Facts About Mark Wahlberg

October 22, 2023 | Miles Brucker

Facts About Mark Wahlberg

"I've always looked at my career as an athlete would look at his. I won't play forever. Some don't know when to walk away, but the smart ones do." —Mark Wahlberg

It's no secret that Mark Wahlberg had a less-than stellar upbringing, but he managed to turn his life around to become a star in action, comedic, and dramatic films alike. Here are 42 facts about Marky Mark.

1. All In The Family

Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg was born the youngest of nine children to Donald and Alma on June 5, 1971 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mark Wahlberg facts

2. Going His Own Way

Wahlberg developed an addiction to substances that are not permitted  by 13, and had dropped out of high school when he was 14.

Mark Wahlberg facts Getty Images

3. Quite The Record

Not only did he rack up almost 25 incident reports with Boston authorities as a teenager, Wahlberg had a civil action lawsuit filed against him when he was 15 for harassing African-American children.

Mark Wahlberg facts Getty Images

4. Life Behind Bars           

At 16, Wahlberg faced attempted to take someone's life charges for violently assaulting a man. Wahlberg would plead guilty to the charges, and spent 45 days of a two-year term in correctional facility.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

5. Forever A Felon

Wahlberg sought a full pardon for this offence, something even his victim was in support of, but the petition was closed in 2016 after he neglected to follow up with the parole board to keep it open. Wahlberg later said that he regretted applying for the pardon. “I didn’t need that, I spent 28 years righting the wrong. I didn’t need a piece of paper to acknowledge it. I was kind of pushed into doing it, I certainly didn’t need to or want to relive that stuff over again."

His primary motive for applying was to pursue a concessionaire’s license in California for Wahlburgers, a successful burger chain, and to be able to work with law enforcement to help at-risk youth.

He added, “I have not engaged in philanthropic efforts in order to make people forget about my past. To the contrary, I want people to remember my past so that I can serve as an example of how lives can be turned around and how people can be redeemed."

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

6. It Runs In The Family

Wahlberg wasn't the first of his siblings to go to correctional facility. Three brothers and one sister also spent time behind bars.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

7. Loss Of A Patriarch

A veteran of the Korean conflict, Mark's father Donald E. Wahlberg Sr., passed on Valentine’s Day in 2008.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

8. Good Genes

Wahlberg is a distant relative of author Nathaniel Hawthorne on his mother's side. He's also a distant relative of Madonna and Celine Dion.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

9. Not The New Kid On The Block

You may recognize Mark's older brother Donnie, who is best known for being a member of New Kids on the Block. Mark was an original member of the group for three months, but he ended up quitting; Joey McIntyre would take Mark's place as the fifth member of the popular boy band.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

10. A Rapper Is Born

Donnie helped Mark with the producing and hip-hop arrangements for Mark's own projects, and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch was born. Their debut album, Music for the People, was released in 1991, and saw much success from their single “Good Vibrations". The album went platinum.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

11. He’s Too Sexy For His Clothes

During this early period, Wahlberg signed a two-year contract with Calvin Klein underwear, becoming well-known as the face of the brand.

Mark Wahlberg factsFlickr, Phillip Pessar

12. Third Nip’s The Charm?

Wahlberg has three teats. Yup, three. Although it isn't that big, it has to be digitally airbrushed out of some movies and modeling campaigns. 

Mark Wahlberg factsWikimedia Commons

13. Renaissance Man

Wahlberg made the switch from rapping and modeling to acting when he was 22, beginning his film career alongside Danny DeVito in 1994’s Renaissance Man.

Mark Wahlberg factsRenaissance Man (1994), Touchstone Pictures

14. Recognition 

Wahlberg would work with DiCaprio again in 2006's The Departed, for which he would also receive his first Academy Award nomination. Wahlberg has said that his Departed role is among those he is most proud of.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

15. Friends In High Places

Wahlberg has also starred alongside George Clooney in multiple films: Three Kings in 1999 and The Perfect Storm in 2000.

2017 MTV Movie And TV Awards - ShowGetty Images

16. The Producer

In 2010, Wahlberg signed up to star in and co-produce 2010’s The Boxer, which was based on real-life boxer Mickey Ward. The film would earn a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards.

Mark Wahlberg factsThe Fighter (2010), Mandeville Films

17. Small Screen Dreams

Wahlberg took his producing skills from the big screen to television, serving as executive producer for Entourage, Boardwalk Empire, and In Treatment.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

18. Life Story

Entourage is actually loosely based on Wahlberg's early Hollywood years, and he has appeared on the show a number of times as himself.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

19. Feeding The Masses

Wahlberg's older brother Paul is the head chef at Wahlburgers, the family’s restaurant in Hingham, Massachusetts. Wahlburgers is also the name of the reality show Mark stars in alongside Paul and Donnie about running of the restaurant.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

20. Spreading His Interests

Wahlberg has equity in the Barbados Tridents, a cricket team in the Caribbean Premier League.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

21. A True Sportsman

Wahlberg is a huge sports fan in general. He cheers for every major team in Boston: the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

22. The Wahlberg Clan

Wahlberg married Rhea Durham in 2009. They have four children together: Ella Rae (born 2003), Michael (born 2006), Brendan Joseph (born 2008) and Grace Margaret (born 2010).

Safe Kids Day Presented By Nationwide.Getty Images

23. Birth And End

Mark's sister Deborah lost her life the same day his daughter Ella Rae was born. Deborah suffered a heart attack while being treated for a suspected kidney stone.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

24. Cleaning Up His Image

Wahlberg is in the process of removing his four tattoos. Among them are Tweety Bird on his ankle and Bob Marley on his left shoulder.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

25. For The Kids

The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation was founded in 2001 by Wahlberg and his brother James. The mission of the Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for inner city youth while working with other youth organizations.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

26. Walk All Over Him

Wahlberg received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 29, 2010.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

27. Tops

Wahlberg is the highest paid actor of 2017 as of August, earning $68 million.

Mark Wahlberg factsShutterstock

28. Friends In High Places

Wahlberg is good friends with Will Ferrell. They’ve starred together in 2010’s The Other Guys, and 2015’s Daddy’s Home. The sequel Daddy’s Home 2 releases later in 2017.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

29. Gotta Have Faith

Wahlberg is a devout Roman Catholic and attends daily mass, although he supports same-gender marriage despite the views of the Church.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

30. Political Opinions 

Wahlberg is a Democrat, and openly threw his support behind Barack Obama during Obama's 2012 presidential re-election campaign.

LEAP Foundation - Mark WahlbergGetty Images

31. An Interesting Dedication

Wahlberg penned a memoir in 1992, aptly title Marky Mark. He dedicated the book to his intimate part, an action he says he now regrets but thought was funny at the time.

'The Basketball Diaries' - New York PremiereGetty Images

32. Eye Candy

In 1992, People magazine named Wahlberg one of the world’s 50 Most Beautiful People.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

33. One Man’s Loss

Joey McIntyre isn’t the only one who benefited from a Wahlberg dropping out of a project: Matt Damon earned the role of Linus Caldwell in Ocean’s Eleven after Wahlberg stepped aside; the role Wahlberg turned down in the 2005 horror film Feast went to Eric Dane; and Ethan Hawke took over Wahlberg's leading role in the 2005 version of Assault on Precinct 13.

Mark Wahlberg factsOcean

34. Taking Care Of Mom

Wahlberg moved his mother into a $5 million mansion he bought in Beverly Hills in 2001.

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

35. Taking Care Of Himself

Wahlberg's home features a full-sized boxing ring and a 2,500-square-foot private gym that was made from a converted airport hangar.

Mark Wahlberg factsShutterstock

36. Six Degrees Of Separation

Donnie Wahlberg is married to Jenny McCarthy, who also happens to be cousins with Melissa McCarthy. Mark was unable to attend his brother’s wedding, however, as he was celebrating his daughter Ella’s birthday.

15th Annual Leather & Laces Spectacular.Getty Images

37. Forgiveness

Twenty-eight years after Wahlberg was taken into custody for assault, the victim (Johnny Trinh) actually met Wahlberg face-to-face. Wahlberg, who had recently learned he hadn't blinded Trinh in one eye, was able to apologize.

Johnny Trinh, a veteran who had been partially blinded a decade before while fighting against the Viet Cong in Vietnam, had already forgiven Wahlberg and expressed his support for Wahlberg's pardon. "I would like to see him get a pardon. He should not have the offence hanging over him any longer."

Trinh also said, "He paid for his offence when he went to correctional facility. I am not saying that it did not hurt when he punched me in the face, but it was a long time ago. He has grown up now. I am sure he has his own family and is a responsible man."

Mark Wahlberg factsGetty Images

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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