Feature

Wahlberg’s narrow escape

When he was 16, Mark Wahlberg served 45 days of a two-year sentence in an adult prison.

Mark Wahlberg’s life could have ended up quite different, said Christopher Goodwin in the London Times. The actor, 39, grew up the youngest of nine in working-class South Boston, and seemed destined for jail. At 13, he was already freebasing cocaine, mugging people with knives, and beating up cashiers in small stores.  “I didn’t know any different,’’ he says. “It wasn’t like we had all these great examples to look up to, all these success stories to go out and try and emulate. Even though 20 minutes away are some of the best universities in the world, nobody I knew ever went to college.”

He saw the inside of prison at age 10, while visiting one of his brothers. “But I wasn’t thinking, ‘God, I want to make sure I’m here one day.’” Yet that’s precisely what happened. When he was 16, while high on PCP, he hit a man coming out of a liquor store with a hooked stick. “The hook hit him in the eye and the temple. He lost the eye.” Wahlberg served 45 days of a two-year sentence in an adult prison. The experience scared him straight. “From the first moment I walked in the door, the strip searches, the fights. You figure that’s not what life is supposed to be about.”

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