Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg (born June 5, 1971) is an American actor, producer, businessman, and former model and rapper. He was known as Marky Mark in his earlier years, becoming famous for his 1991 debut as frontman with the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Wahlberg later transitioned to acting, appearing in films such as the drama Boogie Nights and the satirical war-comedy Three Kings during the 1990s. In the 2000s, he starred in the biographical disaster drama The Perfect Storm, the science fiction film Planet of the Apes, and the Martin Scorsese-directed neo-noir crime drama The Departed, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In the 2010s, he starred in the action-comedy The Other Guys alongside Will Ferrell, the biographical sports drama The Fighter, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination, the comedy Ted, the war film Lone Survivor, and the sci-fi action film Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Wahlberg has also served as executive producer of four HBO series: the period crime drama Boardwalk Empire (2009–14), as well as the comedy-dramas Entourage (2004–11), How to Make It in America (2010–11), and Ballers, which stars Dwayne Johnson and premiered in June 2015. He is co-owner of the Wahlburgers chain and co-stars in the reality TV series about it. Wahlberg received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 29, 2010.
Wahlberg was born in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of nine children, including actor Robert and actor-singer Donnie. His mother, Alma, was a bank clerk and a nurse’s aide, and his father, Donald E. Wahlberg, was a delivery driver. His parents divorced in 1982 and from that moment he divided his time between them. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother is of Irish, English, and French Canadian ancestry Maternally, Wahlberg is distantly related to author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Wahlberg had a Roman Catholic upbringing and attended Copley Square High School (but never graduated) on Newbury Street in Boston. He received his high school diploma in June 2013.
During his youth, Wahlberg was in trouble 20–25 times with the Boston Police Department. By age 13, Wahlberg had developed an addiction to cocaine and other substance, At 15, civil action was filed against him for his involvement in two separate incidents of harassing African-American children (the first were siblings, and the second incident was a group of black school children on a field trip), by throwing rocks and shouting racial epithets. At 16, Wahlberg approached a middle-aged Vietnamese man named Thanh Lam on the street and, using a large wooden stick, knocked him unconscious while calling him a “Vietnam fucking shit”. That same day Wahlberg also attacked a second Vietnamese man named Hoa “Johnny” Trinh, punching him in the face. He believed he had left his victim permanently blind in one eye. Trinh was interviewed in December 2014 by the Daily Mail, who revealed that he had already lost that eye during the Vietnam War, and did not know the identity of his assailant prior to being contacted by the media. According to court documents regarding these crimes, when Wahlberg was arrested later that night and returned to the scene of the first assault, he stated to police officers: “You don’t have to let him identify me, I’ll tell you now that’s the motherfucker who’s (sic) head In open Investigators also noted that he “made numerous unsolicited racial statements about ‘gooks’ and ‘slant-eyed gooks’.”
For these crimes, Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to two years in Suffolk County Deer Island House of Correction. He ultimately served only 45 days of his sentence, but carries a permanent felony record. In another incident, the 21-year-old Wahlberg fractured the jaw of a neighbor in an unprovoked attack. Commenting in 2006 on his past crimes, Wahlberg has stated: “I did a lot of things that I regret, and I have certainly paid for my mistakes.” He said the right thing to do would be to try to find the blinded man and make amends, and admitted he has not done so, but added that he was no longer burdened by guilt: “You have to go and ask for forgiveness and it wasn’t until I really started doing good and doing right by other people, as well as myself, that I really started to feel that guilt go away. So I don’t have a problem going to sleep at night. I feel good when I wake up in the morning.”
After prison, he decided to improve his behavior. Of this he has said,
“As soon as I began that life of crime, there was always a voice in my head telling me I was going to end up in jail. Three of my brothers had done time. My sister went to prison so many times I lost count. Finally I was there, locked up with the kind of guys I’d always wanted to be like. Now I’d earned my stripes and I was just like them, and I realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all. I’d ended up in the worst place I could possibly imagine and I never wanted to go back. First of all, I had to learn to stay on the straight and narrow.”
Wahlberg first relied on the guidance of his parish priest to turn his back on crime. He told his street gang that he was leaving them and had “some serious fights
In the early 1990s, Wahlberg dated former child actress Soleil Moon Frye. Wahlberg has been in a relationship with model Rhea Durham since 2001 and they were married on August 1, 2009 at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, The couple have four children, two sons and two daughters. In a 2011 interview with USA Weekend, Wahlberg stated that he had taken his children to visit his old Dorchester neighborhood: “I want them to know that not everyone is as fortunate and how important it is to work hard and give back.”
Wahlberg’s father, a US Army veteran of the Korean War, died on February 14, 2008.
In 2012, Wahlberg was quoted in a magazine interview regarding what would have happened if he had flown aboard American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11, 2001. He had been booked on Flight 11, but his plans changed the day before the scheduled flight and he cancelled his reservation. Wahlberg received public criticism for stating “If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did”, and “There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, ‘OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry'”. Wahlberg issued a public apology after family members of those killed on the flight expressed outrage for his statements.
He is a committed Roman Catholic, and attends church daily.