The 'Walk the Line' star first started acting in Tennessee when she was 12 and quickly found herself getting cast in more and more parts, but her parents - who are both medical professionals - were wary of her pursuing it as a career while she was still a teenager.
Speaking at a Young Women's Conference held at Brentwood School in Los Angeles this weekend, she said: "I started doing commercials when I was 12. One day there was an advert in the paper that said, 'Do you want to be in a movie?' I was like, 'Heck yeah I want to be in a movie!' I grew up in Nashville, they're not making a lot of movies there.
"My dad's a doctor and my mom is a professor of pediatric nursing. So I thought I was going to be a doctor. I was sure I was going to be. And then the universe just showed me this different possibility. Thank God my parents did this, but they told me I had to stay in school. I was allowed to work in the summers but I couldn't work in the school year. They said, 'You're not moving to California, that's where crazy people live'."
Oscar winner Reese, now 37, started to go to university in Stanford, North California, but was getting so many movie roles she quit to act full time.
She added: "I was flying down every weekend from Stanford to Los Angeles to read my lines in auditions. And that's sort of been my life. I haven't had a lot of plans."