Mark Wahlberg believes his children should decide for themselves what they believe when it comes to faith.
This past Thursday morning, the 50-year-old actor spoke on his upcoming role, Father Stu, where he plays Stuart Long, a real-life boxer who ultimately decided to become a priest.
As a Catholic man, Wahlberg shares how there are parallels between the film and his life, which is why he deeply relates to the project. That being said, he does not believe on pushing his beliefs onto his children — daughters Ella, 18, and Grace Margaret, 12, plus sons Michael, 16, and Brendan, 13, whom he shares with wife Rhea Durham.
“They think Dad’s crazy, and he’s boring,” he joked to Hoda Kotb. “But even with my faith, I don’t force it on them. But they know that Dad can’t start the day without being in prayer, can’t start the day without reading my Scripture or going to Mass.”
“And hopefully, instead of forcing that on them, they’ll say, ‘Well, if it works for Dad, maybe it’ll work for us,’ and they’ll kind of gravitate towards it on their own,” Wahlberg added.
However, Father Stu was not the first film that spoke to the Oscar-nominated actor.
Wahlberg told Fox News just last year that being a dad affected his approach to his movie Joe Bell — which told the story of an Oregonian man who raised awareness about suicide prevention and anti-bullying after the death of his 15-year-old son Jadin, who came out as gay.
The actor said he wants to “make sure that people are, and especially parents, that they’re listening to their children and are hearing what’s going on with them, that they love them unconditionally and support them and really root for them and cheer them on in anything that they decide that they want to do, as long as it’s positive, productive.”
Wahlberg drew from his own connections with his kids when it came time to build the on-screen relationship between Bell and his son, Jadin.
“I really felt that as a parent — more than as an actor or producer — having four children and I have now a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl,” he said back in July, “and I just felt like diving right in wanting to really understand who Joe was, wanting to make sure that the family knew what our intentions were because it’s obviously an overwhelming amount of responsibility when telling a story like this and knowing how would it affect [Bell’s widow] Lola, how would it affect [Jadin’s brother] Joseph?”
“Hopefully it would maybe bring some healing and, more importantly, prevent other families from having to go through the same thing,” added Wahlberg.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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