“My dad was pretty old school,” Eastwood tells PEOPLE for its latest issue. “I’ve had a job since I can remember and it’s not like he was like, ‘Hey, what kind of car do you want?’ ” he says with a laugh. “My first car was a ’91 Ford Crown Victoria that was $1,000. And I had to buy every car after that. I had to do it all.”
And acting was no different.
Eastwood, 29, one of Clint’s seven kids from various relationships (his mom is former flight attendant Jacelyn Reeves), spent his childhood being “dragged around to movie sets,” he recalls. He later acted in his dad’s Gran Torino and Flags of Our Fathers, but he wasn’t always sure following in his father’s footsteps was something he wanted to do.
“People think I just started, and I laugh,” he says. “I said I would give myself 10 years, and if it didn’t work out, I would be a firefighter or something. And things just sort of took off.”
After a steamy Town & Country spread, Eastwood became an instant sex symbol – something he certainly has a sense of humor about – but he credits his dedication to living a healthy lifestyle all to his famous father, now 84.
“My dad was always super-active and got me in the gym at a young age,” he recalls. “He wanted me to be health-conscious. Healthy body, healthy mind; that’s what he preached to me.”
And that philosophy sure did a body good for Eastwood, as jaws around the country collectively dropped when pictures surfaced of the actor during a recent shirtless workout.
For exclusive photos and more from our interview with Eastwood, pick up a copy of the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday