By the time he was 16, Mark Wahlberg had committed crimes, got addicted, and even gone to prison. However, Mark is now one of the most established actors in Hollywood and has a pretty stable life. How did he do it? Well, apart from all the work he’s put in over the years, he has credited his beautiful love story with his wife as something that helped him get his life together. Wahlberg met Rhea Durham, a model who has worked for brands such as Vogue or Victoria’s Secret, while they were doing a press junket in 2001.
Apparently, the actor asked her if she wanted to go out with him and she said yes! The following morning, Mark asked her if she wanted to come to church with him, and she agreed. The couple had their first date in St. Patrick’s cathedral, New York. Wahlberg is very catholic and goes to mass every morning, so it’s beautiful that he wanted to share an experience that’s so important to him with her! Shortly after the date, the actor realized just how special Durham was becoming to him. So much that he decided to make sure that he was ready to commit and be serious with her.
He opened up about it to People magazine some years later, saying, “I knew shortly after that she was the one, but I still had to make sure that I was able to be the man I needed to be.” The pair began dating and welcomed their first child, Ella Rae, in 2003. They weren’t married yet. Although they broke up shortly after her birth, they quickly realized they did not want to be apart and got back together. And it sure was the right call! In 2006, they had their son Michael, and two years later, they welcomed Brendan Joseph. The stars decided to make things official and got married in 2009.
They tied the knot in a small ceremony in Beverly Hills, with their three kids attending, of course. A year later, they welcomed their fourth child, daughter Grace Margaret. Looks like a big, happy family, right? Why did the couple take so long to finally get married, then? Well, the actor has opened up about this, explaining he had been wary about marriage since his parents divorced when he was a child. Might be the reason why he wanted to make sure he was ready to commit, right? It makes sense that Mark was so worried about repeating his father’s behavior, since it greatly affected the first years of his life.
The actor grew up in Boston as the youngest of nine children. His dad left when he was 10, with his mom having to raise the kids all by herself. As a result, Mark started stealing cars and getting involved in crimes such as drug dealing and robbery. Wahlberg wanted to get as much money as possible since he was convinced it was what he needed to finally be happy. “I was jealous of the kids who went to private school,” the actor has later explained. “I thought if you wore one of those uniforms you would have a different life without all the trouble.” Mark continued getting in trouble until he quit school altogether when he was 14.
He has also confessed that he got addicted to drugs. “Aged 13 to 15 I had a pretty serious cocaine problem. Being the youngest and smallest and the most eager, I was always trying to impress the older guys,” he shared. At age 16, Wahlberg spent 45 days in prison. He had assaulted a shopkeeper and used slurs against him while being high on hallucinogens. The actor admitted that being in jail helped him turn his perspective on life. Since then, he focused on doing the right thing and left the gang he was in. In an interview, he even told the Guardian, “I would hope that people would be able to get a second chance in life.”
He certainly did, and the shopkeeper has even come forward and said he forgives the actor. After his time in jail, Wahlberg stopped believing in love. In an interview with Red Bulletin, he explained, “The first time I fell in love, and when I was in jail, she denied me, she didn’t want to wait for me. I decided, ‘I’m never giving my heart to a girl anymore.” The actor then confessed that when he met his wife, and they had their daughter, this belief completely changed. “I went, ‘Oh my God, this is happening for a reason.'” The “Boogie Nights” protagonist also discussed how his past affects the way he has raised his children.
“They shall not take the path that daddy took,” Mark stated. He also started the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation with his brother to give underprivileged kids the advantages he never had. What a journey! The star has opened up about his marriage in interviews, explaining how it has helped him on his road toward becoming a better person. He said to The Sun, “I owe a lot to my wife. She has helped me become the man that I am and created a beautiful life for me and our children.” Later, he added “I knew she loved me for who I am and that she was someone I could trust.
You need the right woman in your life.” The actor also explained that his feelings for his wife intensified once they decided to start a family, and that his marriage has succeeded because he and the model share the same values. They certainly are a perfect match! The lovebirds have also shared some of the things they do together. For example, they both believe having one-on-one time is important for couples, so Thursday night is date night for them! Mark talked about this routine in 2012, explaining that they go out for dinner and a movie and then return home in time to put the kids to bed.
We don’t know if the pair continues to make time for each other on Thursdays. What we do know is that family time is important for the actor, and he reserves some time for his wife and kids in what many consider to be a crazy schedule. In 2018, the actor shared his usual daily routine with fans on Instagram, revealing that he actually wakes up at 2.30 AM! His average day includes workouts, cryo chamber recovery, lots of time with his kids, and a 7.30 PM bedtime! Wahlberg has revealed that his marriage also plays a part when it comes to his job. Durham doesn’t like him kissing other people, so he fights to get those scenes cut out.
During a hilarious interview on the Ellen Degeneres show, the actor confessed that she sometimes dresses as a handyman to fulfill one of his wife’s fantasies. The happy couple can’t stop praising each other on social media, celebrating anniversaries and birthdays. In 2019, Mark posted a picture on Instagram with the caption “10 yrs married baby” (Reference: Pronounce “Years”). The following year, he posted celebrating the model’s forty-second birthday. Mark wrote, “You’re my better half and such a blessing.” Aww, they’re so sweet! Mark sure knows how to dedicate sweet tributes.
However, in an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live , the actor confessed he made a mistake on Valentine’s Day 2022. The couple had initially decided they were not going to celebrate the holiday. He usually sends Rhea five bouquets on the days leading up to Valentine’s, one from each of his kids and a big one from himself. However, in 2022, Durham said, “Let’s not get anything for each other for Valentine’s Day,” so the Ted actor didn’t prepare any gifts! Of course, when the day came, the star discovered that his wife did actually prepare something for him.
He woke up with three gifts and a car from Rhea, so he tried to come up with an improvised plan. “I made a reservation for dinner, and she was like, ‘No, let’s just go another time,’ and then, of course, I got in trouble for saying ‘OK’ to that too,” the actor hilariously shared. “I got the 4:30 reservations. I can make it seem like I rented the whole place out because nobody’s there yet.” Over the years, Mark has posted many more tributes to his family on social media. In May 2022, he congratulated his son Michael on his confirmation. In the caption, he wrote, “So proud of this young man. Congrats, buddy!!” Then, he jokingly added, “Even though mommy deserves most of the credit. Thanks, babe.” Mark’s family may be unconventional, but it is a big, happy one. Here at Rumour Juice, we wish the best to the couple and their children and hope we can still hear this sort of beautiful news from them in the future.