Actor Neal McDonough admits that putting God and family first has been hard on his career in Hollywood.
Known for his heroic roles in “Band of Brothers” and “Flags of Our Fathers,” and villainous parts in “Red 2,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Justified,” McDonough said in an interview with Closer Weekly his refusal to do love scenes cost him a job on the prime-time soap “Scoundrels” in 2010.
“I won’t kiss any other woman because these lips are meant for one woman,” he said of his wife, Ruvé Robertson.
They have five children, ranging in age from 4 to 13.
McDonough, 52, said he identifies with the Air Force general he plays in the History Channel series “Project Blue Book,” premiering Tuesday, who “totally believes the U.S. is the greatest country ever, as do I.”
“My dad came over from Ireland and walked straight into the Army office and said, ‘Make me an American,’ and they shipped him overseas for five years,” McDonough said. “That’s deeply in my blood, so when I get to play guys like I did in ‘Band of Brothers’ or ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ who bleed red, white and blue, it’s great for me.”
He said it was love at first sight when he met Ruvé, and after nearly 20 years they’ve had “one heck of an awesome life … to have her as my partner in everything.”
“I’m just the most blessed guy I know. That’s why I go to church every day and say thank you to God for everything he’s given me,” said McDonough, a Catholic. “And most importantly, thank you for giving me Ruvé, because without her, I most certainly would not be talking with you right now.”
Closer Weekly asked how he has managed to avoid doing love scenes, especially on shows like “Desperate Housewives.”
“When [creator] Marc Cherry signed me, I said, ‘I’m sure you know, but I won’t kiss anybody.” 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.”
His no-sex-scenes stance, however, got him fired from “Scoundrels.”
“I was, and it was a horrible situation for me. After that, I couldn’t get a job because everybody thought I was this religious zealot,” McDonough recalled.
“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. Then [‘Band of Brothers’ producer] Graham Yost called me and said, ‘Hey, I want you to be the bad guy on Justified.’ I knew that was my shot back at the title.”
He said he thought his acting “got so much better because I really appreciated it.”
“I took a shot on the chin, but I was not going to lose the fight. And it worked,” the actor said. “My career has been phenomenal ever since.”
Along with playing the general in “Project Blue Book,” he will join Kevin Costner’s drama “Yellowstone” next season.
And he has six movies coming up. He has co-starred in some major Hollywood productions, including “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise and “Captain America: The First Avenger” with Chris Evans.
What drives McDonough to work so hard?
“Because I have to. That’s what I’m supposed to do,” he told Closer Weekly.
“God gave me this talent of being an actor, and I’m not going to waste it. That’s just who I am. I love working, and with five kids and a fantastic wife, I want to make sure I’m taking care of everyone. That’s what my dad did, and that’s what I’m going to do.”