With a new baby at home and his fiancée, Paulina Gretzky, by his side, golf star Dustin Johnson is working hard to turn his life around. In a candid new interview with Sports Illustrated, the professional golfer sets the record straight over his mysterious absence from the PGA Golf Tour last year while giving fans rare insight into the A-list couple’s daily life.
“Over these past four or five months I’ve really grown up,” he tells the magazine. “ I am starting to become the person I want my kids to look up to.”
Dustin surprised fans last summer when he chose to take off the rest of the golf season, citing "personal challenges." For the last six months, the 30-year-old athlete has been keeping a low profile, spending time with his pregnant fiancée – Wayne Gretzky’s 26-year-old daughter – and her supportive family as he works out his issues with a team of experts, including a life coach, several clinicians and even Wayne.
The golf star says he was struggling to deal with the stresses that came along with his newfound fame and fortune after winning eight PGA events and nearly $25 million, though he insists that his leave had nothing to do with drugs.
The couple became engaged in September 2013 after six months of dating. Photo: Instagram
“I did not have a problem,” he says when asked explicitly about drug use. “It’s just something I’m not going to get into. I have issues. But that’s not the issue.”
Dustin does admit that he would turn to alcohol and partying to deal with his anxiety, but reveals he hasn’t had a drink in months. (His cocktail of choice? Grey Goose with soda and lime, he says.) He even has a $1,000 competition going with Wayne and eight other members of the elite Sherwood golf club to see who can abstain from alcohol for the month of January.
Wayne has been helping Dustin deal with his personal issues. Photo Getty
“ I don’t miss waking up with a hangover, and I didn’t drink very often. It was just when I did it was a little too much,” he says.
Now, he says, he and Paulina, a model, are settling down to live a simpler, happy life. Every day, the couple eats breakfast and dinner with the Gretzky clan, who live just a half-mile from their rented townhouse. At night, they curl up together watching State of Affairs, Homeland or Sons of Anarchy as Paulina munched on celery sticks – which was her number one pregnancy craving.
The happy couple welcomed their first child on January 20, 2015.
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