Dwayne Johnson Says the Prospect of Running for President Some Day 'Is a Humbling Honor'

"I love our country to my core and I'm endlessly grateful for the opportunities I've had here, as a half-Black, half-Samoan kid being able to work my ass off knowing tenacity opens doors," the Jungle Cruise star tells PEOPLE in this week's issue

He was just named PEOPLE's No. 1 Reason to Love America — but Dwayne Johnson might have a bigger title in his future.

After one recent poll found that 46 percent of respondents would support the superstar and business mogul in a bid for president of the United States, Johnson, 49, insists it is a "humbling honor" to even be questioned about the prospect.

"I love our country to my core and I'm endlessly grateful for the opportunities I've had here, as a half-Black, half-Samoan kid being able to work my ass off knowing tenacity opens doors," he tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "In a lot of ways, I'm indebted to our great country for it."

For more of Johnson's exclusive interview, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe now.

dwyane johnson
Peter Yang

The actor stresses he is "not a politician nor did I ever have political passions, and quite frankly I'm not sure I even have the patience or resignation to deal with the B.S. that comes with politics and politicians."

"But," he adds, "when 46 percent of Americans say they're in favor of me becoming president, that forces me to humbly and respectfully stand up, listen and learn."

For now Johnson has his growing business empire — including his Seven Bucks production company (which he leads with his ex-wife Dany Garcia, 52), Teremana tequila, Zoa energy drink and a partnership with Under Armour — as well as his acting career (his new Disney movie Jungle Cruise hits theaters and Disney+ Premier on July 30) to keep him busy.

Any venture "just has to align with my personal beliefs," he says. "What's most important is if I feel like the people will enjoy it and they're going to get some benefit out of it."

dwyane johnson
Peter Yang

Looking back on his unconventional journey to Hollywood, from his troubled teenage years and squashed dreams of becoming a pro football player before making a name for himself in the WWE, Johnson says any moments when he felt underestimated or discriminated against only made him more determined.

Listen to more of PEOPLE's cover story interview with Dwayne Johnson below on our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"When I wasn't [in Hawaii], I was usually primarily in the South. And at that time growing up, you run into discrimination. You run into discrimination at the workplace," he allows.

"But I've always been of the mindset that I can't change that and I can't change the way I look. I was born with this color and who I am and where I'm from. So the best thing that I could do is control the controllables, put in the work with my own two hands, and if someone then continues to choose to discriminate against me, well, that's on them."

Dwayne Johnson / Instagram

Johnson also learned to be open about bouts with depression over the years.

"The first time I was 18 years old and I had no idea what depression was. Back then it was called 'get off the couch, get your s--- together, and change what's happening here,' " he recalls. "I was an only child, and I was always a better listener than I was a communicator in terms of sharing my feelings. The most important thing obviously is communicating and realizing that asking for help is actually the most powerful thing you can do and it's not a weakness. Men especially fall into this trap of being really adverse to vulnerability. But the truth is you have to, hopefully over time, learn to embrace that. It's all part of life."

Now husband to longtime love Lauren Hashian, 36, whom he married in 2019, and father to their daughters Jasmine, 5, and Tia, 3, as well as his daughter Simone, 19, with Garcia, Johnson says he'll never take his "blessed" life for granted.

"I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm a lucky guy to be in the position I'm in," he says. "Around every corner, if there's something that I can do to create an opportunity for somebody to work, take care of their own family, live their dream — that's the kind of stuff that matters."

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