Mark Wahlberg’s Tough Guy Image Sells, But There’s More to Him Than Meets the Eye

Mark Wahlberg is many things to many people. He is an actor who has starred in many blockbuster films, a singer who established himself as a heartthrob for millions, and a model who earned acclaim for his underwear ads in the early nineties. However, many also know Wahlberg as a hothead, a star who isn’t afraid to speak out and make himself heard — no matter how controversial the subject. Wahlberg’s past might be somewhat troubling, but these days, he is focused solely on the future and on his beloved family. 

Mark Wahlberg smiling
Mark Wahlberg | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

How did Mark Wahlberg become famous?

Mark Wahlberg was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1971. Raised in a large, rambunctious family, the youngest of nine children, Wahlberg formed close family ties that last to this day. His parents, both working-class people, divorced when Wahlberg was young, but he retained a strong connection to both of them even after the split, according to IMDb. As a teenager, Wahlberg began his ascent to fame by working with the band New Kids on the Block. His older brother, Donnie Wahlberg, was one of the group’s lead members, and young Mark Wahlberg got his start dancing and singing alongside him.

In 1990, Wahlberg formed his own group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. The band became wildly successful, and Wahlberg became a sex symbol to millions. After a few years in the music business, Wahlberg began modeling, posing for designers like Calvin Klein. Finally, Wahlberg found his niche when he started acting. His roles in films such as Boogie Nights, The Perfect Storm, and Four Brothers solidified his status as a Hollywood heavyweight, and over the years, Wahlberg has become even more of an audience favorite. 

Mark Wahlberg’s combative disposition

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In the past decade, Mark Wahlberg has grown to become one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. He is beloved by millions of people around the world, and viewers love the way that he often portrays stoic, simple heroes. Still, there is an element of danger to Wahlberg’s onscreen persona, and his troubling past serves to enhance this. Mark Wahlberg’s younger years were marred by several brushes with the law, including an alleged series of violent assaults when he was a teenager.

In 1988, Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder and pleaded guilty to felony assault, going on to serve some time in jail. He still carries his felony record with him, though he has since apologized for his past actions and claimed that everyone should have the chance to turn their lives around, reports Time. There’s little doubt that his history as a tough guy, along with his muscular physique, has helped to cement his reputation as one of Hollywood’s action film power players. 

Mark Wahlberg is a family man at heart

In 2009, Mark Wahlberg married a model named Rhea Durham. The couple went on to have four children, two sons, and two daughters. Over the years, Wahlberg has proved time and time again that his family means everything to him, and he often brings his children with him to film sets. While his tenacity regarding his family has caused him some controversy, reports suggest that when it comes to his kids, Wahlberg is a big softie.

In a profile from The Guardian, the journalist conducting the interview noted that when asked about his kids, Wahlberg’s whole persona seemed to change and that the role of a family man is “the one that comes easiest to him.” Ultimately, Wahlberg’s ability to maintain a multifaceted personality all throughout his career has likely contributed to his bankability as a movie star — and part of what keeps audiences so intrigued.