“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.
Mark Wahlberg Facts
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.
2. Going His Own Way
Wahlberg developed an addiction to cocaine and other substances by 13, and had dropped out of high school when he was 14.
3. Quite the Record
Not only did he rack up almost 25 incident reports with Boston police as a teenager, Wahlberg had a civil action lawsuit filed against him when he was 15 for harassing African-American children.
4. Life Behind Bars
At 16, Wahlberg faced attempted murder charges for violently assaulting a man. Wahlberg would plead guilty to the charges, and spent 45 days of a two-year term in prison.
5. Forever a Felon
Wahlberg sought a full pardon for this felony, 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.”
6. It Runs in the Family
Wahlberg wasn’t the first of his siblings to go to jail. Three brothers and one sister also spent time behind bars.
7. Loss of a Patriarch
A veteran of the Korean War, Mark’s father Donald E. Wahlberg Sr., passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2008.
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.
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.
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.
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.
12. Third Nipple’s the Charm?
Wahlberg has three nipples. Yup, three. Although it isn’t that big, the nipple has to be digitally airbrushed out of some movies and modeling campaigns. For those wondering, the scientific name for a third nipple is “supernumerary nipple.” Now this article is educational.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
20. Spreading His Interests
Wahlberg has equity in the Barbados Tridents, a cricket team in the Caribbean Premier League.
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.
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).
23. Birth And Death
Mark’s sister Deborah passed away the same day his daughter Ella Rae was born. Deborah suffered a heart attack while being treated for a suspected kidney stone.
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.
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.
26. Walk All Over Him
Wahlberg received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 29, 2010.
Wahlberg is the highest paid actor of 2017 as of August, earning $68 million.
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.
29. Gotta Have Faith
Wahlberg is a devout Roman Catholic and attends daily mass, although he supports same-sex marriage despite the views of the Church.
30. Political Opinions
Wahlberg is a Democrat, and openly threw his support behind Barack Obama during Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign.
31. An Interesting Dedication
Wahlberg penned a memoir in 1992, aptly title Marky Mark. He dedicated the book to his penis, an action he says he now regrets but thought was funny at the time.
32. Eye Candy
In 1992, People magazine named Wahlberg one of the world’s 50 Most Beautiful People.
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.
34. Taking Care of Mom
Wahlberg moved his mother into a $5 million mansion he bought in Beverly Hills in 2001.
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.
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.
Twenty-eight years after Wahlberg was arrested 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 crime hanging over him any longer.”
Trinh also said, “He paid for his crime when he went to prison. 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.”
38. A Life-Altering Last-Minute Decision
Wahlberg was supposed to be on the plane that hit the North Tower of the World Trade Centre on 9/11. Instead, he and his friends opted to attend a Canadian film festival before heading onto Los Angeles.