Remember When Dwayne Johnson and Lauren Hashian Pulled Off A Secret Hawaiian Wedding?
“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” So said the titular Harry in Nora Ephron’s 1989 classic When Harry Met Sally. And Dwayne Johnson, basically.
The 17-time WWE champ turned eminently bankable movie star was “only kidding” when he initially cracked to Ellen DeGeneres that the reason he and bride Lauren Hashian held their nuptials roughly an hour and a half after the sun began to rise over the Hawaiian island of Kauai was because “I had the 8 o’clock workout.”
Because, of course, the real answer was that he was just ready. “We wanted to have an early-morning wedding,” he explained in that December 2019 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “That way we said the vows, get it over with, then by 10, 11 o’clock, we’re hanging, we’re having brunch with the family, and we had it done.”
The celebration was long overdue.
Between their first meeting on the set of Disney’s 2007 comedy The Game Plan—if not love at first sight, then certainly something, with Johnson later confessing to WSJ Magazine, “Within 30 seconds, I thought, ‘Wow, this girl’s stunning’”—and those Aug. 18, 2019, vows on the cliffs of Kauai, was a love story nearly a decade-and-a-half in the making.
Both coming out of serious commitments—a long-term romance for musician Hashian, 36; a marriage to college sweetheart Dany Garcia for 49-year-old Johnson—there were fears to work past and then a family to build before they could make that walk down the flower-lined runner toward the Pacific Ocean and their forever.
“In Hawaii at the time it’s beautiful,” Johnson raved to DeGeneres of their seaside ceremony. Standing there with daughters Jasmine, now 5, and Tiana, now 3, “with my ancestors watching over us, it was truly a magical, magical time.”
For the former University of Miami defensive tackle, the enchantment began just as his first marriage to producer-body builder-entrepreneur Garcia was unraveling. “I was so fortunate to have fallen in love once,” the actor told People in 2012. “To fall in love again? That’s a hard thing to do twice in the position I’m in. I’m one lucky son of a bitch.”
A dozen or so credits into the film career that would make him the world’s highest paid actor, the athlete was facing an upheaval in his own life blueprint as he and Garcia, parents to 20-year-old WWE star Simone Johnson, came to terms with the fact that their marriage was over.
So he wasn’t even thinking about looking for romance when he first spied Hashian.
“At the time, I was going through my breakup with Dany, and she was just coming off a big breakup too,” he explained to WSJ Magazine. And yet the growing spark between them was undeniable: “Ironically, when you’re not looking for something,” he continued, “the power of the universe kind of takes over.”
For a stretch, though, his fears were every bit as strong. “My divorce did a number on me,” he reflected to WSJ Magazine. “I wasn’t fearful of getting married again, there was just some hesitancy.” It was a bit of trepidation that Hashian never once took personally. “Lauren was incredibly patient: ‘I love you, you love me, we have this amazing life together—no presh.’”
After all, they were already partners in every sense beyond the sign-here-on-the-dotted-line. “I just refer to her as my wife all the time,” he explained to ET in 2018. “So a lot of people are like, ‘Oh, did you get married?’ I’m like, ‘No. Easy. Don’t rush big daddy.’”
By that point, though, having watched in awe as she welcomed their first daughter together, Jasmine, into the world just ahead of Christmas 2015 (“As men, it’s a miracle we should witness because it’ll give you a whole new respect for the strength and beauty of a woman,” he wrote in the Instagram announcement), their nuptials were already an inevitability.
“Watching Lauren be a mom has been one of the most enlightening things I’ve ever seen,” Johnson noted to People in 2016. “You see as a man, you see your lady, your partner, your woman, your one, you see them in a certain light and then when they become Mom, it’s a whole other perspective that if you open your eyes wide enough, it’s like a kaleidoscope. You click it a couple of times and it just changes everything.”
There was just one growing bump on their way to the altar.
“We got pregnant,” he told Rolling Stone, at the time mere weeks ahead of Tiana’s April 2018 birth. “And Mama don’t wanna take wedding pictures with a big belly—Mama wanna look good.”
He was fine to postpone, considering he held himself mainly responsible for the situation. They’d been batting around the idea of having another baby, “And then all of a sudden I get a text from her with a [picture of a] pregnancy test,” he shared. “All I did was look at her. Guess what. You’re pregnant. Baby in you now.”
Fittingly, both of their girls were on hand when he dropped to one knee during a 2019 island getaway. “Technically, she never said, ‘YES!’ as she just bursted out laughing and then ugly crying,” he shared of the moment on Instagram. “BUT I’ll take that response on the Hawaiian cliffs any day.”
That’s where they returned just three days later with roughly two dozen guests, only their nearest and dearest trusted with details of their vows, plus a handful of staffers tasked with delivering their dream day.
“We had a full security detail in case there were helicopters,” he told WSJ. “But there was no press, no paparazzi. No one knew. I was shocked but so grateful. My life is so loud and noisy; the fact that it was quiet was a big win.”
And, yes, Mama looked gooooood in her plunging Mira Zwillinger lace gown, beaming as she walked toward her groom in his all-white Ralph Lauren Purple Label ensemble. Though, admittedly their pint-sized flower girls may have pulled just a bit of focus, Johnson joking of then-3-year-old Jazzy that “in the few minutes before the ceremony we took to practice, I quickly realized she was determined to not gently lay the flowers, but rather intensely throw the flowers with ruthless aggression…Hell. Yeah. That’s my daughter!”
Perhaps she sensed a little levity was in order before the couple got to the task at hand: Sharing the deeply emotional self-penned vows that were more than a decade in the making.
“The day you came into my town, I didn’t know you’d stay there in my life. Over a decade later, finally we get to call each other husband and wife,” Hashian said. “We created two beautiful girls. You are the mate to my soul. I’ve never felt safer before. You’re my protector, my guardian angel, and I’ll always protect our space and beautiful energy.”
Asking him to “always teach me and tease me,” and “to never stop kissing, keep loving our babies and practice making a million,” she thanked him for “this life you’ve already given us.” Johnson, in turn, shared his gratitude “for blessings beyond my imagination.” Referencing his daughters, he continued, “Two of them are right there, the other one I’m holding right here.”
When it came time to make it official, there was not a trace of those previous doubts. When asked if he took Hashian to be his forever, Johnson responded, “Absolutely do.”
Their marriage sealed with a kiss and raucous cheers from their loved ones, it was off to brunch on a buffet of pancakes, french toast, frittatas and steak sliders on a lanai surrounded in gauzy white curtains, red, white, pink and yellow roses, greenery and lots of love.
Toasts were raised with flutes full of Veuve Clicquot, the rainbow-frosted cake was cut, the hula was performed and memories were cherished as Hashian dedicated “Step Into a Love Like This,” to her groom, the single inspired by their romance that she’d release one year later on their anniversary.
“I wanted him to feel how much that day and our entire life together has meant to me,” she explained of writing the song. “It was emotional for me to reflect on the amazing years we’ve spent together with so much gratitude and to also think about our new future we get to build. Sharing it with Dwayne and his heartfelt reaction was one of the many moments of our unforgettable day and celebration that I’ll hold onto forever.”
Because he was, in a word, floored. “From the moment I heard the song’s opening line, of ‘…every angel in heaven is singing for us today…’ as tribute to our loved ones who’ve passed away and no longer with us—I got very emotional,” Johnson reflected last year. “As I still get emotional today when I hear those words and watch this wedding footage.”
Little has changed since, Johnson recently turning to his wife to pen the song for his ZOA Energy commercial and Hashian committing to the promise she made in her vows to hold their “home and family” down as he busies himself with changing the world.
“The things that drive me are love, happiness and balance,” she recently told E! News of managing both the home front and her bustling music career. “Trying to be a great mommy at every stage for my two baby girls. They’re constantly changing. Trying to be a great wife and friend and a good person.”
It’s work that doesn’t go unnoticed by her partner. “Bottom line,” he wrote in a 2020 anniversary tribute. “I’m a lucky and grateful husband, father and man to have such an amazing woman by my side through this unpredictable, yet beautiful thing we call life.”