Blue Bloods: Are Donnie Wahlberg And Tom Selleck Close Off Screen?

The CBS police drama "Blue Bloods" has been going strong for 13 years as of this writing, and it looks like it'll be here to stay for a while longer. The show centers around a New York City family of cops led by patriarch Frank Reagan, played by Tom Selleck, and his children, one of whom is played by Donnie Wahlberg. On "Blue Bloods'" long run, Selleck shared with Entertainment Tonight, "We did eight [seasons] on Magnum [P.I.] and I thought I'd never get that lucky again and now we've done 13 and going strong." Wahlberg chimed in, "It takes a lot of luck to get to this point. For anyone who's trying to have a career in acting or show business, you need luck. You need an audience that cares about your show or whatever it is you're doing and you need a great team."

Having a talented cast also doesn't hurt for the making of a successful show, and while Wahlberg hasn't been around as long as Selleck, the two have extensive acting experience between them — so much so that their father and son depiction on "Blue Bloods" seems natural. In fact, Wahlberg and Selleck have formed such a tight bond over the years that they have come to call each other endearing nicknames that portray their off-screen admiration for each other.

The two actors think of each other as family

After acting alongside each other for over a decade, it's natural that Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Selleck developed a close relationship. So close, in fact, that they think of each other as a real-life father and son duo. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Wahlberg tearfully spoke about losing his mother and revealed that Selleck has become a father figure to him. "I call him Dad now and he calls me son. That's how we talk to each other off-camera," the New Kids on the Block singer shared. "At first he used to grumble at me like, 'This music guy's kinda weird,' and now he calls me 'son' and he'll come and give me a big hug. You know, you get a hug out of Tom Selleck, that's a big deal," Wahlberg added.

On whether his off-camera relationship with Selleck is like their characters', Wahlberg shared with TV Insider, "It absolutely mirrors Danny and Frank. Tom and I are very close off-screen. That said, we both approach the show with the same level of commitment, but Tom is very focused and reserved and uses his years of experience in the craft, while I use instinct and feeling, and emotion a lot." While it's easy for Wahlberg to look up to Selleck as a mentor, the "Three Men and a Little Baby" star was inspired by his younger castmate to perform a generous act of kindness toward a stranger.

Donnie Wahlberg inspired Tom Selleck in the 2020 tip challenge

A small act of kindness can go a long way, and Donnie Wahlberg's generous tip for an IHOP server in 2020 led Tom Selleck to do the same. In what he called the "2020 tip challenge," the "Band of Brothers" actor left a $2,020 tip on a $78 bill, Today reported. Following his castmate's good deed, Selleck left his own large tip of the same amount at a New York City restaurant. The mustachioed movie star kept mum about it, but Wahlberg somehow found out and gave him a shout-out. "I found out that my TV Dad #TomSelleck has generously accepted the #2020TipChallenge at Elios Upper East Side! Love ya dad. I didn't start it but I'm proud to be part of it. To those who gave even the smallest extra amount this year — THANK YOU," he tweeted.

On January 29, 2022, Wahlberg honored his on-screen father for his birthday. "Happy Birthday to my TV dad, and real life friend & father figure, Tom Selleck! Thankful to have you in my life "dad", and blessed to have a small supporting role in the amazing legacy that is your life! Love you, Dad! Always, Son!" he posted on Instagram. He then joked that Selleck would most likely not see it, as he isn't Instagram-savvy, but added, "[It's] ok because I don't mind sharing with the world that you mean a lot to me."