorced Early
Ata is the daughter of Lia Maivia and Sione Papali’i Fitisemanu. She was born on October 25, 1948, in Hawaii, the United States of America. However, after her birth, Ata’s parents Lia and Sione divorced.
For some time, Lia, the then-future-wife of the professional wrestler Peter Maivia raised her daughter single-handedly.
Wrestling Legend Peter Maivia Is Ata Johnson’s Adoptive Father
After Lia’s divorce from her first husband, the wrestling promoter went on to marry a Samoan-American professional wrestler Peter Maivia. Soon after their marriage, Peter also adopted Lia’s daughter and named her Ata Fitisemanu Maivia from Mataniufeagaimaleata Fitisemanu.
The now 74-year-old also has ties to a legendary clan of Samoan wrestlers since both of her parents were known faces in this world.
Her Adopted Dad Peter
Maivia who was born in Samoa in the 1930s was a “blood brother” of the Anoa’i family, a family of professional wrestlers from American Samoa. He was a pro wrestler who began his career in New Zealand training under South Pacific legend Steve Rickard.
Some time afterward Peter entered the WWE (then, the WWF) during the ’70s and later became famous with his ring name, The High Chief. Ata’s adoptive father won numerous championships in the South Pacific and Hawaii before finally coming to the United States in 1970.
He dominated the west coast in the 1970s, winning multiple championships in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Further, Peter also helped train numerous future Superstars, such as Graham, Wild Samoan Afa as well as Rocky Johnson, Ata’s future husband, and the Rock’s father.
Her Dad Died at 45
Maivia was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in 1981. As per reports, the stunt coordinator wasn’t that serious about the deadly disease even after his family and friends requested him to see a doctor. He tragically passed away in June 1982 at the age of 45.
Ata Johnson’s Mother Lia Maivia
Interestingly Maivia’s mother, Lia Maivia, too was a wrestler. Born and raised in Davie, Florida, Lia after the passing of her hubby Peter took over the Polynesian Pro Wrestling (PPW), becoming one of the first female wrestling promoters.
Interestingly, Johnson once told The Late Show with Stephen Colbert his late grandpa Peter never told his wife that wrestling is choreographed, leading her to it was “real fighting.”
Ata’s Mom Passed Away in 2008
Sadly, her mother Lia is also dead. She passed away on 19th October 2008 at her home located in Davie, Florida. She died of a heart attack. While many believed that the late wrestling promoter died at 81, The Miami Herald reported that her age was 77 at the time of her demise.
Ata isn’t the only child of her parents. She has two siblings who are her brothers, Pater Maivia Jr, and Toa Maivia. They have also made their way to wrestling like their parents.
Ata Johnson’s Relationship With Her Late Ex-Husband, Rocky Johnson
The five-foot-nine-inches tall, Ata married Rock’s father, the Canadian professional wrestler Wayde Douglas Bowles also known as Rocky Johnson on 22 December 1978. In fact, Ata met her future spouse Rockey when the wrestler was a tag team partner in a match on the independent circuit along with her father High Chief Peter Maivia.
The two dated for several years before they eventually married in 1978.
Ata’s Adoptive Father Peter Initially Disapproved of Their Marriage
Yes, her dad, Peter initially objected to her marriage to Rocky in part of his knowledge of the cons while marrying a wrestler. When Peter and Lia knew about their daughter’s growing romance with Johnson, they completely banned them from seeing each other.
In April 2022, The Rock himself came up with a heartbroken story about his parents with a lengthy caption on his Instagram. He wrote,
“My mom and dad met when my dad’s tag team partner was my grandfather – High Chief Peter Maivia. This forced them to keep the beginning of their relationship a secret…until they got caught and my grandparents were FURIOUS and forbid my parents from seeing each other.”
Following her parents’ disapproval, Johnson’s parents were “heartbroken.” Finding a better solution, his mom told his dad, “There’s only one way they can’t stop us from being together…”
“My mom got pregnant. I was born. And I became “the glue” of the family. The rest is history.”
Eventually, the love birds welcomed their one and only child, Dwayne on May 2, 1972. But, Rocky was still married to his first wife Una Johnson with a daughter.
The professional wrestler and his first wife Una only divorced in 1978, the same year, Rockey married his second wife. Despite his infidelity, his divorce from Una ended amicably. Even after their split, they were close friends.
Ata And Her Former Spouse Faced Poverty
Within a decade of their marriage, Johnson and Rocky started to have troubles in their life. First, Rocky, in 1987, went to police custody for a series of sensitive issues that ended his wrestling career. The fighting committee blacklisted him which led him to the path of alcoholism.
Soon, the family’s economy began to collapse. The Johnson couple faced poverty throughout the Rock’s early life. Maivia and her husband along with their son used to live in little apartments all across the country. Dwayne once revealed he and his parents lived like gypsies on the road from one state to another.
She Also Lost Her Apartment
Amidst the financial destitution that the Rock’s mother and father were facing, at one point Ata also lost her car in debt and her family faced eviction from their home when her future actor son was 14.
Maivia’s son says the moment is something he’ll never forget throughout his life. The family of three lived paycheck to paycheck and most of the time wondered how they were going to pay the rent.
According to the Rock, his mother, Ata, and his father, Rocky for several years relied on the independent wrestling circuit for income. They used to live in an efficiency that cost $120 a week, the former WWE champion told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2014.
Eventually, once their son became a WWE superstar, their economic difficulties started to evade gradually. Some years later, Ata’s marriage with Dwayne’s father, Rocky Johnson would nonetheless end in 2003.
Fitisemanu’s ex-husband, Rocky Johnson died in January 2020 from a heart attack.
Ata Johnson Once Tried To Kill Herself
In April 2018, the Rock revealed the time when his mother tried to commit suicide. The Fast And The Furious star said how at one time, Ata got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. Dwayne said the big rigs and cars were swerving out of the way.
The Jumanji actor revealed he grabbed her and pulled her back onto the gravel shoulder of the road. Dwayne was then 15 and this was months after they had lost their apartment.
It, however, is unclear where Johnson and his mother were living at the time or how they wound up on I-65 in Nashville. The Ballers alum though says Ata has no recollection of the suicide attempt.
The Mother Of Dwayne Johnson, Ata Survived A Car Accident
In Aug 2014 Dwayne had quite a scare when his mother, Ata, and his cousin, Lina Fanene, were hit by a drunk driver, a woman.
The California-born former footballer later shared the news with an Instagram post writing,
“My mom & cousin @linafanene was struck head-on by a drunk driver this week – they lived. The first reaction is to find the person who did this and do unrelenting harm to them. But then you realize the most important thing is my family lived thru this and we can hug each other that much tighter these days. Hug your own family tighter today and be grateful you can tell them you love them.”
Johnson also shared a photo from the car crash, in which both cars appeared completely wrecked. The wrestler later shared the photo on Twitter and wrote the accident was “100% preventable.” Luckily, Ata and Fanene didn’t bear any serious injury.
Her 2nd Car Accident in Los Angeles
In early 2023, Dwayne Johnson’s mother was involved in another car accident in Los Angeles. The ‘Black Adam’ star took to Instagram to share the news. He wrote,
“She’ll survive and continue to get evaluated. This woman has survived lung cancer, tough marriage, head on collision with a drunk driver and attempted suicide. She’s a survivor, in ways that make angels and miracles real.”
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She Has Received Luxury Gifts From Her Son, The Rock
In addition to being famous as the mother of a Hollywood superstar, Ata also occasionally steals the internet’s thunder by receiving extravagant gifts from her son.
The inseparable mother-son duo almost always breaks the online community on Holidays with the ex-WWE star showering her with ultra-expensive things. The Rock first made headlines in 1999, when he gifted his parents the first home they ever lived in.
However, the first time Dwayne took this gift-giving gesture to the internet was in December 2012 when he presented his mother with a brand new White Cadillac SRX. The action star did the same for his then alive father.
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Then in Christmas 2018, Dwayne gifted Ata a brand new home. He also shared this on his Instagram.
“This one felt good. Surprise! Bought my mom a new home for Christmas,”
wrote the 1995 NFL draft alongside the video where his mother is reacting to her son buying the home of her choice.
Further in December 2021, again on the occasion of Christmas Dwayne once more gifted his mother, a brand-new Cadillac.
“Surprised my mom with a new car for Christmas today. She was shocked. She got a few good ugly cries in,”
captioned the Rampage star. The 2000 Royal Rumble winner says ever since he ended his family’s financial hardships, he decided to always make sure his mom and dad have everything they’ll ever need – houses, cars, etc.
Is Ata Johnson In The Movies?
While Peter’s daughter is yet to have a role in the movies, in Feb 2021, NBC released a new comedy series, Young Rock based on Dwayne Johnson’s real-life including his relationship with his mother.
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In fact, Ata is the other focal character in the series. Actress Stacey Leilua plays her character of hers in the series while Joseph Lee Anderson portrays his famed father, the wrestling champion Rocky Johnson.
Dwayne appears as himself in the series by the creators Nahnatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang (both the fame of Fresh Off the Boat).
She Has Three Granddaughters
Ata aka Fitisemanu has been enjoying grandma time for years now as her famous son himself is a father of three.
The California native has three daughters, Simone Johnson with his ex-wife, Danny Garcia, and two little girls, Jasmine and Tiana with his current wife, Lauren Hashian.
- Maivia suffered stage 3 lung cancer in the summer of 2009, a piece of news that her son reported in January 2010. He, though, at the time revealed after chemotherapy and radiation she had successfully defeated the disease.
- Dwayne admits his mother, Ata still calls him Dewey all the time and she calls him that in public.