Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon: A Story of Two Lookalikes with Different Life Paths

Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon are two actors who are often confused for each other due to their similar looks, but their lives have taken very different paths.

Damon comes from a wealthy family of three siblings, and at 16, he was a successful Harvard student.

On the other hand, Wahlberg grew up in a large family with eight siblings, faced tough times, dropped out of school at 14, and served time in prison at 16 due to various offenses.

Hollywood actors Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon have a striking resemblance and are often mistaken for one another. Both stars have commented on their look-alike status and shared candid responses on different occasions.

In an exclusive interview in 2013, Damon was asked if people ever confused him with another actor. Sounding quite amused by the question, the “Interstellar” alum said it happened to him all the time.

Actors Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon attend Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics on June 15, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

“I get Mark Wahlberg a lot, and I’ve talked to Mark about it,” revealed Damon. Even more interesting was that Wahlberg reportedly told Damon how people often approached him and said they loved his performance in “The Bourne Identity.” He further mentioned:

“So, Mark and I have a deal: If we are mistaken for one another, we have to be as polite as possible. We have to keep it going!”

Damon said he usually tried to be as nice as possible in such situations, and if people kept the thing going, he simply played along. Similarly, Wahlberg shared his views on the hilarious case of mistaken identity and people thinking he was Damon. “People always say they love me in ‘The Bourne Identity’… And I just say, ‘Thank you,’” he said. He also explained how people confused Damon for him and complimented his performance in “Ted,” adding:

“[Matt and I] just laugh it off. I never correct anybody, I just say, ‘Thank you very much. Watch me in ‘The Bourne Identity 4.’”

Despite being Hollywood look-alikes, the actors’ life paths differ significantly. Matthew Paige Damon is a renowned American actor, screenwriter, producer, and philanthropist born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 8, 1970.

Thereafter, Calvin Klein decided to cast him as a model for their underwear advertisements on billboards, television, and print media.
Damon’s dad, Kent Telfer Damon, was a realtor, tax preparer, and stockbroker, while his mom, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, was an early childhood education professor at Lesley University. His elder brother, Kyle, born in 1967, is a successful artist and sculptor.

Once upon a time, Damon lived with his family in Newton. After his parents’ divorce, Damon and his brother moved back to Cambridge with their mother, where he made a best friend, Ben Affleck.

At Cambridge, the Jason Bourne actor attended the Cambridge Alternative School and the Cambridge Ridge and Latin School. Afterward, he attended the prestigious Harvard University and studied English there.

Mark Wahlberg (Marky Mark) at Celebre Las Fiestas Patrias '91 at Belvedera County Park in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Wahlberg, born on June 5, 1971, was raised in the Dorchester district in Boston, Massachusetts. He lived with his parents, Donald Edward Wahlberg and Alma Elaine Wahlberg, and his nine siblings. His father served in the armed forces during the Korean War before working as a delivery driver.

His mother was a bank clerk and briefly worked as a nurse’s aide. She went on to remarry and admitted she was to blame for everything wrong her son did in his teenage years because she was so engrossed in her troubles that she couldn’t offer him or his siblings the care they needed.

In an interview in 2009, Wahlberg commented on his mother’s response, saying he didn’t blame her for his mistakes. Holding himself accountable for his actions, Wahlberg explained that he had always been taught the difference between right and wrong, and his upbringing wasn’t to blame for his follies.

Wahlberg attended Copley Square High School in Boston and witnessed his four siblings come in and out of prison for minor crimes. It wasn’t long before he followed their example and reportedly ditched school, joining a group of street gangsters.

In their company, Wahlberg was said to have stolen from stores and admitted to coveting a pair of shoes and fleeing the scene to avoid being reprimanded. At 13, he had a chance to join the boy band “New Kids on the Block” with his brother, Donnie Wahlberg, but walked away only two months later.

While on the streets, the “Uncharted” alum reportedly drowned in drug dealing and addiction. By 16, he left school, indulged in blue-collar jobs, and continued to perform petty crimes on the side. Because of his alleged misdemeanors, he often had a run-in with the local police.

A young Wahlberg was also accused of chanting racist and discriminatory remarks at a few black children on a field trip. He was reportedly convicted to two years in jail for pleading guilty in an attempted murder case of two Vietnamese men.

Sources reported that he allegedly hit the men with wood and shouted profanities at them. The “Fear” star also allegedly punched another Vietnamese man, hurting his eye. However, his charges were reportedly dropped after he spent 45 days behind bars.

Portrait of Mark Wahlberg at the Riviera Theater in Chicago, Illinois, October 13, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

During this highly challenging time, Wahlberg worked as a bricklayer, a trainee mechanic, and a hospital aide to make ends meet. Hailing from a working-class family, he was the youngest of nine children. He witnessed his parents’ divorce as a kid and left school at 14.

Wahlberg’s difficult and troubled childhood reportedly involved drug addiction, stealing, and violence. He was only 16 when he served prison time for a reported assault.

According to Wahlberg, his parish priest’s guidance and support helped him bid farewell to the life of crime and stop hanging out with his old friends, who were said to have been furious at him.

In 2017, the “Father Stu” actor reflected on his past life, saying a voice inside his head repeatedly warned him he would be in prison for his crimes. He recalled how his three brothers and sister had reportedly served prison time, and eventually, he also found himself locked behind bars with his street gang.

Wahlberg described how it took him a long time to realize that the life he was living wasn’t the one he wanted. After ending up in the worst place and the wrong company, he vowed never to return to his old ways and became determined “to stay on the straight and narrow.”

Wahlberg and Damon’s successive journeys in their acting careers deserve a special mention. When Damon was in Harvard, he dropped out to pursue acting in Los Angeles. He was a student at Harvard from 1988 until 1992.

Early in his career, he expected the 1993 drama movie “Geronimo: An American Legend” to be a box office hit. Unfortunately, the film didn’t perform according to his expectations.

Little did he know that only four years later, he would experience success and fame first-hand with another drama film, “Good Will Hunting.” Directed by Gus Van Sant, the 1997 movie is centered around a young and brilliant mathematician who seeks a psychiatrist’s support during an emotional crisis.

The film garnered positive reviews and was a stellar success, but even more interesting was that it was written by Damon and his best buddy, Affleck.

Actor Mark Wahlberg during an interview with host Jay Leno on October 28, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

In 1990, Wahlberg became known as “Marky Mark” after he rebranded himself and joined a team of dancers and rappers, introducing the world to his funky side. His physical fitness amassed much more admiration than his rapping talent.

Thereafter, Calvin Klein decided to cast him as a model for their underwear advertisements on billboards, television, and print media. Eventually, Wahlberg witnessed a kind of success he didn’t receive from his music stint and decided to pursue acting.

Despite finding success in their acting careers, Damon and Wahlberg differ in their belief systems. While Wahlberg is open about his love for God and faith, Damon has a somewhat complex relationship with religion.

Per his IMDB profile, Damon identifies himself as an agnostic and is rarely seen discussing faith and religion openly. On the contrary, Wahlberg has been quite vocal about being a Catholic and deems religion the most important part of his life.

In a 2018 interview, the actor discussed how he received a huge wake-up call as a teenager when serving prison. As the jail doors closed on him, he said he knew he had to turn his life around.

He noted how he had always looked up to the wrong people, but when the dust settled, everything became clear to him. Later, the “Shooter” alum changed his company and started seeing his local priest, after which his life gradually changed.

Initially, Wahlberg said he struggled to stay on the right path because he lived in the same neighborhood and passed the same street folks daily. But with his confidence and self-belief, he found support in his massive community, which helped him turn his life around.

The “Patriots Day” actor says he begins his day by kneeling and bowing in prayer, reading scripture, and attending mass. After that, he feels he can overcome any obstacles in his path and conquer the world.

Matt Damon on the movie set of "The Instigators" on April 07, 2023 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

In addition to being one of the highest-grossing stars of all time, Damon has found success in his personal life. While appearing on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2011, he shared the story of meeting his wife, Luciana Barroso.

It was 2002, and the “Ford v Ferrari” actor was working on a movie with the Farrelly brothers, which was supposed to be shot elsewhere but ultimately moved to Miami. Damon, who said he had never explored Miami before, found himself there with the rest of the crew members.

One evening, some crew guys dragged him to grab a few drinks at the local bar. While initially reluctant, Damon said he was left with no choice but to join them. At the bar, he ended up meeting his future spouse, who was a bartender at the time.

“I literally saw her across a crowded room,” expressed a baffled and lovestruck Damon while narrating the incident to DeGeneres. “Eight years and four kids later, that’s my life,” said the “Invictus” star, adding that had he not been at the bar that night, he would have never met his wife.

In 2018, Barroso recounted how Damon came and hid behind her bar from people pestering him for pictures and autographs. After small talk, the Argentinian woman said she put him to work, and he began making drinks, having trained as a bartender for a movie years ago.

At the time, Barroso was a single parent to a four-year-old daughter, Alexia, which reportedly attracted Damon to her. When her future husband asked her to hang out with him after she finished her shift, Barroso told him she couldn’t because she had to care for her little girl.

“That was one of the things he loved, that I had a daughter. [Matt] said: ‘I love that you’re a mom and that’s your priority,’” recollected Barroso. After the incredible time the pair had that evening, becoming husband and wife seemed inevitable.

In a 2021 interview, Barroso gushed about Damon, adding he treated their oldest daughter, Alexia, like his own and she couldn’t have asked for a better stepdad for her than him. She also called her loving husband a complete blessing for her girl.

Meanwhile, Damon, a doting dad to their four daughters—Stella, Gia, Isabella, and Alexia—noted how he leaped into fatherhood with his wife’s support.

Damon felt like an extra dad to Alexia in the beginning. He said his heart became full of parental bliss, drawing similarities between himself and The Grinch from the children’s movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

While talking about his movie “Stillwater,” in 2018, the Oscar-winning actor said he felt terrible about breaking an important family rule. He explained how his family had decided not to be apart for more than two weeks, and he would never violate it again.

Matt Damon and family arrive for Amazon Studios' world premiere of "Air" at Regency Village Theatre on March 27, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

In 2010, Wahlberg described how he met his wife, Rhea Durham, and realized they were meant to be together. The actor said they crossed paths in New York while he was doing a press junket. When he invited her to join him, she agreed.

Later, he asked her to accompany her to church the next day, and she replied in the affirmative. After their first date at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Wahlberg said he knew she was the one but had to ensure he could be the person meant for him.

In another interview in 2018, the “Ted 2” alum said he owed everything to his wife, as she had helped him become a better man and created a fulfilling life with their children. He shared how, before meeting Durham, he wasn’t ready to settle down and knew she was someone he could trust. When asked what made Wahlberg want to wed his wife, he replied that they had been like a married couple and simply had to make things official.

Besides being a devoted husband, the Oscar-nominated actor is also a loving dad to four children. In 2022, Wahlberg explained why he decided to leave Los Angeles with his family. Years ago, the “Mile 22” star said he moved to California to pursue acting. He expressed that his decision to move to Nevada was to “give my kids a better life.”

The proud dad’s decision was solely for his children’s sake so his daughter, an equestrian, his son, a basketball player, and his younger son, a golfer, could pursue their dreams.

On another occasion, Wahlberg said his mission in life was to raise his children well and inculcate good values in them. Viewing fatherhood as the most rewarding role, the actor noted that he wished to lead by example and stay committed to his family.

Despite their striking similarities and differences, Wahlberg and Damon love their families. They both have adorable children and consider their wives their favorite women.