Marky Mark a Daddy Dad

Mark Wahlberg and model Rhea Durham celebrate birth of first child, a girl named Ella Rae

By Marcus Errico Sep 05, 2003 7:35 PMTags

All those Boogie Nights leads to this: Dirk Diggler is a daddy.

Mark Wahlberg and his model galpal, Rhea Durham, are celebrating the birth of their first child, a daughter named Ella Rae.

Wahlberg's publicist confirmed Thursday that the tyke made her grand entrance Tuesday in Los Angeles. No other details were disclosed.

Tragically, the birth came on the same day that Wahlberg lost one of his sisters, according to the Boston Herald. Deborah Wahlberg went into a Boston hospital for what she thought was a kidney stone. While there, she died, possibly of heart attack. She was just 43.

"It was the best day of his life--and the worst," a family friend tells the Herald. "Every year on the kid's birthday, he'll be reminded of [his sister's death]."

Mark Wahlberg did not comment on his sister's death, but he is expected to be back in his native Boston for funeral services Friday and Saturday. Brother Donnie is taking leave of shooting on NBC's Boomtown so he can be back with his family, as well.

Durham will reportedly remain in the couple's Los Angeles-area home with Ella.

Wahlberg began dating Durham in 2001, after his split with actress Jordana Brewster.

"It was sex at first sight," Mark Wahlberg joked to People about his first meeting with Durham. "I mean, we didn't have it, but I wanted to."

During the course of their sometime stormy relationship, he and Durham have uncoupled and reconciled. They currently play house together in L.A., but have no immediate plans on getting married.

"Rhea is what I was looking for,"Wahlberg told People. "She has really strong morals and high standards, and I like that."

Before getting his Diggler on in Boogie Nights, the Wahlberg, 32, modeled his Calvins alongside Kate Moss, and, as Marky Mark, sang with the Funky Bunch. Now he's paying the bills with big-screen roles in such films as Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, Planet of the Apes and, most recently, this summer's hit heist caper The Italian Job.

Durham, 25, is a big-time model who wants to make like her beau and become an actress. She has traipsed the runway for Victoria's Secret, graced the covers of fashion magazines (Marie Claire, Elle, Vogue) and decorated ads for Clinique and Revlon.

Wahlberg will next be seen on the big screen in I Love Huckabee's, an ensemble comedy also starring Naomi Watts, Dustin Hoffman and Jude Law and directed by Wahlberg's Three Kings' helmer, David O. Russell. Huckabee's, which just wrapped and is slated to premiere next year.

With Huckabee's in the can, he can now concentrate on his concept of daddyhood. When asked by People if he plans to spoil his baby girl, Wahlberg chirped: "Of course I will! I spoil my dogs."

(Originally published September 5, 2003 at 4:20 p.m. PT.)