Hollywood actor Neal McDonough ("Minority Report," "Band of Brothers") has had quite a journey while navigating the murky world of Hollywood life while staying true to his Catholic faith. As a married man and father of five children, McDonough has a strict "no love scene" policy when making film and television, a move he claims has cost him immensely.
Speaking with Closer Weekly, McDonough commented on how he had been jettisoned from the ABC series "Scoundrels” in 2010 for refusing to join in sex scenes with co-star Virginia Madsen, which branded him as a religious zealot in Hollywood for several years.
"I was [surprised], and it was a horrible situation for me," he told the outlet. "After that, I couldn’t get a job because everybody thought I was this religious zealot. I am very religious. I put God and family first, and me second. That’s what I live by. It was hard for a few years."
At the time, McDonough had already been widely known in Hollywood as an actor who refused love scenes, according to Fox News, which had no bearing on his role in "Desperate Housewives."
"When [creator] Marc Cherry signed me, I said, ‘I’m sure you know, but I won’t kiss anybody,’" recalled McDonough. "He was like, ‘But this is ‘Desperate Housewives!’ I said, ‘I know.’ He paused for about five seconds and said, ‘All right, I’m just going to have to write better.’ And we had a great time."
ABC claims McDonough's departure from "Scoundrels" was a simple casting change at the time.
Married in 2003 to model Ruvé Robertson, McDonough has five children and will not even permit himself to kiss another woman onscreen. "I won’t kiss any other woman because these lips are meant for one woman," he told Closer Weekly.
The pair met in England while McDonough was shooting the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers" and have been together since.
"It was St. Patrick’s Day, and we literally bumped into each other on the street, locked eyes and that was it," he explained. "The next morning, I called the woman I was dating at the time and said, ‘I’m sorry, it’s not going to work out with us anymore — I just met the woman I’m going to marry.'"
Nearly 20 years after the fact, McDonough thanks God for the providence of his wife and kids and goes to Mass regularly to show gratitude.
"Almost 20 years, five kids and just one heck of an awesome life later, to have her as my partner in everything, I’m just the most blessed guy I know," said McDonough. "That’s why I go to church every day and say thank you to God for everything he’s given me. And most importantly, thank you for giving me Ruvé, because, without her, I most certainly would not be talking with you right now."
Fortunately, McDonough has since rebounded from the "Scoundrels" departure and currently stars on History Channel's "Project Blue Book," a show about UFO conspiracies between the 1940's and 1970's. The actor proudly stated the show does not clash with his Catholic faith.
"As a devout Catholic, I believe certain things," said McDonough. "Who are we as human beings on this planet to say that God might not have plans in other places? To think it’s just us is a bit myopic. If you believe in spirits, why can’t you believe there might be extraterrestrials? Who knows?"
McDonough has no regrets for the choices he made. "I took a shot on the chin, but I was not going to lose the fight," he said. "And it worked. My career has been phenomenal ever since."
Actor Mark Wahlberg, another Catholic working openly in Hollywood, has previously stated his regrets over choosing past roles that misalign with his newfound faith.