These days, she goes by Rhea Wahlberg, but in the late ‘90s, Mark Wahlberg’s wife was better known as Rhea Durham—the top fashion model being splashed across the covers of some of the biggest publications in the world. Her life changed in 2001, however, when she met the actor at a press junket in New York City.
“I asked her if she wanted to come out with me, and she said yes. Then I asked her if she wanted to come to church with me the next morning, and she said yes again,” the Fear star revealed to PEOPLE in 2010. “So that was our first date: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.”
The pair went on to get married and have a family. Two decades later, they're still going strong. “I owe a lot to my wife. She has helped me become the man that I am and created a beautiful life for me and our children," Mark shared with The Sun in 2018. He added: “I also knew that she loved me for who I am and that she was someone I could trust. Until I met her, I wasn’t ready to have a family.”
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Rhea.
She became a model at the age of 14.
Like many models, Rhea got her start in the industry at an early age. “I got started, somebody found me in a mall. In a shopping mall when I was 14,” she said in a 1997 video interview. “I went to Paris when I was 17.”
As ModelScout owner Ward Cottrell, whose company is crediting with finding Rhea, would later tell the Orlando Sentinel, "Her look was so of-the-moment. She has a classical beauty, but it's just 'off' enough to be edgy. That's catapulted her to the top. It's a timing thing—the right look at the right time," he said.
By the late ‘90s, she was a top name in her profession, appearing on the covers of publications such as French Vogue and ELLE, and walking the runway for the likes of Victoria’s Secret.
She’s a Mom of 4
In addition to having a high-profile career, Durham is also a mom to the couple’s four children, Ella, 18, Michael, 16, Brendan, 13, and Grace, 12. According to Mark, it's a role that fulfilled a lifelong dream for his wife. "Rhea always wanted to be a mother," he told The Sun in 2018. "She had a job, but her mission in life was to be a mother and to be a wife."
As Rhea explained to Us Weekly that same year, the couple's brood certainly keeps her plenty busy. “Four is a lot!” she told the outlet. “Especially as they are getting older, there is a lot more responsibility. It’s a daily fight to keep everyone on track.”
She’s a Business Woman
In 2018, Durham launched her own handbag line, Ella Grace by Rhea Wahlberg. Named for her two daughters, the collection, which is now defunct, was a labor of love for the Victoria’s Secret alum. "I literally sit down at my breakfast table and design everything. I do it by pencil,” she previously told NBC Boston.
She also spoke to Us Weekly about Ella Grace, noting that the designs, which included a studded eponymous bucket bag, focused on “high-quality and incredible style” that Rhea said she was proud to put her family name on.
She’s Been Married to Mark for 12 Years
The twosome were together for eight years before tying the knot, and they celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary on August 1, 2021. Both Mark and Rhea shared sweet social media tributes to each other for their big day. “Happy anniversary baby. No matter what, I’m yours and you’re mine,” Rhea wrote via Instagram.
She’s a big sports buff.
A quick scroll through her Twitter account will tell you that Rhea is a bit of a sports fanatic. But she said as much herself in a 2018 interview with NBC Boston. She was referenced as a “die-hard Patriots fan” and called the team’s CEO, Robert Kraft, her “secret boyfriend.” "He's amazing. I love him. He's just so charming, and such a sweet man," she said.
It’s not only football that has her heart, either. Mark revealed that he had big plans to take his wife to a Clippers game while appearing on Ellen in 2015, adding, “She loves basketball.”
She’s From Florida
Though she saw a lot of success while abroad, Rhea actually hails from Lakeland, Florida, where she reportedly grew up as the eldest of three children.
She Has Regular Date Nights With Her Hubby
Despite their busy schedules, the pair always make time for what matters—like date nights, “every Thursday. We'll leave the house in the late afternoon and go to an early movie or just hang out somewhere,” Mark shared with Redbook in 2012. After that, the pair likes to share a meal and talk. “But even when we go out, we like to get home to put the kids to bed,” he said.