Mark Wahlberg has one of the most fascinating stories in all of Hollywood. He has gone from a life of drugs and violence at a very young age, to a popular but short-lived music career, and from there, becoming a highly respected and talented actor. In addition, he is now a successful producer who has worked on many great projects, including the popular HBO series Entourage and Ballers. He is also vocal and outspoken, which sometimes lands him in trouble, but Wahlberg also commands a great amount of respect for his incredible transformation, and the work he puts into his acting, both physically and mentally.
In celebration of Mark Wahlberg’s 48th birthday and his impressive career, here are few fun facts about the American actor, producer, businessman, model, rapper, and songwriter.
10. He Converted An Airplane Hanger Into His Personal Gym
It is no secret that Wahlberg is in tip-top shape and works incredibly hard to achieve his muscular physique, which is something that he has done throughout his career, ever since he got his start at a young age as a Calvin Klein model. For dozens of his roles, he has put time and effort in the gym, working hard to achieve the right look. This is most evident in the movies The Fighter, which earned 7 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and Pain & Gain, where he starred alongside Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie. Seeing as he puts so many hours into maintaining his form, it only makes sense that he has his own home gym. And Wahlberg’s gym will put anybody’s to shame, as it is a converted airport hanger, taking up over 2,500 square feet on two levels. The gym comes complete with a boxing ring, hundreds of pieces of equipment, and a state of the art sound system.
9. He Credits God For Turning His Life Around
Mark Wahlberg’s troubled past is well documented. However, he is also famous for how he dramatically turned his life around to become one of the more successful and popular figures in all of Hollywood. Wahlberg credits this amazing transformation with his Roman Catholic faith, which he states helped him to overcome the many tough obstacles he has faced throughout his life. According to Wahlberg, things change for the better for him once he started to focus on prayer and his faith after leaving prison. This is something that he still clearly believes to this day, as he has said that each morning the first thing he does is pray and give thanks to God.
8. He Is A Highly Respected Producer
Although Wahlberg is most famous for appearing in films such as The Departed, The Fighter, Ted and Lone Survivor, he has also developed quite the reputation for serving as an executive producer. He has worked as a producer on most of the films that he has appeared in since 2010, but it is as an executive producer for television where he has found the most success. as Wahlberg has served as EP for four popular HBO shows. The most famous of the four is likely Entourage, which was loosely based on his own experiences as an up and coming film star, and he regularly made guest appearances as himself (he also produced and guest starred in the film). Wahlberg also serves as executive producer for Boardwalk Empire, How to Make it in America and Ballers, starring his Pain and Gain co-star, Dwayne Johnson.
7. He Owns A Burger Restaurant Called “Wahlburgers”
In 2011, Mark, Paul, and Donnie Wahlberg opened a restaurant and bar cleverly called “Wahlburgers”. The restaurant is located in a town just outside Boston called Hingham, and it was so successful that they would open a second in Toronto in 2014. Another in Orlando followed in February 2016, and 27 new locations are planned to be rolled out in the near future, with several of them expected to be located in New York. The original Wahlburgers is also the subject of a reality television series on the A&E network, a behind-the-scenes look at the running of the restaurant which has run for 4 seasons, and features all 3 Wahlberg brothers, along with actress Jenny McCarthy, who is Donnie Wahlberg’s wife. The family also own and operate another restaurant, called Alma Nove, which opened before Wahlburgers. The name comes from a combination of their mother’s name and “Nove”, which is Italian for nine (representing the nine Wahlberg siblings).
6. He Had A Decade-Long Beef With Eminem
They may be on good terms now, with Eminem appearing on Entourage and Mark Wahlberg nearly casting Eminem in The Fighter, but for a whole decade, these two did not see eye to eye. It all started when the two appeared together on MTV’s Total Request in 1999. With his rapping days long behind him, Wahlberg made it clear that he did not want his Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch days to be referenced on the show. The temptation proved too strong for Eminem, who said that they were standing around like “one big fun bunch” when Mark joined him on camera. Mark then called Eminem a curse word under his breath and glared at him for the remainder of the incredibly awkward segment. The two sporadically traded barbs for 10 years, before finally burying the hatchet in 2010.
5. He Was In Legal Trouble From Age 13
Wahlberg is famed for turning his life around to become an immensely successful Hollywood actor. At just 13 years old, Wahlberg became addicted to cocaine and dropped out of school. The following years he was involved in a few violent and racial incidents, including one where he believed he had permanently blinded a Vietnamese man. He was charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to two years in a correctional prison (although he only served 45 days). This time in prison forced him to reevaluate his life and saw him turn to his parish priest to help him turn his back on crime. He told his gang that he was leaving, and after a life of trying to do the right thing, he claims to be longer burdened by guilt. He even finished and received his high school diploma in 2013!
4. Rolling Stone Voted Him “Worst Singer of the Year”
It is well-known that Wahlberg started his career in the music business. He rose to fame as Donnie Wahlberg’s younger brother in New Kids on the Block but later would leave the group to embark on his own career. This led to Wahlberg fronting the rap group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, who had a number 1 hit with “Good Vibrations” off of their debut album, Music for the People. However, their sophomore album would be a huge flop, and the readers of Rolling Stone would vote Mark Wahlberg the “Worst Singer of the Year” in 1992, basically ending his music career. This rapid demise led Wahlberg to pursue a gig in acting, which would arrive a year later when he made his debut in the TV film The Substitute. After this, he dropped the Marky Mark moniker and then landed his big screen debut, in the movie Renaissance Man.
3. He Was Booked On American Airlines Flight 11
In a shocking story, Wahlberg narrowly avoided death on September 11th, 2001, as he had booked a ticket for Flight 11 on American Airlines, headed from Boston to Los Angeles, but had to cancel his reservation after his plans changed the day before. Of course, Flight 11 would never reach its destination, as it was hijacked by terrorists and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon revealing this information, Wahlberg then caused some controversy by making comments stating that if he was on the plane, he believed that things would have gone down very differently and it would have ended with him saying “Okay, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry”. There was a strong backlash against Wahlberg for these comments, which led him to release a statement where he deeply apologized to the families of the victims and stated that his words came off as insensitive and irresponsible.
2. He Has A Third Nipple
Whether it is in one of his films or from modeling for Calvin Klein back in the day, Mark Wahlberg has always quick to whip off his shirt and has clearly worked extremely hard at his physique (he even has his own fitness video). However, if you were to look closely at some of his photos from his Marky Mark days, you will notice that he actually has a third nipple, or “nubbin”, as Chandler taught us on Friends. In much of his modeling work, this is airbrushed out, but it is still noticeable in some of his films and from earlier photos. Mark has spoken about his third nipple before, stating that he has come to embrace it and would not have it removed. Reportedly joining Chandler and Mark Wahlberg in the triple nipple club are Zac Efron, Harry Styles, Frank Langella, and Krusty the Clown.
1. He Also Has Several Famous Relatives
Mark Wahlberg’s extended family tree is quite something. In addition to being the brother of singer/actor Donnie and actor Robert Wahlberg, Mark has a handful of famous distant relatives. This includes being distantly related to famed American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, who is best known for writing The Scarlet Letter. But that only scratches the surface of his famous family tree, as Wahlberg is also distantly related to a number of high profile celebrities. This includes Halle Berry, Raquel Welch, Ben Affleck, Celine Dion, and Madonna. How all of these celebrities are related to Wahlberg can sometimes be extremely complicated, and it’s not like they meet up for Christmas dinner each year, but it is fascinating just how much talent there is that can be connected to Mark both in his immediate and distant family.