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Donnie Wahlberg’s Brother Mark, Whom He Helped to Start New Life after Jail Trial, Did Not Attend His Wedding

Junie Sihlangu
Jan 15, 2022
10:00 A.M.
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During past interviews, actor Donnie Wahlberg has claimed that he and his brother, Mark Wahlberg, were quite close, but neither one attended the other's marriage.

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He might be a big star now, but when Mark Wahlberg was 13, he was already a cocaine addict. The "Mile 22" actor didn't have an easy childhood, and by the time he was 16, he was in jail.

He credited meeting his wife as one of the people who helped him get his life together. The star and Victoria's Secret angel and ex-lingerie model Rhea Durham met in 2001.

Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg at the American Music Awards on November 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California, and Rhea Durham and Mark Wahlberg at the "Ted 2" New York premiere on June 24, 2015 | Photos: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic & Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

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HOW RHEA SAVED MARK'S LIFE

In a past interview, the "Ted" star confessed that he owed a lot to his wife. He said she helped him become the man that he was and gave him and their children a beautiful life, adding:

“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 have a family.”

Rhea Durham, Mark, Brendan Joseph, Grace Margaret, Ella Rae, and Michael Wahlberg at Safe Kids Day at The Lot on April 26, 2015, in West Hollywood, California | Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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MUSIC CAREERS

In the 1980s, Mark and his brother, Donnie Wahlberg, were in a music group that eventually became big. The former got his big break in the music industry and modeling after Donnie paved the way for him.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the siblings' band New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) was an unstoppable machine. They sold millions of records, had a hotline, toys, and even a cartoon, but Mark eventually left and found acting.

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EARNING A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA LATER

Because of his troubled childhood, which saw Mark drop out in the ninth grade after being charged with attempted murder, the star never got his high school diploma until June 2020. He quit Copley Square High School after being surrounded by violence, drugs, and crime.

The actor described the impressive milestone as "a huge accomplishment." Mark told People that he got his diploma 25 years later because he didn't want his four children refusing to get theirs because of him.

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The star managed to get his diploma by studying online while with family, on movie sets, and traveling. In 2012, he revealed that he was going back to school with the assistance of Snowden International School's headmaster Kerry Torndorf.

The headmaster enrolled Mark in the school's Accelerated Learning Academy. Some of the classes taken by the television star for his diploma were algebra and trigonometry.

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BRINGING THE SIBLINGS TOGETHER

Despite having music and acting careers and their Wahlbergs' food empire, Donnie and Mark did their separate things in general. The duo owned the fast-food restaurants along with their other brother, Paul Wahlberg.

In 2018, they owned 24 Wahlburger fast food joints. Two of the establishments were in the process of having soft openings, and 14 others were set to open that same year.

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HEALING FOR THE WAHLBERGS

The stores inspired A&E's "Wahlburgers," which had its ninth season premiere on June 13, 2018. Speaking to ET Canada in 2019, the siblings confessed how their reality television show helped reconnect their family.

Starring on the show helped renew the brothers' bond and assisted their mother, Alma. She found purpose after losing her identity when dealing with the loss of her daughter, Debbie, in 2003.

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Donnie even teared up while reflecting on how the series has strengthened his family. While wiping away tears, the "Blue Bloods" star confessed to the publication:

“Of the many, many things that have come out of this crazy journey for us as brothers, as business partners, the best part is that it’s rebuilt our family.”

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WHY MARK MISSED DONNIE'S WEDDING

In August 2014, when Donnie was set to marry Jenny McCarthy, TMZ revealed that Mark and his wife wouldn't be attending. The publication speculated that it was because Mark and Durham weren't fans of the bride.

Multiple sources claimed Mark was not as close with Donnie and his fiancée as McCarthy made it seem. Durham allegedly didn't like an interview McCarthy gave with Howard Stern where she talked about her relationship with Mark.

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MARK ADDRESSES ABSENCE FROM WEDDING

Mark later congratulated his brother and his bride in a Facebook video that included his wife and children. He explained that they celebrated his daughter's birthday on the same day and apologized for missing Donnie's wedding.

The New Kids on the Block singer and "The View" co-host got married in a 20-minute ceremony in St. Charles, Illinois. After the wedding, Donnie posted a thank you note to his NKOTB fans, a.k.a. Blockheads.

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DONNIE'S TAKE ON BROTHER'S WEDDING ABSENCE

In March 2015, Donnie appeared on "The Howard Stern Show" and addressed Mark's absence from his wedding to McCarthy. The star revealed that his wedding day, August 31, 2014, also happened to be his niece's birthday.

The star [Donnie Wahlberg] admitted that they’d [he and Mark Wahlberg] grown apart but was in awe of how far they’ve come.

Mark chose to stay home and celebrate his daughter's milestone, and Donnie wasn't bothered by that. In fact, he also didn't attend Mark's wedding to Durham because he was working, and it wasn't a personal move on his part.

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Speaking to ET Canada about what seemed like a shun from Mark, Donnie found it hilarious that his brother missing his wedding to McCarthy appeared to be a big story, but him missing the "Transformer" star's one wasn't.

Donnie explained that he would've told Mark to stay at home for his daughter's birthday anyway. He said the Wahlberg's didn't begrudge each other for things like that, and he once claimed he was the closest person to Mark since they were children.

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MARK & DONNIE'S RELATIONSHIP

In December 2020, Donnie and his NKOTB bandmates were interviewed by McCarthy on her SiriusXM show. He confessed that he and Mark's relationship was fine but different.

The star admitted that they'd grown apart but was in awe of how far they'd come. After their appearance on McCarthy's radio show, Donnie, Jordan Knight, Danny Wood, and Jonathan Knight-Rodriguez took a walk down memory lane to visit Luna Park in Brooklyn.

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