She said she got her love of animals from growing up in Carmel, not Hollywood, a decision she’s thankful her mother and father made.
The former actress revealed what it was like growing up outside of Hollywood, what it was really like being directed by her dad, and how others can take part in her rescue efforts.
Fox News: When did you first realize that your father was different from other days?
Alison Eastwood: I would say when I was seven or eight years old – somewhere around there. I was pretty young, and I remember seeing this movie poster on the side of a bus with my father’s face on it. I thought, “That’s kind of weird.” *laughs*.
But I think it goes even further back. I grew up in Carmel, which is a pretty small, sleepy town in California. We would have family dinners and people would approach him during our family time to shake hands, and get an autograph or a photo. It really annoyed my dad, but that’s the price of being famous.
You don’t get a lot of boundaries when you’re out in public. People think, “Well, he’s a public celebrity figure, and we want to go up and say hello.” I remember as a kid that we wouldn’t get a lot of uninterrupted, quality family time with him in public. People always wanted to engage with him. I guess that was my real first time noticing that people seemed only interested in him. And of course, seeing his face on the side of buses or buildings. I learned very quickly that other people’s parents weren’t garnering that same kind of attention.
Fox News: What was it like growing up in Carmel? You probably didn’t have the typical Hollywood upbringing.
I’m glad they did because it was a very magical upbringing. We lived surrounded by the forest where we had baby deer, raccoons – all sorts of wildlife. And we were right on the ocean. My brother and I would just go outside and enjoy nature. I think that’s why I love animals and nature so much because I grew up in that kind of environment. It’s hard not to appreciate it on a very deep level.
Fox News: How much of an influence did your upbringing have on you?
Eastwood: It had an amazing impact on me. I remember my mom and dad took in a baby deer that had been orphaned. The mother had been hit by a car. We were able to care for it. And we were always surrounded by animals. My parents were both very conscious about exposing us to nature. But unfortunately, my dad is allergic to cats and some dogs. So is my brother Kyle *laughs*.
So I ended up taking care of the animals and I just loved it. My earliest memories of my childhood were helping these animals in need and it was wonderful. I also had lots of pets – birds, fish, a hermit crab – anything that wasn’t an allergen *laughs*. I was just very fortunate to be surrounded by nature and this beautiful sea life.
Fox News: Your parents divorced in 1984. Did that affect you in any way?
Eastwood: You know, I’m so thankful that both of them are friends. We all celebrate Thanksgiving together. Usually, my dad and his girlfriend will come over to my mom’s house. And my parents only live like a mile away from each other up in the Carmel area. They still have some businesses together.
Their lives are intertwined, and it’s been great. And they’ve always gotten along really well… I give my mom a lot of credit for being somebody who said, “We have a family together, regardless of whether we’re married or not. We want the kids to know that we get along, and we’re friends still.” That was especially important to both of my parents. Family came first.
Fox News: You must have many, but what’s one memory involving your father that makes you smile whenever you think about it?
Eastwood: My parents separated when I was pretty young – I was six. But we spent a lot of time with him on set while he worked. I think one of my fondest memories involved my brother Kyle and me getting to be part of the crew. I got to use the clapperboard and everyone was just so sweet about it *laughs*.
Fox News: That’s one way to do “Take your Child to Work Day.”
Eastwood: I know! And the cool thing was that it wasn’t just one day a year. We were on set all the time spending time with him. My dad has a very tight-knit group of people he frequently works with, so it felt like family. I grew up with them and saw them all the time. They were always very welcoming and looked out for us kids. And my dad made it even more fun for us. He would put us in a scene, even if it was in the background or whatever. We got to be involved in his work, too.
Fox News: You went on to pursue acting. Did your parents give you any advice on navigating the film industry?
Eastwood: No. My dad was never encouraging any of us kids to be actors. But he certainly didn’t deter us. He just simply told us that we could do whatever we wanted as long as it made us happy. At first, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but when I reached high school, I was told I had to go to college for eight years. At the time, I didn’t want to do that. So I ended up getting into the film world, not just with acting, but also working behind the scenes. My dad would simply say, “If this makes you happy, go for it.”
Fox News: Your father ended up directing you. What was that like?
Eastwood: Oh, he directed me multiple times *laughs*. I worked with him as a kid, and then I worked with him as a young adult. I last worked with him in 2018, which is when I retired from acting. It felt appropriate to start my acting career with him and then end it with him as well. They were all great experiences, but different ones. But he always looked after me.
In 2018, I played his daughter in “The Mule.” It wasn’t a big role, but I played a character that didn’t speak to her father. They had a very strained relationship, which is the complete opposite of what we have. It was tough to play someone who had such negativity and resentment towards him. So when we were done shooting, I would go have a beer with him or something, so we could end the day completely happy and laughing. He’s an amazing director and there’s a reason why people love working with him.
Read the full interview here.