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Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Selleck at the "Blue Bloods" Press Conference in 2012© Getty

Inside Donnie Wahlberg's sweet bond with TV 'dad' Tom Selleck

The co-stars appear as father-son duo Frank and Danny Reagan in Blue Bloods

Megan Bull
TV Writer
April 25, 2024
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For Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Selleck, life imitated art on the set of Blue Bloods. After portraying father-son duo Frank and Danny Reagan, the co-stars have leaned into a similar dynamic, with Donnie calling Tom 'Dad' behind the scenes. 

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Appearing on Fox News Digital, the actor, 54, said: "Tom Selleck, I call him Dad. At first, he was kind of a little thrown by it for the first season or two, he'd be like, 'Oh, hey, Donnie.' Now it's like, we've gotten so close. He's literally like, 'Oh, hey, son, how are you doing today?'

"It's like we've just become a real family," added Donnie. "And it's going to be a lot to not be with [them] anymore, but I'm sure we'll stay connected after the cameras aren't rolling." 

Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Selleck at a screening of Blue Bloods in 2010© Getty
Donnie was initially nervous about playing Tom's on-screen son

Reflecting on their first meeting in 2010, Donnie told Brotherly Love hosts, Joey and Matthew Lawrence, that he'd been nervous about portraying Tom's on-screen son. 

"I got hired on the show and [Tom Selleck] was really excited, cause he was a fan of Band of Brothers, so he was like 'Oh yeah, this guy's good,'" Donnie recalled. "But I walked in the room and he's like 6'4", I'm like 5'11" I think.

"So I walk in, and I'm like 'He's got so much hair, his eyebrows are so bushy,'" he continued. "I didn't even care about the mustache, I was like, 'How am I this dude's son?' I was like, 'They're gonna fire me tomorrow.'"

Blue Bloods cast filming dinner scene© Getty
Tom has commended Donnie on his ability to improvise in scenes

Luckily, after meeting Henry Reagan actor, Len Cariou, Donnie was reassured. "He's shorter than me, same hairline," noted the TV star. "I was like, 'Alright, I got his genes. I'm good.'"

After getting to work on the series, Donnie found himself improvising in the iconic Reagan family dinner scenes – an acting choice that Tom commends. "A lot of that's improvised. Someone else might kick me under the table and say, 'Stop adding those improvs,' but Tom doesn't," the father-of-two told Watch

Donnie Wahlberg, Tom Selleck, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes at a CBS event© Getty
Tom was incredibly supportive of Donnie when he directed his first episode of Blue Bloods

"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."

Tom has been extremely complimentary of Donnie over the years, and he was extremely supportive when the Danny Reagan actor directed an episode of Blue Bloods. "Donny's a talented man and a talented actor and he brings that to directing, I can already see that" Tom raved to Entertainment Tonight. "It's very reassuring for an actor to work with another actor as a director because they get what we do."

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