Donnie Wahlberg Dishes on Life As a Newlywed and Family Man
As Donnie Wahlberg settles into his latest role as a new husband, he’s learning just how much the little things matter.
Things like love, humor, and family, each of which are central to his professional projects like “Blue Bloods,” “Wahlburgers,” and “Boston’s Finest,” are also prominent in his personal life with wife Jenny McCarthy.
The couple, who were married on Aug. 31, was present at Canon’s Pixma Pro City Sense pop-up gallery VIP event at EpiCenter in South Boston on Wednesday night, where Wahlberg served as host and delivered an address to a crowd of photography enthusiasts.
The event, which opens to the public on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 4-8 p.m., featured photography from local artists Josh Andrus and Scott Nobles, and an interactive gallery tour preceded the reception.
Before hearing from Wahlberg at about 7:30 p.m., attendees were escorted to four sensory-triggering booths with touch, smell, taste, and sound exhibits, all of which coincided with the New England-based photography on display.
“When I was approached to be a part of this, I was really surprised because I’m not much of a photographer,” Wahlberg remarked, adding that he’s a tremendous fan of the artform.
“Then I started to do the math and I realized, I’ve been in my band for 30 years and that’s a long time,” Wahlberg, 45, said. “One of the great things about having grown up in the music business in the period that I did, was everything was printed photography. We live digital lives, but there’s nothing more powerful than a printed image.”
He later joked that he wanted to learn how to take photos of his wife, which resulted in a giddy round of giggles from the crowd.
After he humbly wrapped his speech, Wahlberg sat down with Boston.com and dished on where his life has taken him since we last chatted in Sept. 2013.
“In one short year,” Wahlberg paused, “I’m married, ‘Wahlburgers’ is now on TV and a hit show, we’re opening restaurants everywhere and I’ve probably went from the busiest guy on earth to the happiest guy on earth.”
Not a bad, eh?
“I think it’s a good trade-off,” he said. “Still busy but more happy.”
McCarthy sat nearby during the interview while Wahlberg dished on being a newlywed, his home life, his upcoming professional projects, and what exactly drew him to host the Canon event.
“I grew up working with rock n’ roll photographers who were very influential in my life,” Wahlberg said. “Working with them gave me a love and appreciation for printed photography. If it was a selfie thing or an iPhone thing, I don’t know if I would have been here.”
The fact that the event was centered on something that “made sense” to him creatively and interest-wise, and the fact that it happened to be in his hometown “made it a no-brainer.”
Boston keeps calling Wahlberg, who now lives in New Jersey with McCarthy, back.
“Boston doesn’t let you forget it,” he said. “The tough love part of Boston doesn’t let you forget where you came from, but the greatness of Boston makes you not want to forget where you came from so it all works out.”
Wahlberg is happy to give back when he can.
“If it wasn’t for people giving hands back to Boston 30 years ago, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Wahlberg said. “My brother Mark wouldn’t be sitting here and a whole bunch of people wouldn’t be sitting here, as a consequence of him and I sitting here. So it’s all giving back.
“You give back and pay it forward and somebody else finds their way to do something that might make a difference in someone’s life.”
Donnie and Mark are two of nine Wahlberg children, so it’s no wonder the New Kid-turned-actor-turned-producer/restaurant owner was quick to say that “families are most important to everyone.”
“My show, ‘Blue Bloods,’ is a huge hit because they see the family and they see the family dinners, and even if they don’t have a family they long for that,” Wahlberg said. “It draws people in.”
“‘Duck Dynasty,’ whether you agree with their politics or not, millions of people watch it because they see them having dinner together and somehow they just long for the simplicity of just being with your family,” he added. “As the world gets more complicated, the simple things get further and further away from us.”
The evening of printed photography symbolized the simplicity that Wahlberg was able to achieve this summer at home with McCarthy, her son Evan, and his son Elijah.
“It was a really important time for us,” Wahlberg said. “I see my goals shifting right before my eyes to keep working hard and keep putting positive energy out there, but also not get lost in so much work that I don’t appreciate and enjoy the very things that I’m representing in every facet of my career.”
He went on to note that “’Wahlburgers’ is about family, ‘Blue Bloods’ is about family, ‘Boston’s Finest’ is about roots and home, and all these different things are about the simple things in life: love and humor and family.
“I think sometimes I work so much I drift away from them,” Wahlberg said. “I think spending time with the family this summer has sort of helped me re-prioritize.”