• Wed, Aug 28 - 5:18 pm ET

13 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Bilingual

Jambo GIFSometimes I worry that I’m not intimidated enough by celebrities, or that I’m so alluring that maybe it’s hard for you guys when I write about them, y’know? I mean, I have so many precious gifts and such charming wit to offer that I don’t want to tarnish their shine. You understand.

So what I did to combat that was, I looked up some celebrities who were smart in the head. Well, actually I had our lovely intern Olivia look them up. I was too busy admiring myself in a mirror and brushing my hair fifteen times between each keystroke. But these are celebrities with slightly more of a leg up, y’know? It can be hard sometimes when all you have going for you are attractiveness, talent, and a multimillion dollar career. You can find yourself lusting after the life of an internet blogger. I get it.

So just to make famous people in general feel better about being totally inadequate, here are 13 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Bilingual. It’ll serve as a good reminder for them, as well. In case they’re feeling especially intimidated by my sparkling prose.

1. WILL SMITH – Spanish

Will Smith 2013 MTV Music Awards New York City NY August 25 2013(Photo: WENN)

I have no idea why. Apparently his wife Jada speaks it as well and his son Jaden knows a tiiiiny bit too, as in he can understand more than he can speak.He’s a little rusty these days, but apparently he used to be super fluent.

 

2. BEN AFFLECK – SpanishBen Affleck 22nd Annual UCLA School of Theater Film and Television Film Festival June 13 2013 Westwood California(Photo: Guillermo Proano/WENN)

Ben and his younger brother Casey both learned Spanish while living in Mexico during stints of filming. 

3. SANDRA BULLOCK – GermanSandra Bullock Premiere of The Heat June 23 2013 New York City NY

(Photo: Ivan Nikolov/WENN)

Sandra’s mother was a German-born opera singer and voice teacher, making Sandra half German herself just through lineage. But that excellent pronunciation is all Sandra.

4. JOHNNY DEPP – French

Johnny Depp Premiere Of Disney's The Lone Ranger July 21 2013 London, England, UK(Photo: WENN)

Johnny learned French to be able to communicate with his longtime partner Vanessa Paradis and the couple’s two children together, Jack and Lily-Rose.

5. CHARLIZE THERON – Afrikaans

Charlize Theron 85th Annual Oscars February 24 2013 Los Angeles, California(Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN)

Afrikaans, which is a variant on Dutch, is actually Charlize’s first language, as she was born in South Africa, where it is the main language spoken.

6. ORLANDO BLOOM – French

Orlando Bloom Romeo and Juliet Broadway Show August 25 2013 New York City NY(Photo: Joseph Marzullo/WENN)

Another actor from the Pirates franchise who speaks French, Orlando came by his bilingualism because his parents run a language school in England.

7. COLIN FIRTH – Italian

Colin Firth 61st Berlin International Film Festival February 16 2011 Berlin Germany(Photo: WENN)

For some reason this makes no sense with my idea of Colin, but he’s fluent in Italian, married to an Italian woman, film director and producer Liva Giuggioli, and they have two Italian-speaking kids, Luca and Matteo!

8. BRADLEY COOPER – French

Bradley Cooper The Hangover Part III Premiere London England UK May 22 2013 (Photo: WENN)

As if this man needed a way to get more attractive. Ugh. He got inspired to learn the language as a kid after watching Chariots Of Fire, so he studied it in college and did six months abroad with a French family. That’ll do it!

9. GWYNETH PALTROW – Spanish

Gwyneth Paltrow Iron Man 3 Premiere Los Angeles, Hollywood April 24 2013(Photo: WENN)

Gwyneth learned Spanish after spending the summer of her high school sophomore year as an exchange student in Spain. She liked it so much that she still visits the town, Talavera de la Reina, and her host family. (Side note: of course she has the accent traditional to Spain.)

11. KIM CATTRALL – German

Kim Cattrall The Olivier Awards April 28 2013 London England UK(Photo: PBI/WENN)

Kim learned to speak German fluently while living in Frankfurt with her second husband from 1982 to 1989, although she admits that she’s lost a lot of it over the years.

11. JODI FOSTER – French

Jodie Foster Elysium World Premiere August 8 2013 Westwood, California(Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN)

Jodi attended a French-language prep school growing up, and is apparently still so skilled at it that she (sometimes? always?) dubs over her own character’s voices for the French versions of her movies.

12. MILA KUNIS – Russian

Mila Kunis Premiere of Oz The Great and Powerful London England UK February 28 2013(Photo: WENN)

Mila was born in the Ukraine, and thus speaks fluent Russian, which we learned last year when she so amazingly leaped to Justin Timberlake‘s defense at a Q&A for Friends With Benefits.

13. JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT – French

Joseph Gordon Levitt 2013 MTV Music Awards August 25 2013 New York City NY

 (Photo: Andres Otero/WENN)

JGL apparently took a bunch of classes at Columbia entirely in French, so that was an Ivy League and a second language, in case anyone was keeping track.

13. NATALIE PORTMAN – Hebrew, Spanish, German, Japanese, and (some) French

Natalie Portman 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party February 24 2013 West Hollywood California(Photo: WENN)

And finally, just in case you’re still feeling like a reasonable human being with skills and a purpose, thought you might like to know that Natalie Portman speaks ALL the languages. All of them.

(Lead Photo: Tumblr)

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  • Olivia Wilson

    Natalie Portman, continuing her crusade to make everyone look terrible by comparison. WAY TO GO, NAT.

  • RubenMcdaniel

    Mila is Looking so beautiful and charming in the Picture .

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  • Pingback: Smart Celebrities You Didn't Know Went To Ivy League Schools

  • Rae

    Viggo Mortensen also speaks a bunch of other languages.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah I heard he speaks Danish, right?

  • Missy

    The title is misleading, it should be “Celebrities you didn’t know were good at (learning/speaking) foreign languages”. Being bilingual isn’t the same as speaking a foreign language – if you are bilingual, you have native fluency in both languages, which the majority of these celebrities don’t (I love the supertalented Colin Firth, but his Italian is embarrassing).

  • ConnieHinesDorothyProvine

    That’s Ukraine, NOT the Ukraine. It’s only correct to use the article when referring to ancient times when it was a region and not yet a country.

    Another one is Jane Fonda, who was once married to Roger Vadim and starred in his zany flick Barbarella as well as his segment of the eerie anthology movie Extraordinary Stories. In the latter she not only co-starred with her brother Peter but spoke entirely French.

  • ConnieHinesDorothyProvine

    Here are some others:

    Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart co-starred in La strada, and Rod Steiger starred in Hands over the City. These roles were entirely in Italian.

  • Allie Styles

    Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles can both sing French…

  • guest

    What about Nick Clegg? He speaks about 5 languages himself: French, Dutch, Spanish, German and English.

  • Poqui

    Their Spanish is basic conversation at best, with some pretty heavy English accents; Gwyneth had the best accent among them followed by Ben. Better than the average American, so that’s commendable.