Born in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Robert is the brother of Arthur, Jim, Paul, Tracey, Michelle, Debbie (died 2003), and actors/musicians Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. He also has three half-siblings from his father's first marriage: Donna, Scott, and Buddy. His mother, Alma Elaine (née Donnelly), was a bank clerk and nurse's aid, and his father, Donald Edmond Wahlberg, Sr. , was a teamster who worked as a delivery driver; the two divorced in 1982. His father, a U. S. Army veteran of the Korean War, died on February 14, 2008. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, while his maternal ancestry is Irish, French-Canadian, and English.