Mark Wahlberg may be one of Hollywood’s most influential actors/producers, but his life still revolves around his four children.
“I think the most important thing is to always be involved in every aspect of their life. To give them enough trust that they can share things with you,” Wahlberg told the June/July issue of Esquire, in which he poses on the cover with one of his sons sitting atop his shoulders.
“I don’t want them to be terrified of me, you know? But I don’t want them to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it, either, because they can’t,” he said.
Once known as the bad boy rapper Marky Mark, Wahlberg, 42, is now married to model Rhea Durham, and is father to Ella, 10, Michael, 8, Brendan, 5, and Grace, 4.
He’s come a long way from his working-class Boston childhood, growing up the youngest of nine siblings.
“I think, for the most part, I had a pretty good childhood. It wasn’t until we got older that we realized we didn’t have what a lot of other people had,” Wahlberg told Esquire.
The family never went hungry, though.
“It worked out because my dad drove a truck delivering school lunches, so that meant we got a lot of school lunches,” Wahlberg recalled. “We ate a lot of bologna sandwiches, but they also had those little Oreo packs in there sometimes.”
Now, even though his kids don’t want for anything, Wahlberg tries to pass along lessons to them, like getting their education.
Recently, Wahlberg earned his high school equivalency diploma online.
“I can’t tell my kids to go to school and get an education if I don’t have a diploma,” he told Esquire. “They’d start thinking, why do we need to go? You didn’t go and you turned out all right. But I’m proud to have it. If I want to go on and further my education and study film or whatever, I can do that.”
Wahlberg said he makes sure he’s around when his kids wake up, which means sometimes going to bed after dinner, at 6:45, and rising at 1:30 a.m. to fit in his workout.
Almost without fail, the actor attends Catholic mass every morning — or stops outside briefly for a prayer if he’s in a rush. The family attends mass together on Sundays.
“I worry that maybe they won’t appreciate things,” he told Esquire about his children’s life of plenty. “I worry that maybe they’ll have a sense of entitlement. You don’t wanna give your kids everything without giving them the tools to be great people.”