Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Marky Mark the prayer warrior? Who'da thunk it!

Mark Wahlberg was born in a poor, working class district of Boston and was the youngest of nine children. The Wahlberg brood didn't have a lot growing up, and Mark dropped out of high school at the age of 14 to pursue a life of petty crime and drugs.

He spent his days scamming and stealing; working the odd drug deal before treating himself to the substances himself. At the age of 16 he was convicted of assault against two Vietnamese men who he had tried to rob.

He was sentenced to 50 days at Deer Island Prison, which could have taken him deeper into the criminal lifestyle. But he focused his energy on working out and thinking about his future.

Fortunately, he left jail looking pretty buff and having decided to quit crime. He immediately found himself in the spotlight as his older brother Donnie had become a global sensation as part of New Kids on the Block (my childhood faves).

Donnie pulled some strings and set Mark up with a recording contract. Despite his lack of singing ability, promoters took to the youngster’s dance moves and his physique, which they knew teenage girls would love. Donnie wrote some easy songs for Mark, and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch was born.

The hip-hop band was pretty awful and didn’t last long, but there was something about the frontman that suggested promise. Perhaps the iconic shot of him in his CK boxer shorts had something to do with this… but I digress. What really made his name known were appearances in films such as Boogie Nights, The Italian Job, The Departed and The Fighter. He has also served as executive producer of various TV series such as Entourage, Boardwalk Empire and How to Make it in America.

Despite his success, Mark has managed to keep out of the limelight and is now happily married with four children, favouring early nights to drunken binges these days.

He says his aim in life is to: “be a good servant to God and my faith; a good husband, a good father, a good son; a good friend, brother and uncle; a good neighbour.

"If I succeed in business and fail at being a parent or a husband, then I've done it all for nothing, and I failed. But everything else, I just try to do the best that I can at everything that I do.”

Mark seems genuinely appreciative of the “second chance” he has been given and the things he has been able to overcome: “I've got everything that I want. I am so blessed, and so fortunate. I start every day by getting on my hands and my knees, and being grateful; and working to do the right thing.”

When he’s not making movies, he and his Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation work with at-risk youth and inner city kids to help them avoid making the mistakes he did. In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, he said: “My faith has really allowed me to overcome a lot of things, and hard work. You know, nothing comes easy; especially when you‘ve got your back against the wall and you’ve got a lot going against you.

“But I wanted to prove to people through my actions, not my words, that I was going to change and that I was going to make a positive impact on the community that I come from. I could not forget about where I came from and find myself in this position without helping and giving back.”

He told Piers that he starts each day at church, praying for fifteen or twenty minutes. This helps him to focus his day, express his gratitude to God and be a better example to those around him. “All I can do is make sure that I'm doing the right thing in my own personal life and that I'm being as good a husband and father that I can,” he concludes. “Those are the important things.” 

Read the full article in the next issue of Sorted magazine.


  1. smellynerfherder29 March 2012 at 22:03

    What an amazing example! Good to see he's got his priorities right. I think we can all benefit from making sure we have the right focus in life. Praise God for second chances!

  2. This is a really good post Joy; I think a lot of city guys growing up poor and with limited chances to get on can identify with this man; he deserves his success, and he's doing what all successful people should do; put something back.