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Singer and actor Donnie Wahlberg was in the 1980’s pop group New Kids on the Block (reunited in 2008) and is the brother of actor and rapper Mark Wahlberg.
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Singer; actor. Donnie Wahlberg was born on August 17, 1969, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a predominantly Irish-American suburb of Boston. He was the eighth of nine children; his younger sibling, Mark Wahlberg, is also a famous entertainer. Wahlberg's mother, Alma Wahlberg, worked as a nurse's assistant at nearby St. Margaret Hospital, and his father, Donald Wahlberg, was a truck driver and active member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union. With so many children to provide for, the Wahlbergs were often strapped for cash. Wahlberg's mother recalls, "When I think about it now, I realize how hard it was, but back then we never even realized it! We thought everyone had all these kids, everyone lived like this."
Although the family was extraordinarily close, attending church together every Sunday, arguments among siblings were frequent. Donnie was looked to as the family peacemaker. "We'd fight over clothes, or who had the prettier girlfriend, which of us was the best athlete, stuff like that," he recalls.
In the 1970s, when Wahlberg began elementary school, Boston was embroiled in fierce controversy over the mandatory busing of schoolchildren to enforce the desegregation of public schools. But busing put Donnie Wahlberg's life on a course toward fame and success. Wahlberg was bused more than half an hour each way to William Monroe Trotter School, a mostly black elementary school in Roxbury. On those long bus rides, and at Trotter School, Wahlberg developed a deep affection for the soul and rap music popular among his black friends. Wahlberg's musical idol was Michael Jackson, and he taught himself the moonwalk and saved his allowance to buy a red leather jacket like the one Jackson wore in the iconic "Thriller" music video. Soon Wahlberg and Danny Wood, a friend also being bused to Roxbury, began spending their afternoons composing rap lyrics instead of their homework. "Being bused to school in Roxbury was the greatest thing that ever happened to us," Wahlberg says.
Wahlberg's parents divorced when he was 12 years old, and he and Mark went to live with their mother while the rest of their siblings either moved in with their father or were already out on their own as young adults. Donnie and his friend Danny Wood advanced together to Copley High School, where they formed a rap group named the Kool Aid Bunch. They kept up rapping, Wahlberg says, "not because we thought we'd be rap or dance stars someday, but just because it was really fun and we loved the girls screaming for us at parties."
In 1984, at the age of 15, Wahlberg's friends persuaded him to audition for well-known music producer Maurice Starr.
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