Despite coming from a low-income family, famed movie star Mark Wahlberg has fond memories from his childhood. He was a troubled teenager who ended up in jail.
In a Q&A with People in August 2010, actor Mark Wahlberg answered some personal questions and reflected on his upbringing. Wahlberg comes from a large extended family with nine children.
He shared his memories of their humble Christmas home, and said that while they weren’t wealthy, his parents ensured that they had the best holidays.
Donnie Wahlberg with Alma Elaine Wahlberg, Paul Wahlberg, and Mark Wahlberg at the Hingham Shipyard’s grand opening on October 24, 2011, in Boston, Massachusetts. / Source: Getty Images
“I have so many memories of all of us being together in that little house. But Christmas time was particularly amazing. My parents didn’t have much when we were growing up, but they always did what they could to make sure they gave us a great Christmas,” said Wahlberg.
He said that his parents were always able to make difficult situations joyful and enjoyable. During his appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in February 2022, Wahlberg came out sporting a mustache that was his first in public.
The Boston native said that he was prepping for a movie and that the mustache was part his role. Wahlberg also revealed that his siblings thought the look was a reminder of their father.
Wahlberg’s father, Donald, was a delivery driver and abandoned the family when he was only ten years old, leaving his mother, Alma, to care for their nine children.
The “Ted” star was the youngest of the siblings, and after his dad left, Wahlberg’s life took a turn for the worst. He was convinced that he would be happy if he did not engage in criminal activities such as car theft and robberies. In an interview with The Sun, he admitted:
“I was jealous of the kids who went to private school. I thought if you wore one of those uniforms, you would have a different life without all the trouble.”
When Wahlberg was 12, he started sneaking out of his bedroom window and staying out all night. By the time he was 13 or 14 years old, he had dropped out school. He recounted the influence he had from his brothers:
“My older brothers taught me how to get high when I was ten and gave me a couple of beers.”
The producer revealed many of his family members were now in AA but did not blame them for his actions. Wahlberg was either 13 or 15 years old when he began to use cocaine.
He explained his rebellious behavior, saying that he was always trying to impress people older than him, “Being the youngest and smallest and the most eager, I was always trying to impress the older guys,” Wahlberg stated.
At age sixteen, the “Uncharted” star was part of a gang, and when he was high on drugs, he attempted to rob an off-license and assaulted the shopkeeper, which landed him in jail for 45 days. Of the experience, Wahlberg revealed:
“Three of my brothers had done time, and 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, and I realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all.”
Walhberg said he had ended up in the worst place he could imagine and, from that point, never wanted to go back again. Thankfully, by the time he got out of jail, his brother Donnie was already setting an example of a better future.
As a singer in New Kids On The Block’s boy band, he was a star. As an older brother, the songwriter helped his younger sibling turn his life around for the better and assisted him with starting his own hip-hop group, Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch.
FINDING LOVE WITH WIFE RHEA DURHAM
After accumulating success, Wahlberg met his soulmate, whom he immediately fell in love with, Rhea Durham. The couple first crossed paths in New York City when he was doing press conferences, Wahlberg told People:
“I asked her if she wanted to come out with me, and she said yes. Then I asked her if she wanted to come to church with me the next morning, and she said yes again.”
The lovebirds had their first date at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Walhberg stated that he knew Durham was his one and only after that date he realized that he needed to be a better man.
Wahlberg shared that he owes much of his life to his wife. They helped him become the man and made their lives wonderful for themselves and their four children. The Hollywood leading man divulged that he knew that Durham genuinely loved him for him:
“I also knew that she loved me for who I am and that she was someone I could trust. Until I met her, I wasn’t ready to have a family.”
Haunted by his dark past, Wahlberg feared he would not be able to provide his kids the stability that he missed out on as a child. He said that a man must have the right woman in their life, and that they should feel that they will be together for a long period of time.
He reiterated his point by stating that it was important to have the right woman in your life, especially if you plan on having children. Wahlberg also shared that Durham wanted to be a mother. Even though she had a demanding job, her heart desired to be a parent and spouse, revealing:
“We share the same values. Obviously, the physical attraction was there, but that’s not what keeps a couple together.”
Durham and Wahlberg got married in 2009 and welcomed sons Michael and Brendan and daughters Ella and Grace in their marriage.
As a proud father, Wahlberg is determined to prevent his children from making the same mistakes he made when he was a teenager. In setting a prime example for his brood, the “Infinite” star returned to school at 42 to get a diploma, meaning he completed high school.
Wahlberg mentioned that it would be hypocritical of him to tell his kids to go to school and get an education because he never finished his studies. “They’d think, ‘You didn’t go, and you turned out all right,'” he said.
When he finally got the nerve to return to school, the businessman said that he studied almost every class he could, even on film sets and on work trips. “Now, I’m officially a high school graduate,” Wahlberg proudly stated.
Wahlberg said raising kids is a challenging but satisfying role. He always tries to teach his brood good values and lead them by example when working hard:
“I always try to instill in them as many positive values as I can and also try to lead by example in terms of working hard and being a good husband who takes his commitment to his family very seriously.”
When asked what he loved most about being a dad, Wahlberg shared his favorite part of being a parent is when all his kids snuggle around him when they watch TV before bedtime, “that’s what I love.”
Wahlberg is a man of faith, and so is his wife. When he’s home, he focuses on taking his family to church. This is a crucial part of their Catholic faith lives.
The family of six devotes 15 minutes each morning to prayer as a family during the week. “It starts the day out right and helps me in every way,” said Wahlberg.
BAFTA Award winner Wahlberg encourages his children and grandchildren to trust their faith, as without it he wouldn’t get where he is today. Wahlberg answered a question about his satisfaction with the dad he is to his kids.
He admitted that he is a softie when it comes to the kids but was pushing himself to be more firm, loving, and nurturing and to protect and teach them while asking for strength from God to be patient.
TRAGEDY STRUCK IN THE FAMILY
Wahlberg sadly lost his mother Alma, the family’s matriarch, in April 2021 at age 78. No details about her death were released at the time of her announcement. The mother of nine was in declining health and suffered from dementia.
Alma, who starred in the family’s reality show, “Wahlburgers,” was a proud parent to Jim, Arthur, Robert, Paul, Donnie, Mark, Tracey, Michelle, and Debbie. When she passed away, her youngest son was in the middle of filming his movie, “Father Stu.”
The “Pain & Gain” star talked about the heart-wrenching experience in an interview with Extra TV in April 2022. Wahlberg described it as a difficult ordeal, while also revealing that his mother was in serious health.
In her last days, he visited her and would keep in touch via FaceTime. Wahlberg was informed by a phone call that his mother had passed away while he was filming. He returned from Los Angeles.
He told Entertainment Tonight that his “Father Stu,” co-star Jacki Weaver who plays his on-screen mother, helped him process the news of Alma’s passing during filming:
“When losing my mom during the film, she was always someone that I could lean on or rely on. To have her there and her support was incredible. She’s a special person.”
Playing a boxer turned priest in the film, Wahlberg’s faith, coupled with his role, helped him with his grief. He said Stu’s ability to handle anything thrown at him with dignity and grace also helped him redirect his focus on good things only and cherish the beautiful memories:
“My mom was so strong even in her most difficult and vulnerable times. She just wanted us to be okay, and if we’re lucky enough to live a long life, we’re going to all deal with tough times.”
Wahlberg flew to his hometown Massachusetts for Alma’s funeral service held at the Saint Teresa Of Calcutta church in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Durham, his wife, was with him. Donnie, his brother, had Jenny McCarthy alongside him as support. After the service, family and friends gathered outside as the “Transformers” star and the “Blue Bloods” actor, including a few other men, carried out their mother’s casket.
AFTER LOSING HIS MOM – WALHBERG VALUED FAMILY MORE
Following the death of his mother, Wahlberg realized the true meaning of family. He began to reconsider his priorities and decided to spend more quality time with his kids and wife. Despite the hectic work schedule, he stated that being a parent is the most difficult job.
The father of four stated that his main goal in life was to raise his kids right. He added that even though he has had success, it wouldn’t mean anything if he lost his fatherhood.
Wahlberg now puts his efforts into making movies and creating content that helps others. He touched on the genre movie “Father Stu,” saying, “I definitely want to focus on making more. I wouldn’t say just faith-based content but things that will help people.
“The Departed” star has slowly been living life away from the spotlight because he has reached a point where it is harder for him to leave his family for months-long projects. Hence he said it might be the end of his Hollywood chapter.
When asked when he would bow out during an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Wahlberg responded: “Sooner rather than later, probably.”
With a career spanning many decades in Hollywood, the “Daddy’s Home” star has starred in 60 films and counting with a producer credit under his belt.
Wahlberg is considering leaving show business because of his family, most importantly, his children. Since reports revealed he is selling his Beverly Park mega-mansion, it makes sense.
The two-time Academy Award nominee listed his property for $87.5 million. Wahlberg and Durham have lived in the custom-built abode since 2009, which got completed in 2014.
The couple purchased the residence for only $8.25 million. The 30,500-square-foot luxurious estate boasts 12 bedrooms and 20 bathrooms. It also features a home gym where the action star previously documented his fitness routine on social media.
The main house has a double-height foyer that leads to a wrought-iron imperial staircase. It has arched door frames with French doors throughout the house.
There is an enormous walk-in closet and a two-story paneled library, including a wet bar, a tennis court, a resort-like pool, a skate park, a basketball court, and a five-hole golf course.
Beverly Park was developed in the late ’80s and is home to other Hollywood elites, such as actors Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sofia Vergara.
Should Wahlberg get his asking price, the mansion will rank as the most expensive Beverly Park property in history, surpassing songbird Adele’s $58 million purchase.
Wahlberg and Durham’s main bedroom is spacious, and the couple has a sitting area within the room. They put an L-shaped couch, an armchair, and a coffee table beside their primary bedroom suite.
Walhberg also has a professional-style gym with more equipment than one can count, including two anti-burst gym balls and a treadmill on the other end of the ample mirrored space.
Like every other space in the mansion, the duo’s walk-in closet is big enough for more than two people. The white-walled unit includes an island. Durham, a model, also displayed her handbags in the room.
The house also consists of a wooded paneled library that features a mounted TV set, two couches, and chairs, with family pictures on display just below the flat-screen TV.
Wahlberg and Durham chose an attractive outdoor area when they opted for a resort-like swimming pool surrounded by lush greenery with a rock waterfall.
When entering the abode, there is a foyer that has paneled walls painted gray and white and two staircases adjacent to one another. The airy space features a centered round table with blue chairs on one side and a beige sofa.