By Fred Schruers

If the dark secret of Donnie Wahlberg's long and successful showbiz career is a predilection for energy drinks, no one working on today's photo shoot is about to give him grief for it. Since turning up a few hours ago, Wahlberg has been a model of friendly comportment. Throughout multiple costume changes and a succession of both still and video sessions, he's been laughing, solicitous, and just plain eager to help.

Donnie Wahlberg in a henley top

Henley top, Dolce & Gabbana. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Donnie Wahlberg is this gregarious and generous despite what would seem to be an exhausting schedule. When his week of 10-hour-plus days playing Blue Bloods detective Danny Reagan on a New York set comes to a close, he flies back to Chicago, where he lives with his wife, actress Jenny McCarthy, his 17-year-old son, Elijah, and her 16-year-old son, Evan, before returning to the city on Sunday.

"Even if I work Thursday and can't fly home with her [McCarthy spends midweeks on the set of her Sirius show in Manhattan], she'll book a flight that gives her a couple hours to spend with me on our set on her way to LaGuardia," he says. "We—with our sons—really do everything to be together."

Donnie Wahlberg laughing in a hoodie

Pullover hoodie by Vince. Jeans by J. Crew. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

And when the show is on hiatus, rather than kicking back on a beach, Wahlberg can frequently be found touring with the long-lived band New Kids on the Block, which originally launched him (and, circuitously, his brother Mark Wahlberg) into fame.

Nine seasons into the Blue Bloods life, Wahlberg clearly enjoys his life, wherever he happens to be. When he's complimented for his great attitude during the photo shoot, posing repeatedly with good humor in between riffing with co-star Bridget Moynahan, he smiles and responds, "Who am I to give anyone a hard time?"

You and Bridget seem to have such an easy way working together.

We have a great friendship. We did a pilot together in 2008 that I executive-produced called Bunker Hill. When the Blue Bloods offer came along, I immediately called her, and I said, "You have to play the sister."

She said, "I already passed." She was worried it was going to shoot in Canada, and she had a young child and didn't want to have to commute. I said, "I guarantee you, we won't go to Canada ... because Tom Selleck is never going to do a show in Canada. Knowing him, he will fight to do it in New York, because he wants it to be authentic."

Bridget Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg smiling in navy blue clothes

On Moynahan: Asymetrical gown by Michelle Mason. Sandals by Miu Miu. Earrings, Moynahan's own. On Wahlberg: Tuxedo and tuxedo shirt, Brooks Brothers. Shoes by To Boot New York. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

She and I started out as friends coming out of tough relationships, as single parents, and became friends and confidants and watched each other go through other relationships and then ultimately find spouses. Bridget and I have gone through this parallel journey as friends and have been there for each other.

WATCH: Go Behind The Scenes With The Blue Bloods Cast On Their Stylish Photo Shoot

Donnie Wahlberg in J Crew and Amiri jeans

Pullover by J. Crew. Jeans by Amiri. Chelsea boots by To Boot New York. Sunglasses, watch, and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Given that you live in Chicago, how do you feel about shooting in New York?

There's nothing like shooting here. I get energized on the streets. And it's such a big city, there's so much going on, and of course our characters' jobs as police officers is to control what's going on. In my music career, how do I get control of 15,000 screaming people in an arena and get them to follow along where I want to take them during a song or a moment or an entire concert? I think that's what I do in Blue Bloods, but in a different way.

How much have you been influenced by other legendary on-screen tough-talking detectives?

There are moments when I'll play around and may say, "I'm going to go a little Columbo [Peter Falk] in this moment," but generally I play the character as a straightforward guy who cuts to the chase.

Danny's first regular partner, played by Jennifer Esposito, helped rein him in. Does Marisa Ramirez's Maria Baez do the same?

The beauty of having had these different partners is that they each bring something different to react to. Jennifer made boring lines hysterical; she made throwaway lines authentic. She was a great partner, and is a great actor and friend. When Marisa came along, I knew immediately she would be a lifelong friend. Marisa came in, and she was just a solid person and actor, a solid partner on camera and off.

How would you like to see Danny and Baez's relationship develop?

I would like them to connect a little more—not in an intimate way like Jamie [Will Estes] and Eddie [Vanessa Ray], but to really share with each other. I think if Danny confides in anyone about the loss of [his late wife] Linda, for example, it would be her. I'd love to explore that.

You've talked about what a great acting partner Amy Carlson made as Linda, before she left the show last season. What was it like for you as an actor to have it fall on your character to explain that she had died?

I got really teary in that scene. For that whole episode, when Linda's death was first revealed, I was also on tour with my band. I literally came from an arena packed full of thousands of screaming people, got on the tour bus, drove to the set, pulled up next to the makeup trailer, then walked onto the set and had to do the first scene—in a psychiatrist's chair—revealing that Linda was dead.

I had to walk this tightrope of emotions and make it plausible. In the later dinner scene, I was really emotional. I sat there remembering the seven years we'd spent working together, thinking, She's not here, and I just let my heart feel what it felt.

Three black and white images of Donnie Wahlberg

Henley top by Dolce & Gabbana. Jeans by J. Crew. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Season 9 was very much about Danny figuring out that he can still do the job without Linda as his touchstone. What's that been like for you?

I resist when Danny wants to quit. It's a struggle for me. My wife, Jenny, actually helped me with that, because she'd seen an episode where Danny was going to quit and become a private security guy to make more money, and she said, "That was my favorite episode I ever saw, before I even met you. That the guy's going to quit and make money for his family—that struggle is fascinating to me."

So when Linda died, I think that struggle Danny goes through was real, because it goes back to what's similar between Frank [Selleck] and Danny. We do not like self-pity. It is the worst thing to play. Alarm bells go off for both of us. But I embrace the challenge. I'll say, "OK, let me try to play that Danny's thinking about quitting, but try to avoid the self-pity and just make it more matter-of-fact."

There are those darker shades turning up in recent episodes, with a psychic who summons up Danny's unresolved feelings about his wife. Do some of the plotlines test your emotional resilience?

I've learned that I can't bring the show home every night. I have to separate from it, or I'll get tired of it. So part of it is my not reading the scripts in full—sometimes by necessity, but also it's become really fun and a great exercise to have elements of improv class in showing up on the set. By changing my approach every season on the show, it allows me to make the show fresh and fun every single year.

The writers really do trust me to play around with the words and tie it all together, because it's tough. Even though we're very much a family show, there's a lot of police procedure, and to make that sound conversational and authentic is not easy.

So I don't just say the [lines], I give Danny an opinion. The DNA test came back, and I'm thinking, I knew that son of a bitch was guilty. It's not just, "Let's talk to the electrician, maybe he booby-trapped the wires," it's, "That son of a bitch electrician, I knew a guy in high school who booby-trapped the wires to make his lights go out so he didn't have to do his homework." I'm constantly adding like that.

A Smiling Donnie Wahlberg

Shirt by Bonobos/Nordstrom.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

In one episode, Frank confided that he thinks Danny is the son who's most like him.

I do think Danny's all in like Frank. To be a uniformed officer like Frank and make it all the way up to commissioner, you've got to be all in. It's your life. I don't think Danny wants to be commissioner one day, but I think he will stay in uniform as long as he can.

The very first dinner scene was the first scene we shot. Do you know how hard it is to show up, 10 actors, and Tom at the head of the table, and I've got to have this knock-down, drag-out with Bridget? If I'm not ready to go full-out in that scene, the show doesn't work. Danny has to be hardheaded and fiery in front of Frank. And I had to be willing to do that in front of Tom. Any good actor would know that's what you have to do—you commit.

Those dinner scenes make up some of the most moving moments of the episodes. Danny is seldom the first to speak, but we often watch him react.

A lot of that's improvised. Someone else might kick me under the table and say, "Stop adding those improvs," but Tom doesn't. And six months later he'll say, "I love the way you fill in all the holes in the dinner scene. It needs you, you keep it alive." What a great thing that the head of the table just trusts me. It means the world to me.

What's your relationship like with him offscreen?

Tom's a real solid individual. After we watched the pilot, he said to me, "I'm really good at making scripts better," and I thought he was going to offer me, "So if you need help, come to me," but that's not what he said. He said, "I notice that you are too, and I'm going to count on you to keep running through walls and do what you do for the run of this show." And I said, "I'm there, man, I got your back." And that's been our relationship ever since.

A Smiling Donnie Wahlberg in a Tuxedo

Tuxedo and shirt by Brooks Brothers. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Any behind-the-scenes hilarious moment you can share?

There have been times when Marisa and I laugh probably for an hour straight. We might tell jokes between takes, or someone goofs up a line. Sometimes she'll pronounce a phrase backwards—like, for "the blue shirt," she might say, "the shoe blurt" or something, and we literally have to shut down production for about 20 minutes until we get it out.

It has to be said that you seem like a man very happy in his work.

When I really started becoming an actor and being taken more seriously—even when I did The Sixth Sense, and that was a real breakthrough—I really loved the idea of TV. And TV wasn't cool back then, we didn't really have all these cool cable and streaming shows.

But there's something about a one-hour drama that just makes total sense to me, and probably because I'd been touring and living out of a suitcase, the idea of showing up to work in the same place every day was something that appealed.

Donnie Wahlberg in a grey suit by J Crew

Suit by J. Crew. Shirt by Paul Smith/Nordstrom. Ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

We're looking forward to plenty more of Blue Bloods. Is it safe to say both Danny and Donnie are all in?

You know, I never could understand when an actor would say they got burnt out on a TV show. It never made sense to me. We fight so hard to get these jobs. I worked for years just to get an acting gig, and I'm hearing of actors quitting shows because they're bored. And I think, What the hell are you talking about?

Last question: If you could change one thing about your character, what would it be?

There's a lot of humor in law enforcement, to get through some of the hard times. I would write him a few more jokes.

SEE MORE: Blue Bloods Cast Members Slay In This Stunning Photo Shoot

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison. Originally published in Watch! Magazine, May-June 2019.

Stream full episodes of Blue Bloods on CBS All Access.

Photography by David Needleman.


Ten years in, Blue Bloods continues to deliver on family dinners, a few feuds, and some serious fun. Here, we celebrate the spectacular stars who keep bringing everything they have to the table.

Join Watch as we celebrate Bridget Moynahan, Donnie Wahlberg, Vanessa Ray, and Will Estes with out-of-uniform fashion photos (captured by celebrity photographer David Needleman) and highly classified excerpts from our May-June 2019 cover story.

Watch Blue Bloods on Fridays at 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Bridget Moynahan had an early window into her Blue Bloods character

Bridget Moynahan in a red dress

Dress by by Olivia von Halle. Boots by Dr. Martens.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Born in Binghamton, New York, Moynahan is a middle child—the only girl—whose Irish Catholic upbringing often echoed the Blue Bloods family and her character Erin Reagan Boyle. "We ate dinner together like the Reagans," she tells Watch, "but it wasn't as combative."

Donnie Wahlberg still gets his groove on

Donnie Wahlberg wearing sunglasses dressed all in black

Pullover by J. Crew. Jeans by Amiri. Chelesea boots by To Boot New York. Sunglasses, watch, and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

When he's not busy playing detective Danny Reagan on Blue Bloods, Wahlberg often tours with New Kids on the Block, the band that first cast him—and his brother Mark—into the limelight.

Vanessa Ray and Will Estes were unsure about on-screen coupling

Photo of Vanessa Ray and Will Estes

On Ray: Top by Snidel. Jacket by Loewe. Necklaces by Parpala Jewelry. Rings by Astrid & Miyu and Joanna Laura Constantine. On Estes: Suit and shirt by Kenneth Cole. Tie by Joseph Abboud.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

Team #Jamko admits that there was hesitation at first when the Blue Bloods producers decided Eddie Janko and Jamie Reagan—who tied the knot in the Season 9 finale—would become an item. Vanessa Ray says "There was pushback because we thought, If you put us together, then where do we go from there?" Will Estes adds that "We were nervous about what it was going to mean once we were together."

But obviously the #Jamko connection worked out just fine

Vanessa Ray and Will Estes of Blue Bloods.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

On Ray: Dress by Billy Reid. Shoes by Oscar Tiye. Belt by Deborah Drattell. Earrings by Accessory Concierge and Alexis Bittar. Ring by Officina Bernardi. On Estes: Suit by Paisley & Gray from Men's Wearhouse. Shirt by J.Crew. Shoes by Kenneth Cole. Socks by Joseph Abboud. Watch by Kronaby. Pocket square by Hugo Boss.

Bridget Moynahan is bookish about shoes

Bridget Moynahan sitting wearing striped shirt and black leather boots

Pajama top by Olivia von Halle. Men's chinos by J.Crew. Leather boots by Dr. Martens. Earrings, Moynahan's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

This April, with co-author Amanda Benchley, Bridget Moynahan published her second book, Our Shoes, Our Selves: 40 Women, 40 Stories, 40 Pairs of Shoes. Inspired by an evocative decluttering spree, she collected unique shoe stories and photographs from 40 renowned women, including Barbara Bush, race car driver Danica Patrick, and architect Maya Lin.

We just love her rockin' these Doc Martens!

Black and white photo of Bridget Moynahan wearing Doc Martens

Dress by by Olivia von Halle. Boots by Dr. Martens.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Vanessa Ray believes in seizing the moment

Vanessa Ray in flowy pink wrap dress

Dress by Agent Provocateur. Bra top by Morgan Lane. Shoes by Chloe Gosselin. Earrings by Glamrocks Jewelry. Ring by Carolee.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

When Vanessa Ray arrived for her Blue Bloods callback, the casting director got stuck in an elevator and offered to reschedule. The actress shares that her confidence at an all-time high that day and she was ready to perform, so she waited out the two hours it took the fire department to resolve the situation.

Being Eddie Janko was meant to be

Dress by Norisol Ferrari. Earrings by Carolee. Ring by Officina Bernardi.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

Will Estes knows the secret of success

Will Estes black and white portrait

Blazer by Selected Homme. Shirt by Joseph Abboud. Jeans by Mavi. Watch by Kronaby.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

"The drama and gravity of what cops do for a living is always an arm's length away from our stories," Will Estes says of finding inspiration in NYPD's finest. "Maybe that's why our show has gone on for so long. There's so much there at our fingertips in the real world that we can draw from."

Donnie Wahlberg has Windy City roots

Donnie Wahlberg wearing gray suit

Suit by J.Crew. Shirt by Paul Smith/Nordstrom. Ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Although Blue Bloods films in New York City, Donnie Wahlberg lives in Chicago with his wife, actress Jenny McCarthy, her 16-year-old son Even, and his 17-year-old son Elijah. He flies home every weekend.

Bridget Moynahan has model behavior

Bridget Moynahan smokey eye black blouse

High-neck top by Vera Wang. Earrings, Moynahan's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

She's a natural in the front of the camera. Bridget Moynahan started her career as a fashion model and then got her big acting break when she was cast as Natasha on Sex and the City. The exposure led to an expanded part on the show, and then film roles in Coyote Ugly; I, Robot with Will Smith; and The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck.

She know how to strike a pose

Bridget Moynahan smokey eye black blouse

High-neck top by Vera Wang. Earrings, Moynahan's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Bridget Moynahan has a fitness secret

Bridget Moynahan in black lace dress

Lace dress and satin bra by Dolce & Gabbana. Shoes by Miu Miu. Earrings, Moynahan's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

"I like mashed potatoes, but you can't eat them for four hours and stay in shape," she says of the Reagan family's weekly dinner scenes, which can take hours to film. "So mostly I just try to move the potatoes around with my fork."

Donnie Wahlberg leads with his heart

Donnie Wahlberg picture staring into camera

Henley top, Dolce & Gabbana. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

When Blue Bloods first revealed the death of Danny Reagan's wife Linda (played by Amy Carlson), Donnie Wahlberg says, "I was really emotional. I sat there remembering the seven years we'd spent working together, thinking, She's not here, and I just let my heart feel what it felt."

These on-screen siblings are the real deal

Bridget Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg of Blue Bloods.

On Moynahan: Asymmetrical gown by Michelle Mason. Sandals by Miu Miu. Earrings, Moynahan's own.On Wahlberg: Tuxedo and tuxedo shirt, Brooks Brothers. Shoes by To Boot New York. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Vanessa Ray and Will Estes inspire the Blue Bloods writers

Vanessa Ray in a black dress and Will Estes in white suit.

On Ray: Dress by Snidel. Corset by Deborah Drattell. Earrings and ring by Carolee. Bracelet by Jen Hansen. On Estes: Suit and shirt by Carlos Campos. Watch by Kronaby.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

"Aside from the romance, there are so many times one of our conversations will end up in the story," says Vanessa Ray. "I'll look at a script and be like, We just had this argument or We just talked about that thing!"

Bridget Moynahan trusts her acting instincts and digs deep

Bridget Moynahan wearing faux fur leopard coat

Slip dress by Olivia von Halle. Faux fur leopard coat by Michelle Mason. Leather boots by Dr. Martens. Earrings, Moynahan's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

"There's a level of vulnerability in some performances I see that I am appreciating more and more," Bridget Moynahan. "Vulnerability has a stigma of being weak, but it's inspiring."

Donnie Wahlberg likes to laugh

Donnie Wahlberg in a hoodie and jeans.

Pullover hoodie by Vince. Jeans by J. Crew. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Who's the biggest goofball on set? Cast members dish that it's definitely Donnie Wahlberg. The Blue Bloods star admits that he's guilty as charged. "There have been times when Marisa Ramirez (Maria Baez) and I laugh for probably an hour straight. We might tell jokes between takes, or someone goofs up a line ... and we literally have to shut down production for about 20 minutes until we get it out."

Just look at that gorgeous grin!

Donnie Wahlberg in a tuxedo.

Tuxedo and shirt by Brooks Brothers. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Vanessa Ray can salute like a pro!

Vanessa Ray natural makeup pink floral dress

Top by Alexander McQueen. Slip dress by Valentina Kova. Earrings by Astrid & Miyu and Glamrocks Jewelry.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

Fun fact: The actress learned the art of a proper military salute and how to stand at attention from the legendary Tom Selleck himself, who coached her between takes in the hair and makeup trailer.

Will Estes stays humble

Will Estes wearing a burgundy blazer

Blazer by Selected Homme. Shirt by Joseph Abboud.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

"I have these moments that stand out for me that are just as big as booking the job," Will Estes tells Watch about the show's success. "One was watching Mom, and one of the characters said something like, 'I'd love to come, but I can't. It cuts into my Blue Bloods time.' I was like, We made it!"

We love this candid, modest moment

Will Estes in a maroon sports jacket

Blazer by Selected Homme. Shirt by Joseph Abboud. Jeans by Mavi. Watch by Kronaby.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

Will Estes and Vanessa Ray have great chemistry

Will Estes wearing silver suit and Vanessa Ray

On Ray: Top and skirt by Snidel. Jacket by Loewe. Shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti. Necklaces by Parpala Jewelry. Rings by Astrid & Miyu and Joanna Laura Constantine. On Estes: Suit and shirt by Kenneth Cole. Tie by Joseph Abboud. Watch by Kronaby.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Christina Pacelli.

Both on and off-screen, Will Estes and Vanessa Ray are simply adorable. "We're having more fun than ever" and "We're married without the romance" are just a sample of the sweet soundbites the Blue Bloods stars shared in their May-June 2019 Watch interview and cover story.

The Blue Bloods cast feels like family

Blue Bloods cast member for a glam photo shoot.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison and Christina Pacelli.

On Ray: Dress by Billy Reid. Shoes by Oscar Tiye. Belt by Deborah Drattell. Earrings by Accessory Concierge and Alexis Bittar. Ring by Officina Bernardi. On Estes: Suit by Paisley & Gray from Men's Wearhouse. Shirt by J.Crew. Shoes by Kenneth Cole. Socks by Joseph Abboud. Watch by Kronaby. Pocket square by Hugo Boss.

On Wahlberg: Tuxedo and tuxedo shirt, Brooks Brothers. Shoes by To Boot New York. Watch and ring, Wahlberg's own. On Moynahan: Asymmetrical gown by Michelle Mason. Sandals by Miu Miu. Earrings, Moynahan's own.

Onscreen partners and siblings Vanessa Ray, Will Estes, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynahan bring the Reagan family to life.

Watch Blue Bloods on Fridays at 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Behind The Scenes Of The Blue Bloods Cast Photo Shoot


Go behind the scenes with the Blue Bloods stars Bridget Moynahan, Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes, and Vanessa Ray for their exclusive Watch! cover photo shoot.

We have no objection

Bridget Moynahanin Vera Wang

High-neck top by Vera Wang. Jersey trousers by Max Mara. Earrings are Moynahan's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Bridget Moynahan (Erin Reagan) is breathtaking in Vera Wang.

Watch Blue Bloods on CBS and CBS All Access.

Happy couple

Vanessa Ray and Will Estes

On Ray: Dress by Billy Reid. Belts by Deborah Drattell. Ring by Ofcina Bernardi. On Estes: Suit by Paisley & Gray. Shirt by J.Crew. Pocket square by Hugo Boss.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Just like their smitten soon-to-be newlywed characters on Blue Bloods, Vanessa Ray (Eddie Janko) and Will Estes (Jamie Reagan) have great chemistry in the front of the camera.

The gregarious kid on the block

Donnie Wahlberg in a Dolce & Gabbana Henley Top.

Henley top by Dolce & Gabbana. Jeans by J.Crew. Watch and ring are Wahlberg's own.

Photography by David Needleman. Styled by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Donnie Wahlberg (Danny Reagan) has an irresistibly charming personality that shines through.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Look Forward To Seeing More Of Your Favorite Stars In Your Mailbox

Watch Blue Bloods on CBS and CBS All Access.

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