Wahlberg explained, “I was a young kid, and I was a follower. I've been working for 27 years to right the wrongs that I've done and the mistakes that I'd made as a child.”
The father of four added, “The day I woke up in prison, I had to ask, ‘Do I want to continue to be a follower or do I want to change my life and become a leader?’ And that's what I decided to do. In no way shape or form did I try to use my celebrity or my success to get a part and hopefully it's the hard work I put in with inner-city kids and the philanthropic work and the things that I've done as a man and the growth I've had, that I'll be able to receive that. And if not, it won't change how hard I've worked and continue to grow as a person and make a real impact on kids growing up in situations like the one I grew up in."
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese man Wahlberg assaulted as a teenager has come forward to say he forgives the actor for punching him in 1988.
Speaking with MailOnline, Johnny Trinh said he is happy for Wahlberg to be given a pardon. “He was young and reckless, but I forgive him now. Everyone deserves another chance. He should not have the crime hanging over him any longer.”
Trinh also explained it wasn’t Wahlberg who blinded him in one eye. He received that injury while fighting the Communists in the Vietnam War. “I was not blinded by Mark Wahlberg. He did hurt me, but my left eye was already gone. He was not responsible for that.”
Read more of Trinh’s interview at MailOnline.com.
“The Gambler” opens in theaters Christmas Day.