Celebrities speaking languages

GWYNETH PALTROW
Actress

English, Spanish and French


Gwyneth Paltrow speaks fluent Spanish. She learned the language while spending a year as a foreign exchange student during her high school years. She says she fell in love with the country and vowed to learn Spanish proficiently. She still spends a lot of time there, and true to word, now speaks it to a very high level. She says she's trying to pass on her language skills to her children too. Besides being fluent in Spanish, Paltrow mastered French.

Image by Andrea Raffin [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

WILL SMITH
Actor

English and Spanish


Will Smith speaks Spanish fluently. After his role in Seven Pounds, when Will Smith played a fluent Spanish-speaking role, fans were delighted to see that Smith was very well-versed in the language, and pulled off the character extremely well. Smith gave his first interview in Spanish in 2000, and still does them presently.

Image by Vanessa Lua [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

BEN AFFLECK
Actor

English and Spanish


Ben Affleck spent a big part of his childhood life living in Mexico, so it is of no surprise that he speaks fluent Spanish.

Image by Gene Bromberg (benaffleck7-2-1) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

BRADLEY COOPER
Actor

English and French


Bradley Cooper's language skills remained relatively unknown until a 2011 interview that was promoting The Hangover 2, where he gave the whole interview in fluent French. Cooper picked up the language while enrolled in a study abroad program in college. Not thinking about becoming an actor or part of the bilingual celebrities pack back in his college days, Cooper rather spent his time as an exchange student in France, learning the language, and probably picking up the girls who fainted at his feet when he even glanced in their direction. When asked why French, he said: 'When I was a kid, I remember watching Chariots of Fire,' 'And French is the official language of the Olympics. So there's a scene where a guy was speaking French and I thought, 'Man, that sounds so cool. I want to learn French.'.'

Image by David Shankbone (David Shankbone) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

COLIN FIRTH
Actor

English and Italian


While Firth played a speech -riddled leader in the movie, The King's Speech, Colin is actually really skilful in rhetoric when he is living his real life. The British-born speaks fluent Italian. An English gentleman, international movie star and bilingual celebrity - the man has it down to the last syllable and his pronunciation is most eloquent. In 1997 he married the Italian film producer/director Livia Giuggioli and lives in both London and Italy. He speaks the language proficiently and says: 'It's wonderful to have an excuse to learn a language. My wife's English is better than my Italian will ever be. But, if you're going to live your life with someone you should, as a mark of respect, try to learn their way of conceptualising things.'

Image by Rathika Mawtus [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

DAVID BECKHAM
Soccer player

English and Spanish


David Beckham can speak two languages. He is only fluent in his native English but has also engaged in learning the Spanish language. This is because he has spent most of his life in England before he moved to the Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2004. 'I haven't conquered Spanish yet. I'm learning and understand what's said during training. I'm progressing little by little. Spanish is very difficult for me, although I am getting used to it. I am making an effort. It's complicated. But if I can conquer Spanish, it will have been a great achievement.' After joining Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain, midfielder David Beckham has revealed that he is struggling to learn French in order to avoid making language faux pas.

Image by Paulblank (http://www.postproduktie.nl) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

DIANE KRUGER
Actress

English, German and French


Diane Kruger was born and raised in Germany, and is therefore a native German speaker. She now lives in America and speaks fluent English, but she is actually also fluent in French thanks to modelling in Paris earlier in her career. You can see her impressive language skills in the French film Anything for Her (Pour Elle in French).

Image by Georges Biard derivative work: Keraunoscopia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

HUGH LAURIE
Actor

English, French, German and Spanish


James Hugh Calum Laurie, known as Hugh Laurie, is an English actor, comedian, writer, musician and director. He speaks French, German and Spanish and learned all three at the Dragon School and Eton. He said in an interview that he'd like to be fluent in Italian because 'it's a beautiful language'.

Image by XSIDE [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

JK ROWLING
Author

English and French


The author of the Harry Potter books was a French teacher prior to concentrating on her writing career. She also has French ancestry, and is said to speak impeccable French. Her knowledge of the language is actually evident in many of the fabricated words and names that she included in the stories, which have French as their basis. Examples are Beauxbatons, which means beautiful wands, Fleur Delacour from 'fleur' meaning flower and 'delacour' meaning 'of the court' and Malfoy, from the French phrase 'mal foi' (meaning bad faith).

Image by Daniel Ogren [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

JODIE FOSTER
Actress

English and French


Foster attended a French-language prep school, the Lycée Français de Los Angeles, and graduated in 1980. She frequently stayed and worked in France as a teenager, and speaks French fluently. Due to her French fluency, Foster has dubbed herself in French-language versions of most of her films. In 2004, she took a minor role in the French WWI film, A Very Long Engagement. She also understands German and Spanish and can converse in Italian.

Image by Franz Richter (User:FRZ) (own work (taken with Canon PowerShot A640)) [CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MICK JAGGER
Singer

English and French


Besides his native English, Mick Jagger is also fluent in French. When he was a young boy he spent his vacations with his family in France, the same country he owns a castle.

Image by Kronos at it.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons

JENNIFER ANISTON
Actress

English and Greek


Being half-Greek, our lovely 'Friend' is fluent in the language but admits she's not a fan of the cuisine.

Image by Angela George [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

KOBE BRYANT
Basketball player

English and Italian


Los Angeles Lakers' player, Kobe Bryant, spent a portion of his childhood in Italy and to this day is fluent in Italian. The basketball superstar had originally wanted to be a professional soccer player while living in Italy.

Image by Kobe_Bryant_8.jpg: *Kobe_Bryant_7144.jpg: Sgt. Joseph A. Lee derivative work: JoeJohnson2 (talk) derivative work: JoeJohnson2 (Kobe_Bryant_8.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

SHAKIRA
Singer

English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic


Colombian singer, Shakira, is of Spanish and Italian ancestry, and is fluent in both languages. The pop star is also fluent in Portuguese, Arabic, and English.

Image by C.Seng. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

SANDRA BULLOCK
Actress

English and German.


Even though she was born in the United States, Sandra Bullock, whose mother was a German opera singer, also speaks fluent German. In 2000, the brunette actress won a Bambi Award (Germany's version of the Oscars) and gave her acceptance speech in German.

Image by Richard Goldschmidt, www.piqtured.com Derivative by Keraunoscopia [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

NATALIE PORTMAN
Actress

English, Japanese, German, Spanish and Hebrew


One of the most stunning bilingual celebrities around, Natalie Portman is actually a multilingual star who has several languages under her belt. The Oscar-winning actress is fluent in Japanese, German and Spanish, also gets away with a light sprinkling of French, even though it's not fluent, and sometimes gives interviews in her native language Hebrew.

Image by Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Many successful people speak various languages. Not only does it help in their job, it also opens the door to understanding different cultures and enjoying other countries much deeper.

And if that was not enough yet: studies have been showing that speaking several languages is one of the best exercises your brain can get. Even up to postponing the onset of Alzheimer's by 4 to 5 years.