32 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Bilingual

Some of our biggest stars are polyglots!

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Some of our biggest actors have a secret (or not-so-secret) skill: they're fully conversant in another language. Some of them mastered it for a role, some of them grew up bilingual (or even trilingual), and some of them just have an "ear" for languages. Interestingly, there's often debate about the level of these celebrities' "fluency," with native speakers analyzing their proficiency and accent work in movies and interviews, but most define "fluency" as being able to conduct an interview in the language. You'll be surprised: some of these actors have fluency in five languages, and the most impressive celebrity polyglots know eight or nine.

Below, 32 celebrities who can speak (at least) another language fluently.

Heidi Klum

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Heidi Klum is German...so, she speaks German fluently in addition to English as a second language (even hosting Germany's Next Top Model!). She's used her language skills often, including a German words quiz with Jimmy Fallon, and has appeared on the cover of German Vogue.

Timothee Chalamet

bilingual celebs Timothee chalamet

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While Timothee Chalamet's exact level of Frenchness has been debated, he can speak the language (and has conducted interviews in French). He also learned to speak Italian for his breakout film, Call Me by Your Name, so his linguistic skills aren't in doubt!

Chris Hemsworth

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Chris Hemsworth can speak some Indonesian and one sentence of Spanish (lol). He also learned how to speak very basic Georgian for Extraction 2, although Hemsworth admitted he also relied on cue cards and said, “The other Georgian actors were giving me advice."

Mira Sorvino

bilingual celebs Mira Sorvino

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While Mira Sorvino was at Harvard University, she pursued East Asian studies and even spent a year at CIEE in Beijing studying Mandarin Chinese. She admits that she doesn't practice it as often as she wants to; she also, according to her actor bio, speaks French fluently.

Ben Affleck

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Ben Affleck went viral in 2023 for a two-minute clip where he speaks fluently in Spanish. (Apparently he spent a year traveling around the country with his mother and brother Casey and then briefly studied it at the University of Vermont.) He calls himself "passively fluent."

Nelly Furtado

bilingual celebs Nelly furtado

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Nelly Furtado has two Portuguese parents and started singing in that language as a child. She can speak Spanish and also sing in Spanish (even releasing a Spanish album, Mi Plan, in the 2000s). "I get a lot of joy in singing in Latin languages. It expresses the Latin side of me," she said.

Salma Hayek

bilingual celebs Salma Hayek

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The Mexican-American actor, naturally, speaks Spanish; her father is Lebanese, so she apparently does speak some of that language. And because François-Henri Pinault, whom she married in 2009, speaks French, she apparently speaks a little of that language too.

Bradley Cooper

bilingual celebs Bradley cooper

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Bradley Cooper loves French, even conducting interviews in the language. "When I was a kid, I remember watching 'Chariots of Fire,' and French is the official language of the Olympics," Cooper told People in 2009, as reported by ABC. "So there's a scene where a guy was speaking French and I thought, 'Man, that sounds so cool. I want to learn French.'"

Rita Ora

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Rita Ora was born to two Kosovar-Albanian parents, which means she speaks Albanian fluently. You can see her speaking the language a little in this The Voice Australia clip with one of the contestants, and she's talked about how proud she is to be a famous face from Kosovo.

Anya Taylor-Joy

bilingual celebs Anya Taylor-Joy

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Most fans of Anya Taylor-Joy might be surprised to learn that, being raised in Argentina to Argentinian, Spanish, and English parents, her first language is technically Spanish. She has conducted interviews in Spanish and said that she learned English by watching film.

Colin Firth

bilingual celebs Colin firth

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While it's a running joke that Colin Firth's character can barely speak another language in Love Actually, the actor apparently learned Italian to impress his in-laws (he was married to then-wife Livia Giuggioli until 2019). In that interview, he laughed that his accent needed work.

Sandra Bullock

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Sandra Bullock's mom is an opera singer from Germany, and the family spent a chunk of her young life in Germany and Austria, so Bullock also speaks the language. She doesn't use the skill often in her American interviews, but you can see her doing international acceptance speeches in the language.

Jodie Foster

bilingual celebs Jodie foster

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Jodie Foster apparently attended a French language school, so she can count herself fluent in that language (she's spoken French at awards ceremonies and even dubs herself). Apparently she also learned Spanish and Italian at a young age and became fluent in those languages too.

Roger Federer

bilingual celebs Roger Federer

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Roger Federer hails from Switzerland, so his first language is Swiss German. He's also apparently fluent in German, French, and English, and speaks a little Italian, Spanish, and Swedish. His mother, who's Afrikaner, also taught him some Afrikaans. So thats eight languages!

Zoë Saldaña

bilingual celebs Zoë Saldaña

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Zoë Saldaña was born to a Dominican dad and a Dominican mom who also had Puerto Rican ancestry. Saldaña was raised bilingual but explained that Spanish was what she spoke at home. She has also said her children with Marco Perego will grow up multilingual (Spanish, Italian, and English).

Leonardo DiCaprio

bilingual celebs Leonardo DiCaprio

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Leo is apparently "conversational" in German and Italian (his dad is Italian and German and his mother is German). On family trips, he was able to build his language skills in German, and his love of Italian started later in life and led to him becoming fluent.

Alicia Vikander

bilingual celebs Alicia vikander

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Alicia Vikander is a Swedish actor who is also (obviously, given her acting roles) fluent in English. She learned Danish for A Royal Affair; she told IndieWire, "I understand a bit of French; I would love to learn some more French when I get the time."


bilingual celebs Shakira

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Born in Colombia, Shakira's first language is Spanish. She's fluent in English (singing and speaking!). and apparently she also speaks Portuguese, Italian, French, Catalan, and Arabic. Did you know: Gloria Estefan taught her how to speak English for her first album?

Charlize Theron

bilingual celebs Charlize Theron

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Theron grew up in South Africa (where the predominant language is Afrikaans), and only learned English when she came to the United States before age 20. She still conducts interviews in her first language, and jokes that she uses it to talk sh*t about people.

Sandra Oh

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Sandra Oh has Korean parents; she has used her language skills in The Chair, saying it was "fulfilling" to have "the richness of having to speak another language other than English to our parents and then having to bridge from our parents to our children." According to her actor bio, she also speaks Spanish.

Gwyneth Paltrow

bilingual celebs Gwyneth Paltrow

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"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," Gwyneth Paltrow has said; she visits at least once a year and has made sure her children speak the language. Paltrow speaks French, too.

Lupita Nyong'o

bilingual celebs Lupita Nyong'o

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Lupita Nyong'o was born to Kenyan parents and lived in Kenya and Mexico during her young life. She's also learned Swahili and Luo later in life; she said that the opportunity to speak Spanish in the second Black Panther "was just a straight gift...I've always wanted to work in Spanish, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that that opportunity would come in Black Panther."

Tom Hiddleston

bilingual celebs Tom Hiddleston

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A classics major at the University of Cambridge meant that Tom Hiddleston had to learn ancient Greek and Latin, but he's also picked up Spanish, French, Italian, and Greek (and is conversant in Russian, Korean, and Mandarin). This video in which he switches between languages (sometimes in the same interview!) is impressive.

Serena Williams

bilingual celebs Serena Williams

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The reason Serena Williams became fluent in French is cool as heck: she explained, “One of the reasons I learned French was I wanted to win the French Open, and I wanted to speak French when I won...The second was because in most African countries, the main language outside of their local language is French or English. So I figured: I know English, maybe I can learn French.” She also knows Italian!

Diane Kruger

bilingual celebs Diane Kruger

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Diane Kruger, born in West Germany, speaks German fluently. Living in London as a teen meant she also picked up English; becoming a Parisian model meant she also learned French. She studied Latin in school, and learned Russian for a film. She does her own dubbing!

Penelope Cruz

bilingual celebs Penelope Cruz

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The Spanish actor speaks Spanish, obviously, and learned English later in life. She also learned Italian for a film role, but interestingly, contrary to popular misconception, she actually didn't learn French but instead had to learn her lines phonetically for a role (which is still very cool).

Christoph Waltz

bilingual celebs Christoph waltz

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If you're familiar with Tarantino films, you already know Christoph Waltz is gifted with languages. (Fun fact: while he speaks Italian in Inglourious Basterds, apparently he doesn't speak it IRL.) But he does speak English, French, and German fluently.

Natalie Portman

bilingual celebs natalie portman

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Natalie Portman can speak a whopping six languages: Hebrew, English, French, Japanese, German, and Spanish. "Spanish is one of the languages most useful in the world. I went to shoot a Milos Forman movie in Spain, in Madrid and I fell in love with the culture, the language, the lifestyle," she said.

Audrey Hepburn

bilingual celebs Audrey Hepburn

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Apparently, in addition to being chic as heck, Audrey Hepburn had a talent with languages: she was fluent in English, French, Dutch, and Italian, and had some familiarity with Spanish and German (the latter apparently acquired during World War II). The above video shows her speaking each, impressively so.

Christopher Lee

bilingual celebs Christopher Lee

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An actor who's basically the definition of polygot is the late Christopher Lee (Saruman from Lord of the Rings). Apparently, he was fluent in English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish, and had passing knowledge of Swedish, Russian, and Greek. Which, if you're counting, is eight languages.

Jackie Chan

bilingual celebs Jackie Chan

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Coming in at nine, Jackie Chan can speak Spanish, English, Korean, Japanese, Cantonese, German, and Mandarin. In this video, you can see that his fluency varies in between the languages (he jokes about his lack of Spanish knowledge), but it's still deeply impressive.

Viggo Mortensen

bilingual celebs Viggo mortensen

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Fellow Lord of the Rings alum Viggo Mortensen is apparently fluent in six languages and conversant in nine total: English, Spanish, French, Danish, Italian, Swedish, Arabic, Catalan, and Norwegian. Apparently, "I grew up bilingual, in Spanish and English primarily, and also I would hear my father who was speaking Danish with his friends. So when I as a teenager, I made a conscious effort to learn Danish."

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.