Born Jennifer Ann McCarthy
November 1, 1972 (age 43)
Chicago, Illinois U.S.
Occupation Actress, comedienne, model, author, activist, talk show host, screenwriter
Years active 1993–present
John Mallory Asher (m. 1999–2005)
Donnie Wahlberg (m. 2014)
Partner(s) Jim Carrey (2005–10)
Melissa McCarthy (cousin)
Joanne McCarthy (sister)
Mark Wahlberg (brother-in law)
Robert Wahlberg (brother-in-law)
Joyce Bulifant (ex-mother-in-law)
Jennifer Ann “Jenny” McCarthy-Wahlberg (born November 1, 1972) is an American model, television host, comedienne, actress, author, screenwriter and anti-vaccine activist. She began her career in 1993 as a nude model for Playboy magazine and was later named their Playmate of the Year. McCarthy then parlayed her Playboy fame into a television and film acting career. She is a former co-host of the ABC talk show The View.
McCarthy has written books about parenting and has become an activist promoting research into environmental causes and alternative medical treatments for autism. She has promoted the idea that vaccines cause autism and that chelation therapy helped cure her son of autism. Both claims are unsupported by medical consensus, and her son’s autism diagnosis has been questioned. McCarthy has been described as “the nation’s most prominent purveyor of anti-vaxxer ideology”, but she has denied the charge, stating: “I am not anti-vaccine”.
McCarthy grew up in Evergreen Park, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) and South West Chicago. She was born to a working-class Catholic family, and has Irish, German, and Polish ancestry. She lived in the West Elsdon neighborhood of Chicago. She is the second of four daughters; her sisters are named Lynette, Joanne, and Amy. Actress Melissa McCarthy is her cousin. McCarthy’s mother, Linda, was a housewife and courtroom custodian, and her father, Dan McCarthy, was a steel mill foreman.
As a teenager, McCarthy attended Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School (whose school sweater she donned in the pages of Playboy) and was a cheerleader at both Brother Rice High School and St. Laurence High School, although she has referred to herself as an “outcast” at her school and has stated she was repeatedly bullied by classmates. She spent two years at Southern Illinois University.
McCarthy dated manager Ray Manzella from 1994 until 1998 and began dating actor/director John Mallory Asher late in 1998. The couple became engaged in January 1999 and married on September 11 of that year. They have a son, Evan Joseph Asher, born on May 18, 2002, who was diagnosed with autism on May 10, 2005. McCarthy and Asher divorced in September 2005.
In December 2005, McCarthy began dating actor Jim Carrey. They did not make their relationship public until June 2006. She announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 2, 2008 that she and Carrey were living together but had no plans to marry, as they did not need a “piece of paper”. Carrey almost made a mock proposal to McCarthy as a promotion to the film Yes Man (2008) for Ellen’s Twelve Days of Holidays. In April 2010, McCarthy and Carrey announced that they had split up.
In July 2013, McCarthy stated that she was dating Donnie Wahlberg. On April 16, 2014 McCarthy announced live on The View that she and Wahlberg were engaged, and they wed on August 31, 2014.