Mark Wahlberg says no wedding bells — for now

06/13/2008 at 02:34 PM ET

Markwahlberg Expounding on statements he made earlier this week, Mark Wahlberg told People yesterday that he and fiancée Rhea Durham are most definitely planning a trip down the aisle.  The 36-year-old actor revealed that the couple, who expect a son in September, are aiming for a "very intimate" summer 2009 wedding.  The decision to delay their nuptials was mutual, and based on their shared desire to "succeed" despite the fact that both grew up in "broken homes."

[Rhea] wants to wait until after the baby. We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve waited and worked hard to really strengthen our relationship. We want it right…We’re ready. I’m ready.

The new baby will join big sister Ella Rae, 4 ½, and big brother Michael, 2, at home; Mark said that his elder children will "of course" be active participants in the wedding, "if they want to be."

Source: People; Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty via People


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Kaye on

I totally value their decision to wait on getting married until they’re really ready and support every family’s right to make decisions based on what’s best for them and for their children. I’m a little off-put, however, by Mark saying that part of their reluctance to get married is that they are both from “broken homes.” With two–almost three–children together, Mark and Rhea splitting up would result in a broken home regardless of whether or not they are married.

Yonni on

I agree with you Kaye. I know that when my parents divorced it got ugly. I am not saying it couldn’t get ugly if two unmarried people separate, but if they don’t have mutual assets it is a lot easier. My parents divorced when I was young, and it was brutal.

emily on

“We’ve waited and worked hard to really strengthen our relationship. We want it right”

Shouldn’t it have been “right” before they brought children into the equation? I guess this makes me old fashioned…

Shaunie on

I completely respect their decision to not get married [right now].

Not being married doesn’t mean you still can’t have a lasting relationship. Look at Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

Ivey on

I’m old fashioned too Emily, I just don’t understand the difference between marriage and a committed relationship. Same thing so why is their so many people afraid of marriage. And children are so important, but it is ok to have them, even if you are not sure the relationship is going to work.

Makes no sense to me!!

Courtney on

I’m with you Emily!

I didn’t want to be the first to say something about bring kids into a situation where your not sure if its going to work out in the long term.

It seems like people now days are very flip about both marriage and having kids. Like its no big deal…when in fact it is…

Hilary on

I have no problem with the fact they are not married. One does not have to be married to be in a committed, life-long, loving relationship.

However, this comment bugs me:

“We’ve waited and worked hard to really strengthen our relationship”

Shouldn’t they have worked hard on strengthening their relationship BEFORE kids? Seriously?

Renee on

Ivey and Emily,just because people have kids before they get married, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad decision. If they are happy with their relationship now, why should they rush to get married. Marriage doesn’t equal happiness all the time. Marriage is difficult and just because you have kids with someone doesn’t mean you should get married to them. Since a good portion of marriages end in divorce, good for Mark and Rhea for waiting until they both felt ready.

brannon on

Out of curiosity – how would a marriage certificate make them better parents?

Kate on

I’m thinking that what he meant by the “broken home” comment is that they both come from homes where having a marriage didn’t keep the family together, and if that’s the case, why would being married make any substantial different in their current relationship.

People should get married because they want to, not because they feel pressured by society or their families to be married. I think when he says they want it right, he’s more likely saying that he wants their decision to get married to be based on what they want, instead of what they or others think they should do.

Angel on

I have never understood the reasoning of people who have children together and then say they won’t get married because they are afraid they won’t stay together. (I know these aren’t his exact words but it’s basically what he is saying). If you have children and you break up, even if you do not have a piece of paper, the children are going to be affected. Wouldn’t it have been better to just go ahead and get married and make a real commitment to one another before bringing children into the mix? Then you have a reason to try your best to work things out.

jasmine on

I must be old fashioned too, even though I’m only 18, and I agree with Emily.

Nicole on

I’m so sick of celebrities thinking that marriage is bad until they’re ready, but bringing children in the world whenever is totally cool.

Lucy on

Ivey, if marriage and a committed relationship are the same thing, why get married?

They seem comfortable with their situation, I’m not sure why people feel the need to judge.

Carly on

I understand where Mark and Rhea are coming from. My parents divorced when I was a junior in high school, and it wasn’t just the marriage that ended. They haven’t haven’t made a shared parenting decision since–and there have been numerous, numerous times when my siblings and I needed both our parents. My sister and I have both considered not getting married so that if our long-term relationships don’t work out (and we’re both currently in one, but hers is much more serious than mine), we would be able to focus on remaining friends/parents, rather than a nasty divorce proceeding. It’s not a decision either of us are going to make lightly, but I consider it a viable option.

Sarita on

I don’t think marriage is important but I do believe commitment is important.

If you are not sure about your relationship and it is not strong enough yet to get married than it also is not strong enough yet to have children.

I have no idea how his minds works, I would like to hear from hear what he means and how what he says makes sense to him.

alexp on


Marriage is simply a public (and legal) acknowledgement of your commitment for each other. If he had said, “we don’t need a marriage certificate to say that we’re in a lifelong commitment to each other. We know that we are, and our children are proof of our commitment,” then I would be fine with it. But instead they have all these kids and it comes across like he still isn’t sure if he’s committed to her (at least that’s been my impression in past interviews).

He’s absolutely right that broken homes suck, but they don’t suck nearly as bad if there aren’t kids involved, so it would seem to me that you would make sure that you have a good relationship and that you really are committed to that person long-term before you have a baby, not to mention several children.

Candace on

“Broken homes” can come from where ever children are involved, married or unmarried! The way I take what Mark said is this: If they DON’T get married but wind up split up then their children WON’T come from a broken home?! I don’t think it’s fair to judge marriage by how many divorces there are. If you’re going to say that marriage doesn’t mean anything to a the development of a healthy family then study ALL family relationships, married and unmarried. I have no proof, but I have NO doubt that MORE unmarried relationships turn out rotten in the end. Even WORSE if children are involved.

I believe strongly in marriage. There is nothing wrong with saying you need to be married before you have children. That is the way familys work, the way it’s worked for thousands of years. How can we all of the sudden say that marriage doesn’t matter anymore? We don’t know the FAR-reaching consequences this blaise attitude towards marriage is going to have on our future as a society.

Lucifer on

alexp, I agree with you to some extent, in that he worded it very strangely and made it seem like he hadn’t made up his mind. However, my initial post was responded to someone who asserted that marriage and long-term relationships are equal, therefore everyone in a long-term relationship should get married. This idea makes very little sense to me…but anyway.

FWIW, I think many people are assuming that their kids were planned. To me it sounds as though the first (and maybe even the second) were a (pleasant) surprise…and so when they became parents they were still deciding whether their relationship was “forever”. That’s ok. Not every kid is born into a stable, committed relationship, but they seem to be pretty clear that that is where they’re at now (which is why they’re considering marriage).

Colby on

Did anyone ever think that maybe they didn’t plan the kids and that it kind of just happened? Accidents happen…Maybe getting the preparations squared away for bringing children into the world mattered more than getting married. Just throwing another point out there, give them some slack people. They are a beautiful family… on

For those who think a commitment and marriage with a piece of paper are the same thing, why NOT get married?

brannon on

But don’t you think a lot of people rush into marriage because of ticking clocks? If you’re not ready by 35 should you forfeit your right to be a parent? Just seems judgemental to say when people should feel ready to marry. Their kids are obviously their focus

Inge on

in holland its pretty normal to first have kids and then get married..
You can get a registred partnership a wedding isnt really necessary.

im not planning on getting married EVER, but i do want kids so.

Jen DC on

I’m with the confused parties here – how is it that you have three children already, but *now* you’re ready to make the marriage commitment? You’ve made the single most important commitment to come out of a marriage – to share in the raising of three kids…

It’s comparable to when Sean Combs (or whatever he’s calling himself now) gave an interview in Essence and said that he needs to learn how to be a good boyfriend before he would marry someone – ostensibly Kim Porter. What? You learn how to be a good boyfriend *before* you start bringing kids into the picture. Just like you “strengthen your relationship” before bringing kids into it. Was it an experiment that’s now been deemed successful?

It seems selfish to me, just too selfish to bring children into it. But to each his or her own.

Jessica on

We all choose to live the types of lives we want to live. It may seem pretty simple to all of us from the outside looking in. But I’m sure Mark and Rhea are making the best decisions for them and their children.

susan on

This isn’t the way I would go, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t right for them. I would be married before having children, but each couple must choose what is right for them. There is clearly love in that household, and respect – and perhaps that is the most important thing of all.

lucy on – Because it’s a hassle. Because it’s unnecessary. Because it’s meaningless (to certain individuals I mean, not to everyone). Because it’s an archaic institution dating back to when marriage meant women became the property of their husbands. Because if the relationship ends, being married makes everything more complicated. Because marriage isn’t an institution that is even available to all people in loving, long term relationships (eg gay/lesbian couples).

There are plenty of reasons that people think marriage isn’t worth the status society gives it. If you are the type to think marriage and LTR are equal, why would you bother? It makes no sense.

Just putting this out there.

Renee on

I agree with Inge. I don’t ever want to get married but I will have kids one day. I’m looking for a partner not a husband. Having kids before you get married isn’t a bad thing. Accidents do happen. I also think it’s not fair for people to force other people to get married. Marriage isn’t for everyone and that should be respected. If you are a strange believer in marriage, fine but not all of us are and we have just as much of a right to have a family as you do.

Avery on

Mark always catches flack for his stance on a marriage between him and Rhea, and I think it’s unnecessary.

As a poster said before, I don’t think his first two children were planned, but none the less, he seems to be a great father. If I remember correctly, a little while after Ella was born, he and Rhea broke up and then got back together. I think at that time, the two of them really worked hard to focus on strengthening their relationship together for themselves so that they could better their child/future children. Now, they’re probably at the point where they’ve come to a compromise or understanding about various situations and scenarios that were causing conflict amongst them, before.

Even if they never do get married and have five more kids, the only thing that’ll matter is that they’re good parents. I understand being scared about a committed relationship, marriage or not, when you yourself have come from a broken home. Both of my parents have been divorced multiple times and broken off relationships with partners whom they had a child/children with. None of these splits was easy on anyone and still, to this day, numerous fights occur over the pettiest things.

Either way, I’m skeptical about marriage, as well. My first child was born in February but I have no intention of marrying her father. It’s not necessary, in my opinion, since we’re both dedicated to being the best parents possible to her. And at the end of the day, for me, my ex, Mark, Rhea, or any parent out there, that’s all anyone could want.

Renee on

I meant strong believer in marriage. Although I do think some people who believe in marriage have strange ideas about it which was what I was going to say before I changed my mind. Marriage isn’t a fix for relationship issues, it doesn’t equal a happy family, or equal better morals.Here is a great site to look at about people who choose not to get married on

Lucy, I’m not one who does think that a committed relationship between a man and a women equals marriage…that was why I made my original comment. I know some do, but my point was why the hesitation then…and you’ve explained your side, which I respect. But it seems a lot think it’s just a piece of paper and it’s much, much more! At least to this married lady…who isn’t her husband’s property, by the way.

We have different beliefs and are free to have them…that’s one of the major beauties of America! Happy Flag Day!

camom77 on

For all of those who think marriage is nothing, you obviously haven’t ever had to deal with the fact that your partner, in case of illness, you don’t get to make decisions in the hospital. He/she dies, you don’t get to make the arrangements. He/she dies you don’t get the government benefits. You are legally a nobody. Sure you might have had kids together, but that means nothing if they aren’t of age. His/her parents get to do everything and you have nothing. Marriage is legal power. Why do you think gays and lesbians are fighting to get it? Because we want a huge fancy costly reception? No because we want that legal power.

Ivey on


I made the comment because he states that he wants to get married, if he didn’t want to get married, then people wouldn’t be commenting about it because a committed relationship with children is very normal these days. He is saying that he wants to marry when he feels, it will last, and my arguement is why would you have children in a relationship, that your not sure will last weather your married or not. And I don’t think all three babies are oops babies.

As they say to each their own, but I just was put off by his reasoning.

inge on

@ camom77
dont know how it is in other countries, but in the netherlands you can get a contract for living together.. dont know how its called in english.. or a registred partnership.

With this you do have legal power if something would happen.

I dont see myself getting married, i just dont like all that stuff and i dont think it adds something to your relationship.

Kate on

Lucy, I agree with all your posts.

I respect people’s views on what is right for themselves and why they made some decisions for themselves, but let’s not all assume that what is right for you is right for everyone. Lots of people choose not to get married and maintain life long committed relationships. Lots of people don’t *believe* in marriage. Just because it’s a very old institution does not mean its always the right choice.

The reverse of “For those who think a commitment and marriage with a piece of paper are the same thing, why NOT get married?” is why GET married if you already have the commitment in the relationship?

Mark also never said they waited to see if the relationship “would last”, he said the word “succeed”. Lots of marriages last, not so many can be deemed as successful.

I wish them luck, in whatever decision they make.

Lucy on

camom77 –

I’m not sure what the laws are in America, but defacto relationships in Aus have the same legal rights as married couples. However, not all same-sex couples have access to those rights, so I agree that it needs to be extended further. – you’re absolutely right. It’s great that we can all make the choice for ourselves 🙂

And, I can’t believe I’ve replied 4 times to a post about Mark Wahlberg. I don’t even really like the guy!

Sarita on

Cammom77: That might be the case in the US, but in many other countries marriage is not needed for all those things. That it is in the US just shows how old fashioned the US in regards to relationships.

Why not het married if you are in a comitted relationship anyway? Because it’s expensive, unnecesary and it doesn’t add anything to the relationship.

Candace on

I don’t care if someone calls believing in marriage as the fundmental unit of society “old fashioned.” I will err on the side of thousands of years of history than just the past couple decades.

m-dot on

Marriage is a union God created. Therefore, it’s a lot more than simply signing some form. It’s supposed to be till death do you part. So, those celebs who like/lust/stongly care for each other…may not feel confident enough in their relationships to commit to a lifetime together with the other person. A lifetime is a long time! lol I can’t blame them.

However, I do feel that if he/she is not good enough to marry…why in the world would they be good enough to have and raise your children?

Kate on

Marriage was a governmental and societal institution long before it was religious. To say it is necessarily a union that god created is not true. Every society everywhere, regardless of the presence or absence of religions beliefs, has had marriage.

I understand the importance of some people to be married in a church, “before god”, but to say that marriage in and of itself is some sort of religions institution is not true.