Mark Wahlberg on the Gamble to Clear His Name

by 3:38 PM PST, December 15, 2014
Playing Mark Wahlberg on the Gamble to Clear His Name

ET sat down with Mark Wahlberg in a one-on-one interview as he seeks to be pardoned for his 1988 assault conviction.

The conviction stems from an incident in which a 16-year-old Wahlberg was allegedly high and drunk and attempted to steal two cases of alcohol from a convenience store in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. During the alleged attempted theft, Wahlberg struck Johnny Trinh in the head so badly that he was thought to have been blinded by the blow. The incident landed Wahlberg 45 days in jail.

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Last week, Trinh told Mail Online that he has forgiven Wahlberg, saying, "Everyone deserves another chance."

"I was not blinded by Mark Wahlberg," Trinh explained. "He did hurt me, but my left eye was already gone. He was not responsible for that."

Wahlberg tells us that Trinh's revelation came as a relief to him.

"First and foremost, I'm grateful that my prayers were answered that he would be able to forgive me," Wahlberg told ET. "And second of all, the weight off of my shoulders for thinking for 27 years that I caused this horrific injury, and knowing that it wasn't because of that incident. But it still doesn't take away from the fact that I was reckless. Unfortunately, if it was my own mother that was coming out of that store -- in [my] drunken and drugged state -- that's what would have happened, and that's not a good place to be. That scares me more than anything."

Today, Wahlberg is a different man after becoming one of the most respected actors and producers in Hollywood who has also given upwards of $10 million to help troubled kids.

In his latest film, The Gambler, Wahlberg plays English professor and high-stakes gambler, Jim Bennett. When Bennett borrows money from a gangster, offering his own life as collateral, he must stay one step ahead by pitting his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring.

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In real life Wahlberg neither gambles nor did he ever go to college.

"I take risks, like making this movie after Transformers was a risk, but it's a risk that I welcome," said Wahlberg, who received his high school diploma last year. "To put my hand in my pocket after working as hard as I do and go to a casino and, you know, the luck of the draw, the flip of a card? No, I don't do that."

The Gambler opens Christmas Day.