Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington is best known for his roles in "Glory," "The Preacher's Wife," "Remember the Titans" and "Training Day." Although the Hollywood A-lister has recently been sharing his faith openly at public speaking engagements, he reveals why he never became a preacher.
In an interview with ABC News for his film, "The Magnificent Seven," Washington sits down for a 30 minute chat in which he talks about his upbringing. He explained that his father was a minister so they were never exposed to Westerns films like the one he now stars in. Instead the only movies Washington recalled seeing as a child were the Bible epics, "King of Kings" and "The Ten Commandments."
Washington's father was a Pentecostal preacher who was a pastor belonging to the Church of God in Christ denomination for 60 years.
When asked if he was a good kid, he said although his dad was a minister, he was "mischievous." The accomplished filmmaker revealed that his three closest friends at the time all have done time in prison, being incarcerated for decades. Thankfully his mother sent him into a private school and he accredits that to helping him avoid getting into greater trouble.
Going to church for Washington felt "like a job" so it turned him away from wanting to follow in his father's footsteps. He did however admit that he contemplated it but chose not to go that career path.
"You had to go at night, you had to go in the afternoon," he told ABC. "I rejected it in my early teen years, working stuff out."
There were a few other professions he did try out but nothing stuck until he finally pursued acting in college at Fordham University.
"I was actually pre-med. I thought, 'You go to college, be a doctor.' Then, I went into political science, pre-law ... I found out I wasn't doctor material, I found out I wasn't lawyer material, then I started studying journalism," Washington said of his journey before acting.
Although he did not become a pastor, Washington has become quite the motivational speaker in recent years. The New York native's words first made headlines when he appeared as the guest speaker for Dillard University's graduating class in spring of 2015. Instead of delivering the standard "the world is your oyster" speech, Washington encouraged graduates to "put God first."
"There's never been a time where God didn't direct, protect, and correct me," Washington passionately attested. "There may have been times where I was less than faithful to him, but he had faith in me."
The 61-year-old has maintained his Christian faith throughout his successful mainstream career and has not shied away from sharing it, publicly saying that he reads the Bible every day.
Washington expressed similar sentiments about his faith at the Church of God in Christ's annual "We Care" Charities Banquet in St. Louis, Missouri last November, where he testified of God's faithfulness, even when he has fallen short.
While onstage at the "We Care" event, Washington vowed that from that point on in his life he would make a conscious effort to "get up and speak about what God has done" for him.
"Give thanks for blessings every day. Every day. Embrace gratitude. Encourage others. It is impossible to be grateful and hateful at the same time," he shared.
The member of Los Angeles Church of God in Christ has now also made popular a public prayer that he frequently uses when speaking to groups.
"I pray that you put your slippers way under your bed at night, so that when you wake in the morning you have to start on your knees to find them. And while you're down there, say 'thank you,'" Washington implored.
View Washington's full ABC News interview below.