NEW YORK – Darren Mulligan ran away to America to pursue a career in rock music and to escape his responsibilities at home in Ireland.
Mulligan's then-girlfriend was struggling with an eating disorder and coping with the loss of her father to alcoholism when the Irish rocker made what he calls a selfish decision to leave his small town to seek fame for all the wrong reasons.
"[My now wife Heidi] was in a very difficult place and I was a coward so I ran away to America," the We Are Messengers singer told Fox News. "When I got to America, playing rock shows every night of every week in different cities, different states...it was from that moment that everything went down hill for me."
Little did Mulligan know, while he was living a "very lonely" life in America, his future wife Heidi had found her way to God.
"[God] rescued [Heidi] and then I come home a couple of years later...I had nothing going for me," he recalled. "[But then] she told me she loved and she forgave me and then I fell in love with Jesus because of the choice and the love of a good woman. Strange how God operates."
Up until that point, Mulligan said he viewed religion as motions to go through. The singer grew up in a traditional Irish Catholic home and was made to go to mass and take confession, he said.
"I never once heard that Jesus Christ could love me or that I could love Him," he said adding he still struggles with accepting that Jesus can love him despite his failings.
"I was an adulterer, that was my thing and a drunk. I was any amount of things -- a blasphemer, I was violent, I was all of these things that saying prayers in some religious setting was never going to set me free from that," he admitted. "I've done things that I can't even tell you. I have seen things with my eyes and been involved with things that if you really knew me you wouldn't speak to me. Or maybe you would, because you know who Jesus is and He kind of specializes in dealing with people like me."
Mulligan has taken it upon himself to share God's message of love and acceptance through his music as a Christian artist -- a label he does not shy away from.
"I am a Christian daddy, a Christian husband, a Christian racquetball player. I'm a Christian voter, I am a Christian gardener. Whatever I do, I do it in His name. I have no issue with bands that say, 'You know what, I'm an artist who believes in Christ but we're not Christian artists.' I get why you say that [but] I'm not ashamed of Him, what He has done for me, I will never...in my life ever turn around say, 'I'm not a Christian anything.'"
He concluded, "Everything I do is imbued with His goodness. The fact that I can breathe today -- I'm a Christian breather. I don't deserve to have breath in my bones but He said you can breathe today Darren. And He said, you can go and hold your wife's hand today. And so I'm a Christian hand-holder and that's a stupid thing to say, but it's the truth."
Shortly after Fox News' interview with Mulligan, We Are Messengers was involved in a car accident March 26. According to a rep, the band's bus collided with a vehicle that was stopped on the side of a highway south of Atlanta, Georgia.
Both vehicles burst into flames and We Are Messengers managed to escape the burning bus but the passenger in the second vehicle did not survive.
Mulligan told us, "We are well and miraculously so. Our prayers are with the family of the individual who lost his life."
Faith & Fame is a regular column exploring how a strong belief system helps some performers navigate the pitfalls of the entertainment industry.
Follow Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.