In his teens, he struggled with his own darkness, had his heart broken and in return broke many hearts, until he met Rhea.
He is one of the biggest names in Hollywood since the days he was the lead rapper of the early 90s group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. And he is one of the highest-paid actors now. But behind all the stardom is a family man who takes immense joy in his role as husband and father. His devotion and gratitude for his wife is endearing. However, he wasn't always the simple, family man as stories of his younger years would reveal. For many years, he grappled with his inner darkness and had to fight hard to make the right choices.
At 16, he was jailed for attacking a man. He also admitted that after his first relationship left him heartbroken, he became insensitive to women. Meeting Rhea Durham, his wife, changed his mind and opened his heart to love. They met in 2001 and dated for eight years before getting married. They are proud parents of four beautiful children—Ella, 15, Michael, 13, Brendan, 10, and Grace, 9.
"I was a very nice guy early on. 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 don't want to blame her now but my heart was broken and I decided, 'I'm never giving my heart to a girl anymore.' Everything, but not that. And I ended up hurting a lot of people along the way. It was not until I met my wife and we had our daughter that I went, 'Oh my God, this is happening for a reason.' So now I have the utmost respect for women and teach my boys that. They shall not take the path that daddy took," he told Sunshine Coast Daily.
The duo met while the Departed actor was promoting a film, according to People magazine. “We met in New York City, while I was doing a press junket. I asked her if she wanted to come out with me, and she said yes,” Wahlberg told People. “Then I asked her if she wanted to come to church with me the next morning, and she said yes again. So that was our first date: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. 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," he said.
The couple who got married in 2009 recently celebrated their 10th anniversary in Italy, according to Boston Herald. They celebrated ahead of the date in Sardinia, from where the mother of four shared a photo of her cuddling with her husband on a yacht off the coast of the Mediterranean island, captioning it as “#infinityandbeyond.” Later, on the day of their 10th anniversary, he surprised Rhea by getting 10 bouquets for 10 years. “Oh my gosh, I came into my kitchen and I have 10 bouquets for 10 years,” Rhea shared in a video she posted to Instagram. “Thank you, babe. I love you so much. Happy anniversary.”
He has been forthcoming about the amount of gratitude he feels for Rhea, who has been by his side for 18 years now. “I owe a lot to my wife,” he told Hollywood Life. “She has helped me become the man that I am and created a beautiful life for me and our children. 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 get married," he said.
Rhea, a former model, recently started a handbag and accessories label Ella Grace, named after her two daughters. She works and takes care of the brood while Mark has a packed shooting schedule. The hands-on mom ensures the kids stay grounded, another quality that Mark finds appealing.
“They see how hard their dad and I work and how busy we both are running the day-to-day life we lead,” she told Us Weekly. “Mark travels a lot, so with four kids it’s a daily fight to keep everyone on track. The kids see both of us always working harder than anyone else they know. Instilling a strong work ethic is so important to us.”