New Delhi, Jan 19: Mark Wahlberg's tryst with crime began at a young age. The ace Hollywood star, who was once a drug dealer and was arrested 20-odd times for various crimes, has turned his life around and says he has "really started doing good and doing right for other people".
"I did a lot of things that I feel sorry for, and I have surely paid for the blunders," Wahlberg told IANS in an email interview from Los Angeles.
"Nothing gets right until you make them right. You have to go and ask for forgiveness, and it wasn't until I really started doing good and doing right for other people, as well as myself." And that is when he "really started to feel that guilt go away".
"I don't have a problem going to sleep at night. I feel good when I wake up in the morning," said the actor, whose new film "Broken City" was released by PVR Pictures here Friday.
The youngest of nine children, Wahlberg dropped out of school at the age of 13 and became a drug dealer at a young age. He was briefly sent to prison for two 1988 incidents where he attacked, beat and yelled ethnic slurs at two Vietnamese men in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Both incidents were unprovoked by the victims and, in the second attack, Wahlberg beat and permanently blinded one eye of a man, who was trying to help him escape from the police after the first attack. The actor was sentenced to two years in state prison at Boston's Deer Island House of Correction, but served only 45 days.
These real life experiences translated to keen interest in action-packed films for Wahlberg. This clearly reflects in his choice of films. The 41-year-old actor is known for movies like "The Italian Job", "The Departed" and "The Fighter", gritty films with hardcore action sequences that have been an integral part of most of his films.
"I like to do projects I feel some connection to. I wasn't exactly the man I am today. Growing up, I think I was arrested 20-odd times by the Boston police. The good news is that I have been able to use those experiences in a lot of my roles, and that has been a blessing," he said.
The actor is married to model Rhea Durham and the couple has four children together - Ella Rae, 9, Michael Robert, 6, Brendan Joseph, 4, and Grace Margaret, 3.
It's the family over all else for Wahlberg now.
"For me, family always comes first; I would do anything to protect them. And even though I turned my life around, my friends and I are very much involved with the everyday hustles and struggles of the real world," said the actor.
Has your experiences in any way helped in the way you wish to bring up your kids?
"Yes, after I have had them, I have become a real man. They are really smart, strong and independent kids. I try to be with them as much as possible and let them do whatever they want to, but just correct them whenever they go wrong somewhere. My boys drive dirt bikes and wrestle with me. I don't let my girls out of the house," said the protective father.
(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)