Movie star Mark Wahlberg has a dark past hanging over him, and he even attempted to have it all erased once to no avail. He cited his upbringing for his outrageous behavior as a teenager.
In March 2020, actor Mark Wahlberg spoke frankly about his past criminal behavior, including his difficult upbringing. The 50-year-old is a Boston native, having grown up in Dorchester.
Wahlberg shared that growing up being the youngest of nine children; he automatically became a target of bullying within his household.
Mark Wahlberg and his brother Donnie Wahlberg attend the Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics game at the Staples Center on December 30, 2007 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images
Additionally, he explained that he experienced violence even outside his home, saying that violence was all that was there whenever he stepped outside.
After he briefly joined his brother's band New Kids on the Block, the former rapper revealed that he got addicted to drugs and was involved in violent behavior at a young age. Wahlberg said he had to defend himself amid growing up in a rough neighborhood, stating:
“I was always in trouble, and I was kind of little. In the circumstances where I was being preyed upon, at times, I had to protect myself and defend myself.”
Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg attends the premiere of the comedy series "Entourage" at Regency Village Theatre on June 1, 2015 in Westwood, California | Photo: Getty Images
He said it was not easy for him, considering he was 5 feet, 2 inches, and weighed 120 lbs, and he had to put up with grown men in the neighborhood.
His parents divorced when he was only 11 years old, and he told Forbes that even though his mom and dad cared about them, he and his siblings were left to their own devices, so they got into endless trouble.
Following their split, it did not take long for Wahlberg to be led astray. Two years after his mother (a nurse) and father (a truck driver) separated, he began dabbling in drugs.
TROUBLE WITH THE LAW
At just 13, Wahlberg started using cocaine and even dropped out of high school as a result. Moreover, he began stealing cars and bullying rich kids. Of these acts, he said:
“We wanted what we didn’t have, so we went out and hustled.”
During those troublesome years, the producer also allegedly committed several racially motivated crimes. On June 15, 1986, when he was 15, he and his three friends spotted an African American boy named Jesse Coleman, aged 12 then.
Coleman was walking home with his older brother and sister when Wahlberg and his associates started tailing them. Court documents stated one of them told the Colemans that they did not like people like them in the area and that they should leave.
They then began chasing them, and the documents shockingly revealed the all-white group attacked the Coleman kids that day, but they managed to get to safety.
Unfortunately for Coleman, he encountered a similar incident the next day when he ran into Wahlberg and his friends while on a school field trip. They attacked them, chanting racial epithets, and one student was left injured.
Two years after being reported to the police, Wahlberg, allegedly high on PCP, attacked another Dorchester resident. Legal documents revealed that on the night of April 8, 1988, the star hit a shopkeeper with a large wooden stick and used racial slurs against him.
The victim was a Vietnamese man named Thanh Lam, and he was left unconscious. While officers marched Wahlberg back to the crime scene for Lam to identify him, it was reportedly not necessary for Lam to do it because his accuser admitted it himself.
The "Transformers" star was charged with attempted murder for the crime but was ultimately convicted of assault and only ended up spending 45 days in jail for a two-year sentence.
That same night while attempting to get away from the scene, Wahlberg and his friends bumped into another Vietnamese male, Hoa Trinh, a few blocks away, and another assault took place.
Unsealed documents revealed Wahlberg lulled his second victim into a false sense of security before eventually attacking him. He told Trinh that the police were coming and placed his arm around his shoulder to appear as though they were friends.
However, when he was in the clear, he blindsided Trinh by attacking him too. Numerous reports at the time stated that Trinh had been left blind in one eye following the incident and remained so for years. Even Wahlberg himself believed it.
However, that was not the case because when the Daily Mail tracked down Trinh years later, he revealed he had already lost sight in that one eye – fighting alongside US forces in the Vietnam war.
He was not even aware that his assailant had become a famous actor. While Wahlberg's unprovoked attack left him shook, Trinh shared it did not leave any permanent damage:
“Mark Wahlberg did not blind me. He did hurt me, but my left eye was already gone. He was not responsible for that.”
During an interview with MailOnline, Trinh expressed relief that Wahlberg was given a pardon saying that he was young and reckless but forgave him, noting that people deserve second chances.
Trinh said he would like to see him get pardoned and that he should not have the crime hanging over him much longer while mentioning that he desired to meet him in person to tell him that he does not bear a grudge.
He added Wahlberg paid for his crime because he did time in prison. Trinh also highlighted that he does not give him a pass for assaulting but was merely hinting that it happened a while ago.
"He has grown up now. I am sure he has his own family and is a responsible man," said Trinh. While he showed mercy to the "Infinite" star," Wahlberg, on the other hand, was trying to get the matter completely wiped out from the records.
He was 16 years old at the time of the incident and admitted that he was intoxicated while insisting race was not a motive behind the assault.
However, because of his previous racial criminal acts, the court believed otherwise. In his application to wipe the conviction from his record with the Massachusetts Board of Pardons, he claimed that he was attempting to steal cases of alcohol at the time of the attack.
He has since publicly apologized for the incident stating he was "deeply sorry" for his actions and "any lasting damage that I may have caused the victims."
Wahlberg was also granted the opportunity to apologize to Trinh in person back in 2014. He echoed the same sentiments of his victim speaking of authority on the notion of second chances:
“I prided myself on doing the right thing and turning my life around.”
A NEW LEAF
Wahlberg explained that it did not matter if he ended up in Hollywood or working a 9-5 job as a construction worker as long as he would do the right thing.
In September 2016, he retracted his plea to request a pardon for his teenage assault conviction. In an interview with Wrap, he acknowledged that the request was ill-advised.
Wahlberg said the idea was presented to him and that if he were to do it again, he would have avoided going that route or even applied.
FACTS ABOUT WAHLBERG
He added it was unnecessary to ask for a pardon because he spent 28 years righting his wrongs, stating that he was coerced into it and was reluctant to see it through.
Initially, he had cited his philanthropy in the years since the attack as a reason for his record to be wiped clean, saying he wanted people to remember his past so that he could serve as an example of how he changed his life.
Wahlberg is a committed philanthropist, having founded The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation in 2001 to benefit inner-city children and teens. He serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Sheriff's Youth Foundation of LA County and the Felix Organization.
The doting father of four first burst into the entertainment industry, headlining the musical group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
Wahlberg became a Hollywood A-lister in the 1990s, earning his big break in movies such as "The Basketball Diaries," "Boogie Nights," "The Departed," and "The Fighter."
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