40 interesting facts about Mark Wahlberg: How he turned his life around from his tumultuous Marky Mark days

Mark Wahlberg got his start in the musical group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, later going on to a modeling career and becoming a leading actor in Hollywood.

  1. His real name is Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg.

  2. He was born on June 5, 1971 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

  3. Wahlberg's mother, Alma Elaine (née Donnelly), was a bank clerk and nurse's aide, and Wahlberg's father, Donald Edward Wahlberg, was a Teamster who worked as a delivery drive.

  4. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother is of Irish, English, and French Canadian descent.

  5. Mark Wahlberg's siblings are: Arthur, James, Debbie, Michelle, Paul, Tracey, Robert, and Donnie. He also has half siblings Scott, Buddy, and Donna who are children of his dad by another woman.

  6. He was raised Roman Catholic.

  7. Wahlberg had been in trouble 20-25 times with the Boston Police Department in his youth. By age 13, Wahlberg had developed an addiction to cocaine and other substances.

  8. At 15, civil action was filed against Wahlberg 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.

  9. Wahlberg never returned to High School after dropping out at the age of 14, but did eventually get his GED.

  10. Wahlberg first came to fame as the younger brother of Donnie Wahlberg of the successful boy band New Kids on the Block. Mark, at age thirteen, was one of the group's original members, along with Donnie, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, and Jonathan Knight.

  11. Some of his nicknames include Marky Mark and Monk D.

  12. During his "Marky Mark" fame period, Wahlberg famously worked for Calvin Klein as an underwear model.

  13. As a teenager, Mark was arrested over 20 times including an attempted murder charge. He received a two year jail sentence but only served 45 days.

  14. At 21, 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."

  15. After going to prison for assault, he decided to improve his behavior. According to Wahlberg, "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."

  16. 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" with them over it. The actor commented in 2009: "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've done bad things, but I never blamed my upbringing for that. I never behaved like a victim so that I would have a convenient reason for victimizing others. Everything I did wrong was my own fault. I was taught the difference between right and wrong at an early age. I take full responsibility."

  17. New Kids on the Block was formed by Maurice Starr who held auditions in Boston with over 500 boys turning out. The first member selected was Donnie Wahlberg, who subsequently convinced Starr to also add Mark to the group, along with some friends of his.

  18. Piggy-backing off the success of his older brother, Wahlberg was a "bad-boy" rapper, Marky Mark, in the early '90s. "Good Vibrations" is Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's top hit, reaching No.1 on the Billboard charts.

  19. Despite the success of "Good Vibrations," Marky Mark's second album was a commercial failure and Wahlberg soon dropped his stage name and started acting.

  20. In 1992, the readers of Rolling Stone voted Wahlberg the "worst male singer of the year."

  21. Wahlberg was originally cast in both Ocean's Eleven and Brokeback Mountain, but turned both roles down. In Ocean's Eleven, he was cast as Linus Caldwell, but withdrew and Matt Damon was cast instead. In Brokeback Mountain he states he withdrew due to being uncomfortable with the sex scenes.

  22. Wahlberg and several friends originally had tickets to fly on United 93, one of the planes hijacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001. However, they ended up deciding to instead charter a plane to go attend a film festival in Canada before returning to Los Angeles.

  23. Wahlberg made his acting debut in the 1993 TV movie "The Substitute."

  24. Wahlberg's breakout role was as a drug-addicted high school basketball star in "The Basketball Diaries" (1995), in which he starred alongside Leonard DiCaprio.

  25. After two more attention-getting performances in Fear (1996) and Traveller(1997), Wahlberg cemented his artistic and commercial reputation (and left "Marky Mark" far behind) with a starring role as dishwasher turned porn star Eddie Adams (aka Dirk Diggler) in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's buzzworthy Boogie Nights (1997), costarring Burt Reynolds.

  26. Wahlberg was the driving force behind "The Fighter" (2010), and trained for four years in order to build his physique and make the boxing scenes appear more realistic. Besides building a gym and boxing ring in his house, he also hired Freddie Roach -- Manny Pacquiao's trainer -- to prepare him for the film.

  27. He has a tattoo of Bob Marley on his left shoulder and Tweety Bird on his ankle. He has four tattoos altogether, but is in the process of removing them.

  28. His home features a 2,500-square-foot private gym made from a converted airport hangar. It houses tons of equipment and a full-sized boxing ring.

  29. Mark is distantly related to author Nathaniel Hawthorne, Madonna, Celine Dion, and Halle Berry.

  30. Mark and his brothers co-own a restaurant in Massachusetts called Wahlburgers.

  31. He has a third nipple. He was born with a third nipple which had to be airbrushed out of his modeling work.

  32. In 2003, Wahlberg co-starred with Charlize Theron in the heist thriller The Italian Job.

  33. Other projects include joining Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman for an existential comedy titled I Love Huckabee's.

  34. Not only did he play Reese Witherspoon's crazy stalker boyfriend in their movie Fear, he played a less obsessive version of said boyfriend while they were filming.

  35. Despite having tumultuous teenage years, he is now living a stable and happy life. He cites his stable family life and his involvement with charitable organizations that seek to prevent children from going down similar paths as evidence for his having changed permanently.

  36. He married Rhea Durham in 2009. He has two daughters named Ella and Grace and two sons named Brendan and Michael.

  37. Sadly, Wahlberg's older sister passed away on the same day his first child was born (September 2, 2003).

  38. Mark Wahlberg returned to the headlines again in January 2014, when he began starring on the small screen alongside brothers Donnie and Paul as part of a new venture entitled Wahlburgers.

  39. Wahlberg received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in July, 2010.

  40. He had stated in several interviews that he would retire at the age of 40 in order to concentrate on parenthood and professional golf. Now, at 43, he has obviously scrapped his plans to retire and acknowledged his "golf game is horrible."

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