Meet Mark Wahlberg's 4 Kids

From the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, to the big screen, Mark Wahlberg is a man who has worn many hats. Aside from a criminal past he'd like to forget about, Wahlberg got his start as Marky Mark in Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch, who, during the height of his musical relevance, snagged numerous accolades with his hit song, "Good Vibrations." Thanks to his popularity, Wahlberg transitioned into acting in the 1990s, starring in films such as "The Basketball Diaries," "Fear," and "Boogie Nights." The 2000s served him well as he continued to add to his extensive movie resume, ranging from critically acclaimed cuts like "The Departed" and "The Fighter," to comedies like "The Other Guys" and "Ted."

In addition to owning a successful clothing brand and being a devoted Catholic, Wahlberg is a doting father of four. After meeting his wife, Rhea Durham, in 2001, the two introduced their children Ella, Michael, Brendan, and Grace Wahlberg into their ever-growing family. According to his 2014 interview with Esquire, Wahlberg tries his best to play a prominent role in his children's lives. "I think the most important thing is to always be involved in every aspect of their life," he stated. "To give them enough trust that they can share things with you." Like their father, Ella, Michael, Brendan, and Grace all live extraordinary lives. Whether it be sharing his religious beliefs, attaining athletic success at a young age, or traversing the world of college, here is everything you need to know about Mark Wahlberg's four children. 

Ella Wahlberg was born on the same day her aunt, Debbie Wahlberg, passed away

Born on September 2, 2003, Ella Rae Wahlberg is the eldest of Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham's four children. For most of us, the birth of a firstborn is a momentous occasion. While Ella's birth was significant for Wahlberg and his wife Rhea, a tragic loss occurred on the same day that made celebrating his daughter's birthday — in his words — "bittersweet." In 2003, a source close to Wahlberg and his family told the Boston Herald that Wahlberg's sister, Deborah Wahlberg, died of a heart attack on the same day Ella was born (via E! News). "It was the best day of his life — and the worst," they told the publication. "Every year on the kid's birthday, he'll be reminded of [his sister's death]."

Given his celebrity status, the "Fear" actor has remained relatively stoic within the public eye. Although the impact his sister's passing caused him and his family was indescribable, Mark and his family only pushed forward. Instead of looking at this untimely occurrence negatively, Wahlberg saw this as a blessing. In an Instagram post dedicated to Ella's 18th birthday, Wahlberg acknowledged the unfortunate coincidence by deeming Deborah as his daughter's guardian angel. "Happy B-day, my Ella. 18 years old. Wow, how time flies. So proud of you," he wrote. "Always a bittersweet day. Missing my big sister Debbie. Ella's guardian angel." 

Ella Wahlberg is a thriving college student

As far as his children's career paths go, Mark Wahlberg never imposed his beliefs onto them. Since the actor never attended college, the need for higher education was never a strict rule for his kids. Even so, Ella Wahlberg decided to take the college path. Before Ella graduated high school, Mark appeared on Live! with Kelly and Ryan in 2022, where he opened up about his daughter's independence and the priority she's put on her education (via People). "My 18-year-old, now I literally have no authority over her until she realizes she needs me financially," he said. "She's doing tattoos and all this stuff, but she's now really focused on academics, which is great. It took her a while to get there."

After looking at several out-of-state colleges, Ella eventually chose Clemson University in South Carolina to earn her degree. According to her Instagram, it seems Ella is enjoying being a full-time college student. Mark saw this firsthand in October 2023 when he visited his daughter for the university's parents' weekend. During his appearance on the Today show, the "Ted" actor opened up about how Ella's experience in college made him regret not attending himself (via Fox). "We just went to parents' weekend, you know, with the sorority girls and the frat house," he stated. "It was like, 'Oh my God.' I definitely felt like I never really had too many regrets about not going to college until I saw [this]."

Michael Wahlberg got his name from his late grandfather

Mark Wahlberg and wife Rhea Durham seamlessly added to their tribe on March 21, 2006, when the couple introduced their first son, Michael Wahlberg, into their ever-growing family. Like their eldest daughter, Ella Wahlberg, Michael Wahlberg shares symbolic ties to a late family member. According to Mark, his late father, Donald Wahlberg, unknowingly gave him an idea of what to name his first son. In an interview with Esquire, Mark told the publication that his father never called him by his actual name. "Well, he used to call me Monkey, and I started to get really annoyed with it," he said. "So I had my first sit-down heart-to-heart with my dad, and I said, 'Dad, I got to talk to you. I don't like the name Monkey.' So he's like, 'Well, I'm sorry. I won't ever call you that again. What do you want me to call you?' And I said, 'I like the name Mike.'"

From then on, his father continued to call the actor Mike. Once Mark learned that Rhea Durham was pregnant with his first son, Mark used this opportunity to name his son the same name his father used to call him. Though Michael never got to see his grandfather a lot before he passed in 2008, Mark told Esquire that Donald was seemingly happy with the name, stating: "When I told him I named my first son Mike, he got a big smile on his face." 

Michael Wahlberg is heavily committed to his religion

Aside from encouraging each of his children to have a "backup plan," Mark Wahlberg isn't the type of father to force his beliefs onto his kids, which includes his religious practices. Though his Catholic beliefs are a big part of who he is, Mark told Hoda Kotb from Today that he refrains from forcing his kids to partake in his religious routines. "They think Dad's crazy and he's boring," he stated. "But even with my faith, I don't force it on them. But they know that Dad can't start the day without being in prayer, can't start the day without reading my Scripture, or going to Mass. And hopefully, instead of forcing that on them, they'll say, 'Well, if it works for dad, maybe it'll work for us,' and they'll kind of gravitate toward it on their own."

Luckily, this plan worked wonders for his son Michael Wahlberg, who became a devoted Catholic like his father. On May 29, 2022, Mark took to his Instagram to share a video congratulating his son and others on a successful confirmation — a ceremony held in the Catholic Church that solidifies one's connection to the religion. "Congratulations to my son Michael on making his confirmation," he said in the video. "All the young people out there who were confirmed and taking their relationship with the lord into their adulthood, what a commitment you guys have made. Congratulations to all of you."

Brendan Wahlberg is an avid basketball player

On September 18, 2008, Mark Wahlberg and his wife Rhea Durham introduced their second-youngest child, Brendan Joseph Wahlberg, into the world. According to People, Brendan's birth was met with mixed reactions from his siblings. Although Ella Wahlberg appeared ecstatic to have a little brother, Michael Wahlberg was reportedly displeased. Nonetheless, Brendan was welcomed into the Wahlberg family with open arms, and like his older siblings, he has since found his own identity outside of his father's Hollywood status. 

As a major sports fan, Brendan is an active athlete. Though experienced in sports like football and golf, Brendan's true calling is basketball. Standing taller than his father at only 15, the future seems bright for the young athlete. When Mark isn't promoting his latest films and business ventures, he is showcasing Brendan's athletic talent on Instagram. On May 2, 2019, Mark posted a video of Brendan effortlessly making a half-court on his first attempt. Though that was an impressive feat that made his followers suggest that Brendan is the next Dude Perfect, he isn't just a trick-shot specialist. Mark took to Instagram almost a year later to show Brendan putting up an impressive three-pointer for his middle school basketball team during a game. "The Dagger!" he wrote. "My little guy sealing the victory with a three! But what's up with the flex at the end of the video?" 

Unlike Ella Wahlberg, Brendan Wahlberg is a natural driver

Despite getting his first driving lessons at a relatively young age, Mark Wahlberg has since followed a specific routine to teach his children the ways of the road. Thanks to his passion for golfing, Mark has deemed golf carts as a useful method in helping his children become comfortable with driving. According to his 2020 interview with Jimmy Kimmel, this plan backfired for Ella Wahlberg as her first time driving a golf cart almost had a disastrous ending. "We're driving in a golf cart, and we're supposed to be staying on the path, and both sides are lava, and then I told her [Ella] to slow down around a corner. She didn't," he explained. "You know, she's like, got music playing and everything. And, all of a sudden, she starts to go up on the lava, and she literally bails out of the cart." 

While Mark was thankful she didn't want to drive after the horrific experience, it seems Mark is willing to hop into a golf cart with another one of his driving students. On August 7, 2021, Mark posted a video on Instagram of Brendan Wahlberg driving him around in a golf cart with the caption: "Driving lesson! This kid's a natural." Considering his comfort in teasing his youngest son to watch the road after putting a phone in his face, it seems that Brendan has had better luck driving than his older sister.

According to Mark Wahlberg, Grace Wahlberg is his mini-me

Born on January 11, 2010, Grace Margaret Wahlberg is the fourth and youngest child of Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham. Like her older siblings, the 13-year-old is an active athlete. Instead of playing football or basketball, Grace is a thriving horseback rider. To Mark's dismay, her athletic interests just so happen to be, according to his interview with Jimmy Fallon in 2022, one of the most expensive sports to participate in. "She's already traveling the world jumping horses and doing her thing," he said. "Of course, she picked the most expensive sport possible." 

Nonetheless, the doting father supports her passion for the sport. Her success can't be ignored, as she's participated in several equestrian events, one of which her horse, Rainland Furry, was crowned champion. The time and dedication Grace spends honing her skills seem to be the culprit for her early success, which is a quality she shares with her father. In June 2023, Mark told People magazine that Grace is most like an acting superstar due to her impressive work ethic. "I called her this morning at like 10 o'clock. I wanted to catch her before she left to go to the barn. She was already at the barn on the horse," he stated. "So she's got my work ethic for sure. She does not mess around. If you've even think about getting her there late or missing something, it's a big problem."

The Wahlberg kids are not fans of Mark Wahlberg's brief music career

Mark Wahlberg has had a slew of monikers that he'd likely want the general public to forget and his kids to stay far away from. While some are inappropriate, like his portrayal of Dirk Diggler in the movie "Boogie Nights," others are a little embarrassing, like his old identity as Marky Mark. During his 2014 appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Mark expressed regret for his earlier work. "They give Justin Bieber a hard time," he quipped. "I was an absolute train wreck. Wow."

Despite his openness to his prior ventures, his children are seemingly uncomfortable with his musical history. During an interview with Access Hollywood, Mario Lopez asked the 52-year-old actor how Ella, Michael, Brendan, and Grace Wahlberg feel about his old-school rap group, to which he replied: "Oh, they're embarrassed by it terribly. Terribly embarrassed by it. ... I don't ... throw it in their face, but they get a little embarrassed about it." An example of this can be seen in 2016 when Mark appeared on The Dan Patrick Show with a then-13-year-old Ella Wahlberg. After reluctantly asking his father to rap — per the influence of the show hosts — Mark began to freestyle about giving his daughter a spanking, to which Ella seemed unimpressed. Although she'd later lean into her father's embarrassing past by regularly wearing a Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch Shirt, the same can't be said for the other four children as they'd prefer to leave Marky Mark in the past.

The Wahlbergs used the pandemic to connect as a family

Mark Wahlberg has made it known that he's a doting father at heart. Whether it be supporting their dreams or giving them space so they aren't embarrassed, Mark prides himself on being a well-balanced father. This hands itself to creating a neutral environment for his kids to not only view him as their parent, but as their best friend. So, to say they need any help developing a deeper bond with their loving father is a stretch, as it seems that Ella, Michael, Brendan, and Grace Wahlberg all adore their father. 

Their relationship reached new heights in 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, the pandemic caused an urgent decision for those who aren't essential workers to stay indoors. Although the quarantine rightfully made others lose their minds in solitary confinement, it allowed Mark and his children to connect even more than they already had. This was made apparent in March 2020 when Mark took to Instagram to show his daughter Grace Wahlberg painting his nails. Despite being considered a firm parent, Mark told Access Hollywood that this narrative slowly changed during quarantine. "They were always saying I was always very strict, and I've kind of loosened up the reins a little. Now, they think I'm just always trying to have a super fun time," he stated. "With everything that's been going on with the pandemic and stuff, we've managed to grow closer together and create a much stronger bond." 

The Wahlberg kids were the reason behind Mark Wahlberg's decision to move to Las Vegas

Mark Wahlberg appreciates what his parents did for him as a child. Due to his rough upbringing, he isn't oblivious to the privilege his children are able to have, thanks to his success. According to his interview with Esquire, the 52-year-old acknowledged that he is now in a position to provide for his kids in ways his parents couldn't when he was younger. "The biggest thing for me is, you know, as quickly as I was able to turn it around, to get from there to here, from me having nothing as a kid to me here now, providing everything for my kids, it's like, I worry that maybe they won't appreciate things," he stated. "I worry that maybe they'll have a sense of entitlement."

To his credit, Mark Wahlberg has made strides to ensure Ella, Michael, Brendan, and Grace Wahlberg's well-being is nurtured. In fact, that was the reason for his move from Hollywood, California to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2022. In addition to the area being relatively more affordable, Mark told Fox News Digital that he relocated to give his children "an opportunity to pursue their goals and dreams," which is presumably easier to do in Nevada than Hollywood. "My daughter's an equestrian. My son's a golfer. My oldest daughter, now she's off to college. My son's a junior," he explained. "There's lots of opportunity here [for them], as well for me."