If there’s a guy who’s made becoming a Hollywood megastar—and avoiding being typecasted—look easy, it’s Mark Wahlberg. If there’s a guy who’s successfully reinvented himself again and again, it’s Mark Wahlberg. If there’s a guy who, at 45, looks like he could take on any 20-something, it’s… you get it.
The musician turned underwear model turned actor turned producer turned entrepreneur (we’re tired just listing all his hats—and that’s not even all of them) has been an idol for guys since Lone Survivor and The Fighter, and a fixation for women since he appeared in Calvins with Kate Moss. So, to honor him, we’re paying homage to his success and highlighting why he’s the hardest-working man in Hollywood.
1. He’s a hustler at heart
He was a hard-driving point guard as a kid in the Boston Neighborhood Basketball League, a wide receiver in neighborhood football games, and the youngest of nine children. Even today, gatherings at the Wahlberg’s can turn from sit-down dinners to wrestling matches—real quick. “We’ll be at my mother’s house, and I’ll have my older brother in a headlock, and my mother will be like, ‘What are you doing?’” Wahlberg said in his 2015 July/August cover story.
2. He’s always flexing his acting chops
Mark Wahlberg is 45 years old. That’s also the number of films he’s acted in throughout his career, according to IMDB. In 2006, he appeared as a curse-happy Massachusetts State Police detective in The Departed, nabbing himself an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and an National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor award. He’s also dipped into comedy with roles in The Other Guys, Ted (and Ted 2), and Daddy’s Home. Most recently, he’s taken on the battle between humans and everyone’s favorite cars-turned-robots in the latest installment of the Transformers franchise.
3. He’s not afraid to be behind-the-scenes
Aside from acting, Wahlberg produces. He’s been a part of 23 projects in all, and they’re nothing short of impressive: Lone Survivor, The Gambler, Entourage, and Patriots Day about the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Wahlberg proves again and again his talents know no bounds.
4. He’s in the restaurant business
With his brothers Donnie and Paul, Wahlberg co-owns Wahlburgers locations in Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York (on Coney Island), and Pennsylvania. It was his idea to expand the restaurant in Hingham, Massachusetts, which brings us to the fifth reason: He’s ventured into reality TV…
5. He’s in the television business
Wahlburgers isn’t just a burger chain—it’s also a TV show, where he appears with brothers Paul and Donnie (and family). It shows a glimpse of Wahlberg’s family life (and that of Donnie’s too), as well as a look at the personal and professional life of Paul—the chef of the family—as he expands their restaurant business. Wahlberg said in our May 2016 cover story: “I’m not doing it to be on TV. Self-promotion is my least favorite part of the job. But the show is an opportunity to build the business and promote all my other brands, too.”
6. He’s a family man
Wahlberg has four kids with wife Rhea Durham: two boys (Brendan and Michael) and two girls (Grace and Ella). Every business or film he takes part in is for them, he says.
7. He’s in the beverage business
Mark Wahlberg joined forces with Sean “Diddy” Combs to launch the electrolyte-enhanced beverage AQUAhydrate. When training for The Fighter, Wahlberg drank about a gallon of water a day, he told us in his May 2016 cover story. He found when he started drinking water loaded with electrolytes and minerals, he noticed he was getting out of bed easier and recovering faster.
8. He’s taking on the supplement business
Together with business partner Tom Dowd (who worked for 25 years at GNC), Wahlberg launched Performance Inspired, a line of natural products targeted toward high school and collegiate athletes. The sports nutrition line isn’t about building “monster size,” he says, but rather burning fat, building muscle, and getting athletes a bit stronger and faster. The introductory lineup has a 25g protein bar, Performance 25g Whey (with digestive enzymes and 5g of fiber), and a pre-workout product loaded with safe, quality ingredients.
9. He’s always ferocious about his fitness
Known for his ridiculously jacked arms, Wahlberg is no stranger to staying in excellent shape. In his July/August 2017 cover story, he talks about waking up at 4 a.m. each morning, hitting the gym for an hour, and fitting in an hour of “cardio golf. “We’re always busy; we always play fast. It got started while I was in training on Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Wahlberg says. “I’d hit the ball and just sprint to it.”