Who is Donnie Wahlberg from Wahlburgers? New Kids on the Block star’s backstory

Donnie Wahlberg
Donnie Wahlberg, in a promotional photo for Wahlburgers on A&E

A&E networks entertaining reality series revolving around Donnie, Paul and Mark Wahlberg’s burger restaurant chain continued this week with Donnie scouting locations for a new site.

But who is Donnie Wahlberg, and what’s his backstory?

Donnie was born in 1969 and grew up in Dorchester, Boston, alongside his eight siblings and three half siblings.

His Irish/French-Canadian mom was a bank clerk and his Irish/Swedish dad was a delivery driver but the pair divorced in the 80s.

Donnie was a troubled child who luckily found an outlet in performing at school and became involved in theatre.

He formed a teen vocal group with the kids he grew up with which later became New Kids on the Block.

The band’s first album was not initially a success but the single Please Don’t Go off of their second album hit #1, sending teenage girls wild.

Success continued with classic songs like The Right Stuff and Step by Step but after selling 70million albums the boys had grown out of their boy band image and split in ’94.

Donnie stuck with his bad boy image for a while and had some minor brushes with the law which led him to do public service ads as penance.

Donnie turned to producing, rapping and modeling but a role as a tough guy in movie Bullet (1996) alongside Mickey Rourke and Tupac signaled a new career path as an actor.

Roles in movies like Ransom (1996) quickly followed but it was a small part in the terrifying opening to supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense (1999) that proved his chops as a terrific character actor.

More horror followed, playing Det. Mathews in Saw part II, III and VI and on TV Donnie has appeared in Band of Brothers and crime show Blue Bloods.

Donnie was married to Kimberly Fey from 1999 to 2010, with whom he has two, sons but he is currently married to actress and presenter Jenny McCarthy. The happy pair met through McCarthy’s radio talk show.

In addition to Wahlburgers, Donnie is currently playing a scripted version of himself new CBS comedy Return of the Mack.

Wahlburgers airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on A&E.

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