Jim Wahlberg

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Jim Wahlberg
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BornAugust 19, 1965
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Activist
  • Speaker
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Writer

James M. Wahlberg (born August 19, 1965[1] is an American activist, speaker, director, producer, and writer.

Early life

Wahlberg was born in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston to Donald and Alma Elaine Wahlberg. He is the fifth of nine children, with siblings Arthur, Paul, Robert, Tracey, Michelle, Debbie, Donnie Wahlberg|Donnie, and Mark Wahlberg|Mark.[2] As a young person, Jim was in and out of juvenile detention centers and experienced homelessness for a brief time at the age of twelve.[1] Essentially living on his own throughout his teens, Wahlberg struggled with drug and alcohol addiction every day of his life.[1]Wahlberg’s record grew to include arrests for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct which then led to two jail sentences before the age of twenty-two. Wahlberg eventually found faith in prison, ultimately ended the cycle of addiction in his own life and would go on to advocate for others to do the same.[3]



Wahlberg currently serves as the executive director of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation (MWYF) which was created to improve the quality of life for inner-city kids.[4] He is a devoted advocate for underprivileged and misguided youth and has devoted his life to the betterment of youth, specifically through faith.[1] As the executive director of the MWYF, Wahlberg was able to establish a relationship with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Walmart to provide youth summits across the country to help spread awareness about opioid addiction.[5]United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions and First Melania Trump spoke at anti-opioid events produced by DEA 360 and The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation to a mixed reception.[6] Those organizations took the symposium to a digital platform in 2020-2021 and established the initiative “What Every Family Needs to Know About Opioids” partnering with the local news channels, and DEA 360.[7]


Wahlberg established himself as an author in August 2020, debuting his memoir The Big Hustle: A Boston Street Kid’s Story of Addiction and Redemption.[8][9] The book summarizes the struggles of his drug addiction and the redemption story of his faith.[10] The memoir debuted to praise from critics for its brutal honesty and transparent storytelling and was sold out on Amazon (company) in the first week.[11] Jim Caviezel wrote the foreword to the book.[8]

Film and television

Wahlberg followed suit like brothers Mark and Donnie and entered the film industry through the creation of Wahl St. Productions, a full-service multimedia production company that independently produces films, television, and web content.[12] Wahl St. Productions is credited for films such as The Circle of Addiction: A Different Kind of Tears(2018), If Only (2015), and What About the Kids? (2020)[13] The films showcase the harsh realities of addiction and have featured family members of people who have died of an accidental overdose as extras and actors.[14] What About the Kids? showed the effects of addiction through the lens of a child.[15]Wahlberg’s films and documentaries aim to dissolve the stigma of addiction and substance use disorder.

Walhberg is also known for being a personality on the A&E Networks|A&E show “Wahlburgers” which took a deep dive into the lives and families behind the successful restaurant chain.[12] A special episode featured Wahlberg as he successfully ran the Boston Marathon in tribute to those that lost their lives in the Boston Marathon Bombing a year prior.[16] In 2015, an exclusive Wahlburgers episode aired the Festival of Families celebration in Philadelphia, where Jim and brothers Donnie and Mark met with Pope Francis, thus furthering Wahlberg’s relationship with his faith.[17]

Wahlberg is an executive producer of The Lookalike starring Justin Long. He is credited as an executive producer on Wahl Street, a docu-series that aired in 2021 on HBO Max that followed his brother Mark Wahlberg's business interests.[7] Jim was featured on the long-running Christian Broadcasting Network “700 Club” twice.[16][18]

Personal life

Wahlberg married long-time girlfriend Bernarda aka Bennie in 1988.[4]The couple lives in South Florida and has three children: son Daniel Wahlberg (b.1997) and fraternal twins Jeff and Kyra (b.2001). Son Jeff is an actor and has appeared in films such as Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019), Cherry (2021 film)|Cherry (2021), and Future World (film)|Future World (2018).

Wahlberg is a devout Catholic. He gives all praise and credit to Jesus, God, and the Catholic Church for his life.[19]

Wahlberg is also the host of The Bottom Line, a podcast that highlights the stories of individuals and their struggles and eventual breakthroughs with addiction.[1] The show featured athletes and entertainers such as Darryl Strawberry, Chris Mullins, Brandon Novak, and many more.[4]

Wahlberg has been outspoken about the need for additional recovery and 12 step options during the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2020, he wrote an opinion piece in USA Today about the dangers of isolation and addiction amid the pandemic.[15][20] In an interview with Raymond Arroyo for The Eternal World Television Network, Wahlberg opens up about his history of crime, abuse, and meeting Mother Teresa while in prison; he states “It was the absolute most defining moment in my life, it's the moment that everything changed for me.”[21]


  • The Lookalike
  • If Only (film)|If Only
  • The Circle of Addiction: A Different Kind of Tears
  • What About the Kids?
  • Wahlburgers
  • Wahl Street
  • I Played The Giants on a Monday Night
  • Toyed
  • Instant Gratification''
  • A Feeling from Within


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Interview: Jim Wahlberg talks recovery, filmmaking and prayer". America Magazine. November 6, 2020.
  2. Cramsie, Debbie (October 17, 2020). "Hustled by the Spirit".
  3. "'I don't think I would have lived much longer in the streets': How faith saved Jim Wahlberg". Our Sunday Visitor. August 21, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 https://jimwahlberg.com/
  5. "MISSION". Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.
  6. Barker, Jeff. "First lady Melania Trump draws boos at Baltimore youth summit on opioid awareness". baltimoresun.com.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Stopping the Cycle | Jim Wahlberg and America's War on Addiction". January 10, 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wahlberg, Jim (June 25, 2020). "The Big Hustle: A Boston Street Kid's Story of Addiction and Redemption" – via Amazon.
  9. "The Big Hustle: 3 Minutes with Jim Wahlberg". LisaHendey.com. November 4, 2020.
  10. "James M. Wahlberg". IMDb.
  11. "Author and Producer Jim Wahlberg Shares Journey to Sobriety Through Faith With New Book and Film" – via www.youtube.com.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "About". What About the Kids?.
  13. "The Circle of Addiction: A Different Kind of Tears (Short 2018) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.
  14. "Jim Wahlberg filming follow up film to prevent opioid addiction". www.yahoo.com.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "South Florida Short Film Shows the Effects of the Opioid Epidemic Through the Lens of a Child".
  16. 16.0 16.1 ""Wahlburgers" 4th of July Special (TV Episode 2014) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.
  17. Blumberg, Antonia (September 14, 2015). "Mark Wahlberg, Aretha Franklin To Attend Pope Event In Philadelphia". HuffPost.
  18. ""The 700 Club" Episode dated 9 March 2021 (TV Episode 2021) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.
  19. "The Powerful Catholic Conversion Story of Jim Wahlberg". The Catholic Talk Show. June 1, 2020.
  20. "Jim Wahlberg offers help to those suffering from substance abuse". October 1, 2020.
  21. "World Over - 2020-09-17 - Full Episode with Raymond Arroyo" – via www.youtube.com.

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