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Rhea Durham Taught Mark Wahlberg the Utmost Respect for Women — Inside Their Marriage

Manuela Cardiga
Jun 13, 2020
09:30 A.M.
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Rhea Durham turned Mark Wahlberg's life upside down and made the disillusioned actor believe in true love again.

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Mark Wahlberg, star of so many hit movies like "Boogie Nights," "The Perfect Storm, and "Planet of the Apes", had stopped believing in love at a very young age when his first love turned his back on him when he became embroiled in an unsavory incident.

Disillusioned, he's been dating and breaking hearts all over Hollywood when he met the woman who'd turn his life upside down: Rhea Durham.

The young Wahlberg had had over 20 brushes with the law and served 45 days out of a two-year jail sentence

Rhea Durham and husband Mark Wahlberg at the premiere of "Patriots Day" in 2016 in Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

Rhea Durham and husband Mark Wahlberg at the premiere of "Patriots Day" in 2016 in Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

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MEETING RHEA DURHAM

Wahlberg was in New York City for a movie press junket in 2001 when he met the stunning Durham. He was struck by the model's looks, Wahlberg revealed:

"I asked her if she wanted to come to church with me the next morning, and she said yes."

And so Wahlberg and Durham's first date wasn't dinner at a New York hot-spot restaurant, it was mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Mark Wahlberg in 1991, in a studio photo for the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch | Source: Getty Images

Mark Wahlberg in 1991, in a studio photo for the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch | Source: Getty Images

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A TROUBLED PAST

Wahlberg was soon sure that Durham was the one, but he had a lot of issues from his past he still had to deal with, including several brushes with the law related to racial violence. Wahlberg said:

"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.”

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A LIFE CHANGE

The young Wahlberg had had over 20 brushes with the law and served 45 days out of a two-year jail sentence before he took the straight and narrow path that led to success, first as a singer in the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, then as an actor. And yet, his personal life was lacking. He trusted no-one until he met Durham. He admitted:

“I 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 have a family.”

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BECOMING PARENTS

Durham had a dream. She was a successful model, but what she truly yearned for was motherhood. Wahlberg was the youngest of nine children, so the idea of a big family also appealed to him. In 2003, two years after they met, Durham and Wahlberg welcomed their first child, Ella Rae.

Mark Walberg with his sons and wife Rhea Durham watch the New York Knicks play the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014 in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

Mark Walberg with his sons and wife Rhea Durham watch the New York Knicks play the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014 in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

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Then in 2006, they welcomed son Michael, and in 2008 son Brendan Joseph was born. It was definitely time to make things official, and Wahlberg and Durham tied the knot in 2009 in an intimate ceremony at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, near their home.

 Mark Wahlberg and daughter Ella at the 2013 Radio Disney Awards in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

Mark Wahlberg and daughter Ella at the 2013 Radio Disney Awards in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

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FINALLY THE WEDDING

The sweet, romantic wedding was attended by a mere dozen close friends and family, and their 3 children, Ella, Michael and Brandon, who were 5, 3, and one-year-old respectively at the time. Wahlberg admitted:

“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.”

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THE MOVIE STAR HANDYMAN

Wahlberg confessed that his lovely wife keeps him constantly busy doing maintenance and repair work around the house. He said:

“She just wants me fixing things. I wear a wife beater around the house and walk around with a hammer or a screwdriver. Like, I’m gonna fix the door or something."

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DEALING WITH THE LOVE SCENES

There is one little issue Wahlberg has to deal with. Durham hates seeing him on-screen kissing or making love to his leading ladies, so as far as it is possible, the actor tries to avoid love scenes. He confessed:

“If it has anything to do with me kissing somebody my wife’s not gonna like it so I’ll fight to get it cut out. (...)I usually try to choose my battles wisely.”

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KEEPING THAT FLAME ALIVE

Wahlberg and Durham welcomed their fourth child, daughter Grace in 2010, and celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in July 2019, but they are as in love as ever after a total of 19 years together. Wahlberg revealed the secret of their enduring romance:

“Every Thursday. We’ll leave the house in the late afternoon and go to an early movie or just hang out somewhere. Then we’ll go to dinner and catch up."

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But there is a lot more to the solidity of the union between Durham and Wahlberg than romantic love and passion. The actor stated:

“We share the same values. Obviously, the physical attraction was there, but that’s not what keeps a couple together.”

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AN EXEMPLARY MARRIAGE

Whatever they've got, is something many couples crave: love, trust, and intimacy. The family is close-knit, and Wahlberg and Durham are devoted hands-on parents to their brood.

Wahlberg confided that he has tried to pass on the lesson he learned from his beautiful wife to his sons - utmost respect for women.

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