Mark Wahlberg: Being a parent is the most important role

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By Ree Hines

Forget the tough guy talk! Actor Mark Wahlberg was all about the parenthood and potty talk during his Monday morning visit to TODAY.

Sure, he may be best known for his action and intrigue characters, like his part in the upcoming heist thriller "Contraband," but as it turns out, those roles aren't the vital ones as far as Wahlberg's concerned. He prefers to focus on his daddy duties.

"Usually my youngest son wakes me up about 5:30, (and) drags me out of the bed," the father of four said of his typical day-off routine. "He wears a pull-up, but he doesn't like to pee in it. So I got to help him get the pull-up off to go to the bathroom. Then will sit down and watch cartoons and get a snack, and wait for the other kids to get up. The two boys like to beat me up, to put their masks on and beat me up. And then it's just a whole day with the kids."

Which means basketball, karate, skateboarding -- the usual stuff, the important stuff.

"If I succeed as a businessman but fail as a father, then it's all been for nothing," Wahlberg said. "That's by far the most important role that I'll ever play in my life -- being a parent and being a husband."

It's a role he's always working hard to perfect. And one that takes constant vigilance.  

"When my son says to me, 'Daddy, go out of the room. I want to watch this by myself,' I know he's up to something," Wahlberg explained. "So I'll walk out one door and come around the other way, and he's on the counter trying to grab the scissors or the knife. He got a hold of his antibiotics and ate three of them. Of course, I go into a panic attack and call the pediatrician, who's on vacation, and he says, 'Don't worry. The worst he'll get is diarrhea. He'll be fine.' And I'm like, 'What are you doing?' 'They taste good, Daddy.' Cause they're chewable. My youngest son is the one I really have to watch."

But Wahlberg wants his kids to keep an eye on him, too. In particular, he wants them to get a good look at (and get a lesson from) a painful process he's currently putting himself through -- the removal of a half-dozen tattoos.

"(The tattoos) all have meaning to me, but you know it's both personal and professional," the actor told TODAY host Matt Lauer. "I don't want to have my kids getting tattoos.... I’m taking my two oldest kids with me to the procedure, where they can see how painful that is."

That's one way to keep them from following dad's tattooed tradition.

See Wahlberg's on-screen take on fatherhood -- as well as his take on smuggling counterfeit money -- when "Contraband" opens nationwide Friday, Jan. 13.

What do you think of the Hollywood dad's not-so-Hollywood approach to parenthood? Share your comments below.


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