"I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job… My wife told me I’m supposed to do this," he told the outlet during his recent trip to Asia.
The former Exxon Mobil chief executive said then president-elect Donald Trump had invited him for a conversation "about the world" that ended with him offering the job.
"I was stunned," Tillerson confessed. "I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to go to the ranch to be with my grandkids."
Tillerson said he had discussed the offer with his wife who convinced him to accept it. "She was right. I’m supposed to do this," he said, adding, "I serve at the pleasure of the president."
Trump explained he picked former businessman to be his foreign policy chief because he was a world-class player and a deal-maker. Tillerson stepped down as the Exxon Mobil CEO in January, a month before he was confirmed as the secretary of state.