How ‘Transformers’ star Mark Wahlberg turned into a restaurateur
BYJeanette Settembre
Mark Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager in "Transformers," out Wednesday.

Mark Wahlberg’s career has always been about transformation.

Now more than ever. He’s starring in the big screen film franchise “Transformers,” and just opened the latest outpost of his upscale burger chain born in 2011.

That’s when he transformed himself into a restaurateur. The recipe for all his success? Keep it real.

“Never pretend like you know what's going on if you don't,” he told the Daily News at a grand opening party for his new Wahlburgers on the Upper East Side.

Mark Wahlberg's chain Wahlburgers expands to Upper East Side

“Because then you're setting yourself up for failure. Don't be afraid to ask questions.”

We’re not. So we asked if he’d ever go from beef patties to politics.

Wahlberg at the new Upper East Side location of Wahlburgers, his family's burger chain.

(Angus Mordant/for New York Daily News)

“No. I'm happy doing what I'm doing,” he said. “I can have a lot of influence by creating opportunities for others. I'm good.”

Very good. He turned his troubled youth in Boston, where he served time, into a lucrative music and modeling career with Calvin Klein in traffic-stopping Billboards where he appeared in little more than tighty-whities and a smile.

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“I made a lot of mistakes and I was fortunate enough to turn my life around,” he acknowledged.

Wahlberg’s rap career took off in the early 1990s with his namesake hip hop group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Next, Hollywood came calling with the revealing role as a porn star Dirk Diggler, infamous for his anatomy, in “Boogie Nights.”

Now, 20 years later, the 46-year-old father of four is proud of his work -- he just doesn’t want his kids to get too knowledgeable about his particular body of work.

 “My first love is acting, but I'm also a very serious business man. The show was always designed to promote and build the business," Wahlberg told the Daily News of his reality show.

(Angus Mordant/for New York Daily News)

“I don't want them knowing anything about ‘Boogie Nights,’ but these things are inevitable,” he said.

“If they are privy to looking into my past it's okay as long as they see that dad is a really focused and disciplined, hardworking devout Catholic, husband and father then that's okay.”

The Oscar nominee is also a former producer of the successful HBO series “Entourage,” and occupies the No. 20 spot on Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities list for 2017 raking in a reported $68 million.

On occasion, he enjoys blowing some of his money on "family vacations, philanthropic efforts and, on a personal note, wine and golf." (He once played with Trump).

“All the real money I'm making I’m putting back into the business,” he said.

 Wahlberg will star in the fourth “Transformers” movie replacing Shia LaBeouf when the high-action film hits theaters Wednesday.

(Industrial Light & Magic/AP)

Wahlberg is a lead investor in “Wahlburgers,” also owned by his chef brother Paul and Donnie. The family’s franchise has 14 locations across the country, including its newest one on the Upper East Side, and two in Canada with international expansion on the way in Asia.

“Wahlburgers,” the A&E reality show based on his family burger biz, is currently on its seventh season. Mark says filming the show is the best marketing tool.

“I never wanted to be on television,” he admits.

“My first love is acting, but I'm also a very serious business man. The show was always designed to promote and build the business.”

He’s certainly got a lot on his plate. Wahlberg will star in the fifth “Transformers” movie – and his second with the franchise – when the high-action film hits theaters Wednesday.

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