Mark Wahlberg is a force to be reckoned with. One of the few entertainers who successfully made the transition from teen pop sensation to respected actor, he continues to light up the big screen in a diversity of roles. But what makes Wahlberg so fascinating isn’t just his Hollywood accolades, it’s his story.

Wahlberg had a troubled past. Due to the circumstances of his young life, Mark Wahlberg dropped out of school at age 13. He sold drugs, was involved in gang life and was charged with attempted murder which led him to a two-year prison sentence. This period of forced him to reflect on his life and it ultimately led to an incredible transformation. Years later, at age 42, he completed his high school education not only for himself but also for his children.

Mark Wahlberg has never shied away from talking about the importance of faith and family.  In fact, Wahlberg has said that faith is the important aspect of his life. He has been open about how God and faith helped him overcome life’s toughest obstacles. He has also shared how life changed for the better when he focused on prayer and his faith. Now, the first thing he does before he starts his day is get down on his hands and knees and gives thanks to God.

Faith and family are the two most important factors in his life. The theme of adoption and his love of faith and family drew him to playing the role of Pete Wagner in the new movie, “Instant Family.” While the film isn’t faith-based, it gave him insight to what children in the foster system go through in addition to the battles they face.

Director Sean Anders had talked to him about the idea of making the movie during the beginning of “Daddy’s Home 2 but at the time, it was just an idea. Wahlberg was immediately on board once he knew the idea was turning into a film reality.

“Every time I talked to [Sean], even before I got the actual script it always got emotional,” Wahlberg said. “Being a parent and knowing how difficult it can be for children in the foster care system, it was always very emotional for me. Once I read the script, I laughed hysterically and cried a bit too.”

While there are some sensitive issues and tricky subjects touched on the movies, it handles them well because they’re honest about them. In addition to highlighting the light-hearted aspects of foster care, the film also addresses the harsh, the ugly and the sad realities too, but in a very real and honest way.

Being a father really helped him relate not only to his character but also the children in the film.

“The dynamic is different both on camera and off camera. You can’t help creating a great bond with kids in the movie on and off screen. And as we got through the shoot it’s one of those things where you feel this real connection.”

Wahlberg also admits, “Isabella sounds like my daughter with the attitude and the back talk and everything. It’s been a weird thing for me because I have a 14-year-old at home and there’s a lot going on. So to have this now going on in the film with Lizzy and the outfits and the whole thing, it just starts to hit close to home.”

During the movie, Wahlberg learned quite a bit about the foster care process but still felt like he could have learned more, he said.

“I’ve learned quite a bit about adoption having been a part of the process, but not enough,” admits Wahlberg. “There are a lot of wonderful children in need of families.”

“Being a family is very wonderful and rewarding thing but it can be very difficult and trying at times with adoptive children as with your biological children,” Wahlberg said. “The ultimate goal and reward is coming together in love; it’s a beautiful thing.”

In a recent interview, Wahlberg said, “Just like the movie, this couple brings in three beautiful kids. And there is this kind of honeymoon period. And then there’s this very difficult time when reality sets in. But ultimately, they fall madly in love with each other. And they want to fight for these kids. There’s nothing more important than faith and family.”

Faith is so important to Wahlberg that he even said in a recent interview that in New York on a Saturday evening he much rather go to church than go see a Broadway Show.

Wahlberg said, “I’ve been very blessed and very fortunate. And it’s because of the focus that I put on my faith and on my family that have allowed me to accomplish so many things.”