Obvious History: Kate Moss and Marky Mark couldn’t stand each other

Published March 15, 2018

In collaboration with @velvetcokeObvious History is a weekly series which unearths forgotten moments in pop culture’s past, where the famous and the fascinating collided.

Though she looks the picture of confidence straddling a hard-bodied Marky Mark in the now iconic 1992 Calvin Klein campaign, Kate Moss was anything but comfortable. Not only was the then 18-year-old model embarrassed by what she was being asked to do by photographer Herb Ritts, but her and Mark Wahlberg also butted heads.

“Oh, my god. [Marky Mark] and Kate couldn’t stand each other,” Calvin Klein told Marc Jacobs about the campaign in 2013. “I had a tough time with her, too … from the very beginning. She had gone through some difficult times, and it sometimes came through in the work and in the attitude … She ended up being really great, though. But the earlier stuff was part of that whole opposite wave …”

Moss, nearly naked and asked to pose in morally dubious positions for ads that went on to “exponentially” grow the brand’s underwear business, revealed 20 years later that the shoot led to her mental combustion.

“I had a nervous breakdown when I was 17 or 18, when I had to go and work with Marky Mark and Herb Ritts,” Moss told Vanity Fair.

“It didn’t feel like me at all. I felt really bad about straddling this buff guy. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks. I thought I was going to die. I went to the doctor, and he said, ‘I’ll give you some Valium,’ and Francesca Sorrenti [photographer Mario Sorrenti’s mother], thank God, said, ‘You’re not taking that.’ It was just anxiety. Nobody takes care of you mentally. There’s a massive pressure to do what you have to do. I was really little, and I was going to work with Steven Meisel. It was just really weird—a stretch limo coming to pick you up from work. I didn’t like it. But it was work, and I had to do it.”

Unfortunately, Moss and Marky Mark had to work together once more when Calvin Klein took his hip-hop fashion show on the road to Los Angeles’s Hollywood Bowl in 1993. The pair walked the runway together, and at its end, Wahlberg’s jeans fell to his ankles to reveal his CK undies. Their relationship, as it turns out, was less funky bunch and more contractual obligation.