Mark Wahlberg is speaking candidly about his past criminal behavior as well as his difficult upbringing.
The 48-year-old actor spoke with The Guardian, the British news outlet, to promote his new Netflix film “Spencer Confidential,” when he was asked about growing up in a difficult part of Boston and his past experiences engaging in criminal behavior.
The actor explained that growing up the youngest of nine children often made him the target of bullying within his own household. In addition, he said he experienced violence outside the home as well, saying, “and when I walked out my door - violence is also all that was there.”
After briefly joining his brother’s band “New Kids on the Block,” Wahlberg says he fell into a pattern of drug use and violent behavior at a young age. He told the outlet that he often had to resort to defending himself amid the turmoil of a rough neighborhood.
“I was always in trouble, and I was kind of little,” he said. “In the circumstances where I was being preyed upon, at times, I had to protect and defend myself. It’s not an easy thing to navigate as a teenage kid who’s 5 feet, 2 inches, 120 lbs,, with grown men.”
The actor explained that he finally made a change in his life when he ended up doing time behind bars after assaulting a Vietnamese shopkeeper in 1988 and using racial slurs against him. Wahlberg served 45 days of a two-year sentence. He has since apologized publicly for the assault and had the opportunity to apologize in person to the victim in 2014, according to TheWrap. As a result, he spoke with authority on the concept of second chances in his latest interview.
“Being in a situation like that and having nothing else – certainly I made a lot of terrible mistakes and I paid for those mistakes dearly.”
He added: “I took it upon myself to own up to my mistakes and go against the grain and not be a part of the gang any more – to say that I was going to go and do my own thing. Which made it 10 times more difficult to walk from my home to the train station, to go to school, to go to work.”
The star noted that the decision to abandon his previous ways made life more difficult, but that he’s happy to have put in the work to become the man he is today.
“Oh absolutely. But I also prided myself on doing the right thing and turning my life around. Whether I found myself venturing off into Hollywood and a music career, or working a 9-to-5 job as a construction worker, whatever path I was going to take, I was going to do the right thing,” he explained. “So I think no, judging a person on what he’s doing and where he’s coming from and all those things, no, I would hope that people would be able to get a second chance in life.”