21 Celebs Who Speak More Than One Language
The Internet breaks a little bit every time Bradley Cooper shows off his nearly fluent French. With these interviews, Coops ignites the loins of men and women across the world, simply for the fact that he can speak another language, along with being a mega-babe. I can attest to this attraction as my experience of studying abroad served as an embarrassing cautionary tale of how easy it was to be wooed by someone with an accent. (Ah, to be in college again.) Being multilingual shows an intelligent, well-versed and worldly individual — traits we can almost all agree are very sexy. But Cooper is only one in the long list of celebs that have some pretty impressive language skills. Click through for 20 celebs who speak more than one language.
Mila Kunis has stunning, exotic looks and her perfect American accent could throw off the fact that she was born in the Ukraine and lived there until she was seven years old. Although her relations with the country could be a little stressed, given some recent comments, she is proud of still being fluent in the Russian language.
Ben Affleck and his brother Casey spent a year in Mexico when they were teenagers and they learned to speak Spanish. Although not fully fluent, Affleck still has fairly good conversational skills and spoke the language many times throughout the press run for his film, Argo, in which he played Tony Mendez, a Latino CIA agent.
Pop star Rita Ora was born in Pristina, Yugoslavia which is now known as Kosovo. Her family moved to London when she was just a baby and she grew up speaking English and maintaining her native tongue, Albanian. She is a proud Albanian and is still very fluent in the language.
I’ll admit this one took me by huge surprise. First, I didn’t know that Jon Heder was Mormon and from a family of six children. Actually, I didn’t know much about him beyond Napolean Dynamite. I learned that Heder spent three years in Japan on a ”proselytizing mission” for the Church of Latter-Day Saints where he became well-versed in Japanese. He seems pretty fluent to me!
Gwyneth Paltrow speaks almost perfectly accented Spanish which she learned as a teenager during an exchange program. “When I was 15, I went to a small town outside Talavera de la Reina and I had the most wonderful experience. It really changed my life,” Paltrow has said. She’s also apparently very keen on raising her children, Apple and Moses, in a bilingual household, with reports that she insists they only speak to her in Spanish.
Is there anything Sandra Bullock isn’t good at? The talented actress can also add “fluent German speaker” to her resume. Bullock was born in Virginia to a German opera singer mother and a voice teacher. She studied dance and music as a child, and even performed at five years old in a German opera. More recently, she wowed fans with her perfect German at the Oscars in 2012.
Viggo Mortenson is a man of the world. He was born to a Danish father and American mother who moved to Argentina, where he grew up and learned Spanish. During those years, they also made stops in Venezuela and Denmark, where he also became fluent in Danish! Mortenson even filmed an Argentinian film in 2012, Todos Tenemos un Plan.
I think Shakira wins the award for speaking the most languages on our list. To date, Shakira has been known to speak Spanish (of course), English, Italian, Portuguese, and French!
These English men and their multiple languages need to stop breaking my heart. Seems like many people are fans of the fact that Hiddleston is multilingual, and I found a Youtube video of clips of the actor sharing his lingual gifts with the world. Although the video boasts eight languages, Hiddleston is fluent in about four: Spanish, English, French, and Greek. The latter which he learned while studying classics at Cambridge University. Fancy!
Most of the world knows that despite her accent-less American English, Diane Kruger is German with it being her first language. She started learning English early in her life, and is also quite fluent in French, which she picked up when she moved to Paris to begin her career as a model. Check her out promoting a Chanel skin care line in French.
Sandra Oh was born to Korean parents in Ottawa, Canada, and the talented actress is also very skilled off-screen, as she speaks four languages: English, Korean, Spanish, and French! She picked up French while studying at an acting school in Montreal.
Charlize Theron is arguably one of the most beautiful women on the Earth, and she’s also got some languages under her belt! Theron barely has any sort of accent, but she was indeed born and raised in South Africa, with Afrikaans being her native tongue. By proxy, she is also skilled in Dutch, which is very similar.
Will Smith might not be the most fluent in Spanish, but he sure does love to speak it, which deserves some praise. While promoting After Earth in 2013, he did not shy away from speaking Spanish and put together some pretty impressive sentences! A little more practice and he’s well on his way.
Rose McGowan was born in Certaldo, Italy, where she lived until her early teens. Italian was her first language and she’s said she had no interest in learning English: “I just refused to speak it. My parents would say things in English to me and I would answer in Italian. I just refused.” But how do her language skills stand now? “I’m an unfortunate mix of French, Italian, and Spanish now, pretty much in one sentence. I lived in Montreal after Italy, so then the French Canadian got into my head. And then, living in LA, that’s all español. I go to Italy and someone speaks Italian to me, and it translates in my head to French, and I answer in French. I kind of answer in the wrong languages everywhere; it’s annoying, and makes me look like crazy town.” Well, hey, that’s a lot more than a lot of people can say.
Sigh. Mr. Darcy speaks fluent Italian. Colin Firth has been married to an Italian eco-fashion activist, Livia, since 1997, which is plenty enough reason to become fluent in the beautiful language. He has shown off his skills in interviews, showing that he is steadily becoming more and more fluent . I wonder if he’ll ever do an entirely Italian film role? Colin, give the people what they want!
Seriously, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of my dream men. He’s just so cute, kinda geeky, super smart, plays guitar, and now I learned that he speaks French! Could anything be better? Well, him singing in French is a start. He continued studying the language after he studied French poetry at Columbia University and the rest is history.
Camilla Belle was born in Los Angeles to an American father and Brazilian-born fashion designer mother. Belle was brought up speaking both Portuguese and English, and had a chance to act in Portuguese in the film Open Road. Of her character in the film, she said, “She is a Brazilian-American just like me… I’ve never done anything really emotional like that in another language before; it was really helpful and it was a great experience.”
Edward Norton is one smart cookie. While he was at Yale University, he majored in history and took many courses in theatre and Japanese. His language skills came in handy. After graduating he spent some time in Osaka, Japan working for his grandfather’s company, Enterprise Foundation, which creates affordable housing for low-income families. He likes to show off his skills every once in a while, like in this promo for SNL.
Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia in 1976, but his father, Joe Bryant, took the family to Italy where Bryant Sr. was to play in the Italian League. Kobe and his family stayed there until he was 14 years old, where he also played basketball in youth leagues and became fluent in the Italian language, which he can still speak with ease today!
With that sultry accent and dark brown eyes and hair, it’s not difficult to forget Penelope Cruz’s Spanish roots. The actress was born in Spain and studied French in school. She says that she started to learn Italian to earn a role in the film, Non Ti Muovere (Don’t Move) , and the skills paid off as she won the David di Donatello, an award equivalent to the American Oscars. She went on to act in full Italian roles in T o Rome With Lov e and Twice Born.