Donnie Wahlberg is continuing to mourn the loss of his mother, Alma Wahlberg. ET’s Kevin Frazier spoke to Donnie just weeks after Alma’s April death, and the 51-year-old actor emotionally praised both Kevin and his fellow Entertainment Tonight co-host, Nischelle Turner, for their tribute to his late mom that aired on the show.
“Your tribute to my mom was so sweet, Kevin,” Donnie said. “I don’t mean to get emotional on you guys, but she loved your show. She’s a big fan of yours and of course Nischelle is like her daughter. You captured it so perfectly.”
“Your final words in that tribute where [you said], ‘You did good, Alma,’ that was the last thing I said to her,” he continued. “… When you said those words, I lost it. I’m losing it a little now. Because that’s all she wanted to know… that she raised good kids and that she did a good job as a mom. That’s what I wanted her to know at the end.”
Donnie, who was one of Alma’s nine children, noted that, after hearing that part of the tribute, both he and his wife, Jenny McCarthy, “literally cried for a half an hour.”
“You hit it so perfectly… You captured her so well. That’s who she was,” he said. “She had a love of life and a humility… that I know I got from her. I try hard every day to carry on that spirit.”
One way Donnie strives to carry on his mother’s legacy is through his professional success — from his boy band, New Kids on the Block, to his current TV work — all of which he credits to her.
“It was in my mother and in my father I rationalized the successes of New Kids. Because I did not do anything in my short 18 or 19 years to deserve such success, but they did a lot in their years,” he said. “My mother did so much for so many — things that she would never talk about or brag about — that I really believe that my success was the universe and God’s way of paying her back.”
“I always thought that it had nothing to do with me, that I was just a vessel to reward her for all the good that she brought into the world,” Donnie continued. “I think she showed me and reminded me of that. It brings me tremendous gratitude.”
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Donnie plans to channel that gratitude into his work, including his CBS series, Blue Bloods, which will air its two hour-long season 11 finale on May 14.
“It’s unlike any Blue Bloods we’ve ever done,” Donnie teased of the finale. “… I think is gonna be really great for our fans who’ve been so loyal and so good to the show for so many years. I think they’re gonna have a real treat to have two straight hours of Blue Bloods.”
After more than a decade on Blue Bloods, and with season 12 already confirmed, Donnie said that he still loves working on series, something he credits largely to his co-star, Tom Selleck.
“It’s been so great to do the show,” he said. “You’d think after 11 years sitting at a table with Tom Selleck it might get old, but it never gets old. I never stop looking to my right at that dinner table and saying, ‘Man, I’m working with Tom Selleck.’ He’s such a professional. I call him Dad now. He calls me Son. That’s how we talk to each other off camera.”
“When I see him in the hallway or we get to work, I say, ‘Hey, Dad.’ At first he used to kind of grumble at me like, ‘Heh, heh, heh, this music guy’s kind of weird,’ and now he calls me Son,” Donnie continued of his co-star, who plays his father on the series. “He’ll come in and give me a big hug. I get to hug it out with Tom Selleck. That’s a big deal ’cause he’s not the huggy type. He’s a very rugged guy.”
On top of Blue Bloods, Donnie serves as the host of HLN’s Very Scary People, which takes a look at some of the most terrifying killers in recent history. Donnie believes that the show, which is gearing up for the premiere of its third season, is popular because viewers have an “inability to comprehend” how murderers think.
“I think, in some ways… we want to somehow gain some knowledge and understanding into what makes [killers] tick, so we could probably be less scared of them and what they do,” he said. “…I certainly understand the the fear and the trauma that comes with the show. It hasn’t escaped me. It certainly had a few eye-opening moments.”
“That’s the crazy thing about the show. As much work, and research, and effort as we put into the show, we can never fully ever understand what makes… their brain work the way it does,” Donnie added. “We just can’t figure it out.”
Very Scary People premieres May 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HLN.
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