|Real Name:||Donald Edmond Wahlberg Jr.|
|Birthday:||August 17, 1969|
|Net Worth:||$25 million|
|Occupation:||American Singer, Songwriter, Rapper, Actor,
Record Producer, Film Producer
Donald Edmond Wahlberg Jr., known to the public as Donnie Wahlberg, is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, record producer, and film producer. In music, he is renowned for being a founding member of the boy band New Kids on the Block. For his acting career, he starred in the Saw movies, Zookeeper, Dreamcatcher, The Sixth Sense, Righteous Kill, and Ransom, as well as HBO’s World War II miniseries Band of Brothers. On TV, he appeared in the crime drama Boomtown, the police drama Blue Bloods, and is an executive producer for TNT reality television show Boston’s Finest. While we are on the topic of brothers, he is also the brother of fellow actor and rapper Mark Wahlberg.
Career Ups and Downs
Donnie was born August 17, 1969, in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, into a family of Swedish (from his paternal grandfather), Irish, and more distant French-Canadian, English, and Scottish, descent. He is the eighth of nine children of Alma Elaine (Donnelly), a nurse’s aide and clerk, and Donald Edward Wahlberg, a delivery driver and active member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union. His parents eventually divorced and Donnie, finding himself already in trouble, discovered a positive outlet performing in school plays and became involved in varied aspects of theater – acting, writing, and directing.
At the age of 15, he became a member of the teen vocal group originally called NYNUK. Donnie’s younger brother, Mark Wahlberg, was originally one of the Boys but balked at the direction the group was taking and backed out. Donnie’s musical idol was Michael Jackson, and he taught himself the moonwalk and saved his allowance to buy a red leather jacket as the one Jackson wore in the iconic “Thriller” music video.
A founding member of the boy band New Kids on the Block, the five teens survived a false start with their debut album and proceeded to hit Number 1 with the single “Please Don’t Go Girl” on their second in 1988. They continued to bombard the market with one-after-another Top Ten hits, including “The Right Stuff” and “I’ll Be Loving You Forever.” Leaving the young girls panting for more, they became one of the hottest young singing/line-dancing groups to hit the late 80s and early 90s. The Boys went on to sell over 70 million albums worldwide and inspired the spawning of other five-member harmony groups such as Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. During its heyday, Donnie played up his resident “bad boy” persona by tallying up several run-ins with the law, including an alleged arson at a Kentucky hotel (charges were dropped). He also delved into “body art” with numerous tattoos and body piercings in an effort to buck their already-cloying image. Amid intergroup dissension and Milli Vanilli-like accusations of not contributing all the vocals to their albums, the pop band finally disbanded in 1994 – partly out of frustration but also having outgrown the group’s juvenile moniker.
Instead of pursuing a solo music career, Donnie decided to follow in the footsteps of his younger brother, Mark Wahlberg, by trying his hand at acting. At first, he landed only small parts as drug dealers or other tough-guy types in movies such as Ransom (1996) and Black Circle Boys (1997), but Wahlberg really gained notice as an actor in 1999 with an astonishing performance as the deranged ex-patient who threatens Bruce Willis in the acclaimed film The Sixth Sense. Wahlberg lost 43 pounds for the role, and audiences were shocked to discover that the emaciated, hysterical figure was the same clean-cut Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block.
Since then, Wahlberg has enjoyed a steady and successful acting career, with credits including Band of Brothers (2001), Saw II (2005), and Blue Bloods (2010), the latter also starring Tom Selleck.
In 2006, Wahlberg played Lieutenant Commander Burton in the military/boxing drama Annapolis. In September 2006, he played the lead role in the short-lived television drama Runaway on The CW. The show was canceled in October 2006 due to poor ratings. In 2007, he starred in the television movie Kings of South Beach on A&E. Also in 2007, he starred on the TV series The Kill Point. In 2008, Wahlberg appeared in Righteous Kill alongside Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and 50 Cent, and co-starred in What Doesn’t Kill You.
That same year, Donnie rejoined former members of New Kids on the Block for a reunion album, The Block, which — like the group’s previous projects — reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The band backed the album with a world tour, and though they weren’t nearly as popular as they had been two decades before, New Kids on the Block again achieved success by reconnecting with their long-lost diehard fans.
As of 2011, Wahlberg is the host of an internet radio show on Friday nights at 8 pm PST called “DDUB’s R&B Back Rub” on Cherry Tree Radio, and appeared in the 2011 comedy Zookeeper. Since 2010, he has spent an entire decade portraying Danny Reagan in Blue Bloods.
In the summer of 2013, Wahlberg performed with the rest of NKOTB on the Package Tour to support their new album, 10. The tour also featured fellow boy bands 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.
Donnie also produced the reality shows about his family, Wahlburgers (2014-2019), and Donnie Loves Jenny (2015-2016). He currently hosts the serial killer documentary Very Scary People.
With Donnie reportedly earning $60,000 per Blue Bloods episode in the series’ early years, that amounts to roughly $1.3 million per season. In recent years his per episode salary has been $150,000, which works out to roughly $3.3 million per season. Mind you, that is just his income from a more recent major project. His fortune today is estimated to be $25 million.
In 1991, Wahlberg was charged with first-degree arson for setting a fire at the historic Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Authorities stated that Wahlberg, then known as the “bad boy” of the boy band New Kids on the Block, was partying with fellow band member Danny Wood and fans in the early morning hours when Wahlberg dumped vodka on a hallway carpet and ignited it. Wahlberg was facing up to twenty years in prison, but the charge was later reduced to misdemeanor criminal mischief, and eventually dismissed after Wahlberg agreed to appear in public-service videos addressing fire safety, drug abuse, and drunk driving.
Wahlberg married Kimberly Fey on August 20, 1999, with whom he has two sons, Xavier and Elijah. The pair filed for divorce on August 13, 2008, citing irreconcilable differences. In July 2013, it was reported by Us Weekly that he was dating actress and comedian Jenny McCarthy after meeting on Watch What Happens Live in March. They announced their engagement on The View on April 16, 2014, and got married on August 31, 2014, at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles, Illinois.
Donnie is also an avid fan of the Boston Celtics and has been seen attending many of their games. In February 2016, he endorsed Marco Rubio for president of the United States.