Mark Wahlberg Celebrates Daughter Ella’s 18th Birthday With Tribute to Late Sister

Actor Mark Wahlberg honored daughter Ella's "bittersweet" birthday in a touching Instagram tribute to his late sister Debbie Wahlberg, who died the same day Ella was born on Sept. 2.

By Samantha Bergeson Sep 03, 2021 3:11 PMTags

Thinking of their guardian angel. 

Mark Wahlberg shared a moving Instagram tribute to honor his daughter Ella Wahlberg's 18th birthday on Sept. 2. "Happy B day my Ella. 18 years old, wow how time flies. So proud of you!!" the Joe Bell star captioned. 

Ella was born the same day that Mark's sister Debbie Wahlberg died at age 43 of a heart attack and septic shock while being treated for a kidney stone. "Always A bitter Sweet day," Mark continued in the post with a series of heart emojis. "Missing my big sister Debbie, Ella's Guardian angel." 

Birthday girl Ella responded, "Love u dad."

Fellow celebrities Mario Lopez and Jeremy Renner also congratulated Ella on her milestone birthday in the comments. 

Mark's wife Rhea Wahlberg commented with a crying face, cross and heart emojis. The couple, who celebrated their anniversary on Aug. 1, also share sons Michael, 15, and Brendan, 12, and daughter Grace, 11. 

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Rhea shared her own birthday post to their eldest child: "How are you 18!?!?" Rhea wrote. "Happy Birthday my sweet, smart, FUNNY, beautiful, kind & no crap taking girl! Make 18 your best year yet!!"

The Wahlberg family lost their matriarch Alma Wahlberg earlier this year in April. "My mom really went into a big, deep depression after my sister passed away," Mark previously revealed to Entertainment Tonight in July 2019. "It was the same day my daughter [Ella] was born. It was a long time ago, but no parent should have to lose a child."

Mark told USA Today in July 2021 that his latest film Joe Bell and recent losses have affected his own parenting style. "I was more strict with my kids, and I think after making this movie, I said, 'OK, well, let me loosen the reins a little bit,'" Mark explained. "The best way to get them to be completely open with me and communicate with me about everything is be a little softer."