Seriously, can you believe Mark Wahlberg is 46 years old? It seems like only yesterday he was dancing around in his tighty-whities and better known as the little brother of a New Kid on the Block than an award-winning actor.
Nowadays, Wahlberg is viewed as a slick movie star — and he’s pretty much all but erased his Marky Mark persona. But we’ll #NeverForget.
In honor of Wahlberg’s birthday, we did a little lite internet stalking to dig up some things you might not have known about him.
1. He’s actually not a tighty-whitey man
“I started wearin’ the longer shorts because… the regular brief underwear, they get sweaty and tend to get stretched out,” Wahlberg explained in a clip from way back in the day that popped up on The Tonight Show in 2014. “You don’t want nothin’ fallin’ out the side.”
Words to live by.
2. He can sing too
Because of “Good Vibrations,” we know that Wahlberg can rap his pants off, but he’s not a bad singer either. Remember the 2001 movie Rock Star? He did actually sing in the movie, though he admits there was someone else helping him out with the crazy high notes. But even he doesn’t know when it’s his voice in the film or when it’s his double.
“I studied with the vocal coach for six months, but we also had somebody else who sang the songs,” he told Hollywood.com when the movie came out. “But whenever we performed, we performed live, so — I’d have to pay attention to [the songs to know when I was singing]. If I could hit them all [the notes], it would only be my voice.”
3. He had a (really bad) video game
Do you recall when the video game Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Make My Video was released in 1992? That’s because it really sucked. Sorry, Marky Mark.
The premise was to put the player in the role of music video editor. Though video editing can actually be kinda fun and is something a lot of people are passionate about, this game just wasn’t executed so well. Gotta love the ’90s.
4. He’s related to author of The Scarlet Letter
Wahlberg was born and bred in Boston and his mother, Alma Elaine, is a distant relative of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who also penned the famous novel The House of Seven Gables.
Wonder what Roger Chillingworth would have thought about Wahlberg’s Calvin Klein modeling days?
5. He was considered for the Jake Gyllenhaal role in Brokeback Mountain
“I met with Ang Lee on that movie, I read 15 pages of the script and got a little creeped out,” Wahlberg said in an interview, via Uproxx. “It was very graphic, descriptive — the spitting on the hand, getting ready to do the thing. I told Ang Lee, ‘I like you, you’re a talented guy, if you want to talk about it more.’ Thankfully, he didn’t. I didn’t rush to see Brokeback, it’s just not my deal. Obviously, it was done in taste — look how it was received.”
6. The Biebs is his No. 1 fan
Several years ago, rumors started circulating that Justin Bieber was obsessed with Wahlberg — and Bieber even wanted to remake the 1996 thriller Fear. Who else is glad that one never panned out?
7. He dated Reese Witherspoon
Speaking of Fear… Wahlberg totally sparked a good old-fashioned on-set romance with his co-star, Witherspoon, and the two dated for a good portion of 1995.
8. He used to be all tatted up
Wahlberg has spent his fair share of time at the tattoo parlor. He previously had Sylvester the Cat with Tweety Bird ink, a Bob Marley tattoo with the words “One Love,” a rosary around his neck and a crucifix with the words “In God I Trust” over his heart. However, he had them all removed — and even took his kids with him to witness the painful process so they’d be traumatized into not wanting tattoos of their own.
9. He’s not a bad shot
To prepare for his character as a sniper in the film Shooter, the Oscar-nominated actor attended a long-range shooting institute and on only his second day was able to hit a target 10 football fields away. Not too shabby.
10. His family is in the burger biz
Wahlberg’s brother Paul owns a Boston-based burger chain, and there’s even an A&E reality show titled Wahlburgers that’s been on the air since 2014. It follows the hilarious relationship between Mark, Paul and their other famous brother, Donnie Wahlberg, as Paul expands his burger empire.
Originally published April 2014. Updated June 2017.