25 Famous People Who Speak Spanish as a Second Language
If you’re learning Spanish as a second language, you’re in the company of celebrities! Think of your favorite actor or singer. Now, picture them bent over a Spanish textbook sounding out the word gato. It’s hard to imagine, but many famous people are right beside you on this language learning journey.
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Why Do So Many People Want to Learn Spanish?
Over 21 million people study Spanish as a foreign language worldwide! It’s one of the top second languages to learn. But what drives so many people to study this famous language?
For starters, Spanish is incredibly helpful while traveling. Spanish is the official language of over 20 countries. However, Spanish can be useful at home too. For example, 13% of the U.S. population speaks Spanish. Have you ever wondered How Many People Speak Spanish in the World? (*Hint* it’s a LOT!)
Language learning isn’t limited to students or children. Many actors, musicians, and even sports players dedicate time out of their busy schedules to practice Spanish. This is because they know the real value behind being able to speak Spanish as a second language.
1. Will Smith
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Will Smith is a famous American actor and musician. But what most people don’t know about Will Smith, is that he also speaks Spanish.
Will Smith’s role in the film Seven Pounds encouraged him to pick up the language to help with his Spanish-speaking scenes. Since then, he has demonstrated his ability to hold a conversation in Spanish throughout numerous interviews. Smith went on to use his Spanish speaking abilities in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.
Smith’s Spanish also came in handy when he was promoting another film in Argentina. He impressed the latino population with his ability to speak Spanish and it undoubtedly earned him new respect and admiration. Will Smith even has a Spanish teacher who travels with him to help during interviews!
2. George W. Bush
Yes, you read that right, former U.S. president George W. Bush spoke Spanish! He gained his knowledge of the language through living in Texas for several years.
He wasn’t completely fluent, but that didn’t stop Bush from sprinkling Spanish into a few of his speeches. George W. Bush would also occasionally answer questions from news reporters in Spanish during his time in the presidency. His brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaks Spanish too!
3. Jimmy Carter
This former U.S. president picked up Spanish as a second language when he attended the United States Naval Academy. Carter’s Spanish continued to help him on Christian mission trips later in life, and also as president when he made speeches in Spanish on various country visits. He also used it on trips to Spain, his favorite vacation spot to visit with family.
4. Will Ferrell
Will Ferrel first dipped his toe into Spanish during high school. He continued his Spanish education with two semesters of college. This language background was immensely helpful when he starred in a Spanish-lanuage comedy. The role challenged Ferrell and really motivated him to brush-up on his language skills.
5. Chris Hemsworth
Did you know that Thor, son of Odin, can speak Spanish? Chris Hemsworth, who plays this role and many others, is learning Spanish as a second Language. His inspiration comes from his wife, Elsa Pataky, who is a Spanish actress. Hemsworth also wants his daughter to grow up bilingual, giving him yet another drive to practice his second tongue.
6. Tom Hiddleston
Avengers star Tom Hiddleston not only speaks Spanish, but also French and Greek. Hiddleston has spent over 15 years perfecting his Spanish. You can watch him speak and even sing in Spanish during interviews!
Being able to speak Spanish as a second language was an asset to Hiddleston as he travelled to Mexico City to meet and speak with fans for a press tour. He continues to speak of his love for Mexico and its filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.
7. Matthew McConaughey
McConaughey lived in Uvalde, Texas, only 80 miles from the Mexican border. He picked up Spanish in order to talk and connect with his friends there. He’s also practiced his Spanish in Spain and even speaks it fairly often in California.
McConaughey’s favorite part about Mexican culture is getting together with his close friends to eat and talk all night long. He also loves to joke and read in Spanish. Some of his favorite Spanish authors include Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
In order to stay creative with his Spanish, McConaughey challenges himself to speak in a more descriptive or poetic way. He chooses his words carefully and likes to explain in depth what he means. He also holds a deep respect for the language and views his Spanish as an invaluable asset.
8. David Soul
Actor, singer, and polyglot, David Soul is a man of many talents. He learned Spanish while attending college in Mexico City, but is also fluent German. These language talents helped him boost his popularity back in the day as he toured the globe.
Soul’s one year at the University of the Americas in Mexico City changed his career. While in Mexico, Soul got inspired by students who taught him to play the guitar. This motivated him to change his direction and follow his passion for music.
9. Michael Bublé
Jazz singer Michael Bublé is learning to speak Spanish as a second language in order to better communicate with his wife, Luisana Lopilato, an Argentinean actress.
When the couple first met, neither knew how to speak the other’s language. In order to communicate, they relied on friends and family to interpret and, yes, even google translate!
Since then, Bublé’s Spanish and Lopilato’s English have improved tremendously and they even have 3 children together. Clearly their determination to learn another language and communicate with each other paid off.
Bublé’s Spanish has come in handy in other ways as well. This singer made an appearance as a guest judge on America’s Got Talent. He found one performer incredibly moving and felt the need to use her native tongue. Colombian singer Baniella Mass gave a powerful performance on the show, and Bublé used his Spanish to express just how impressed he was with her.
10. Dakota Fanning
Young actress Dakota Fanning learned Spanish for her role in a 2004 film. These language abilities also were handy when she filmed in Spain. You can find videos of her practicing her Spanish in an interview as a kid!
11. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck is an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, philanthropist, and Spanish speaker. Affleck and his younger brother Casey learned Spanish while living in Mexico as teenagers. You might also see Affleck speaking his second language on red carpets or for Spanish-speaking news outlets.
12. Maya Angelou
American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou traveled extensively during her adult life. Angelou was a voracious reader and studier and used her travels to practice other languages. This dedication enabled her to master French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and Fanti!
13. Dusty Baker
Former Major League Baseball player and current manager of the Houston Astros, Dusty Baker speaks Spanish fluently. Like many teenagers, Baker says he learned Spanish in high school because his mother made him!
His mother ended up being right to push Baker into the language game early as his skills became an asset on the field. Spanish enabled him to better communicate with Latin American players and even become an inspiration for other players to pick up Spanish as well.
14. Tom Daley
Olympic bronze medalist Tom Daley excels both on the diving board and in the classroom. Daley worked hard to earn not only a bronze olympic medal, but also an A for his Spanish A Level (a U.K subject-based qualification for students). Daley has even gone on to do interviews in Spanish and continues to practice whenever possible.
15. Gwyneth Paltrow
After studying abroad in Spain as a teenager, Paltrow fell in love with the country, culture, and language. She continues to visit Spain once a year to keep up with her host family and friends.
Since then, this actress/businesswoman launched a Spanish-language version of her lifestyle blog and speaks Spanish to both of her children!
16. Matt Damon
American Actor Matt Damon studied Spanish through immersion in Mexico as a teenager. He then later lived the dream of many teenagers and 20 something year olds as he backpacked throughout Mexico and Guatemala.
Damon’s Spanish background came in handy when he met Luciana Barroso, an Argentinian woman, who later became his wife!
17. Cristiano Ronaldo
Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo learned to speak Spanish as a second language after spending nine years living in Spain while playing for Real Madrid. Ronaldo gained fluency and maintains this ability as he continues to play.
18. Sandra Oh
Canadian actress Sandra Oh is also a polyglot. She speaks English, French, Spanish, and Korean all fluently. If there is ever a character she wants that speaks any of those languages, she won’t even need a language coach—she’s all set!
19. Nelly Furtado
Canadian Nelly Furtado has been speaking Spanish as a second language since the age of 14. This singer even mixed Spanish lyrics into her songs and created an album entirely in Spanish!
Furtado’s Spanish helps her express a more flamboyant and dramatic side to her singing. It allows her to show a variety of emotions, add a little more fire, and feel more liberated.
20. Jack Black
American actor Jack Black not only taught himself to speak Spanish as a second language, but also French! Black loves practicing Spanish because it teaches him new ways to pronunciate. Two of his favorite Spanish words to say are miércoles and entonces.
21. Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn’s acting talents are famous. However, her mastery of languages is less known. This actress spoke six languages fluently, English, Dutch, French, Spanish, German and Italian!
She was encouraged to learn and keep up with these languages as her career took her around the world. From shooting films in France, Spain, and Mexico, to living in Rome, this traveler used her experiences to practice her favorite languages. These speaking abilities came in handy as she travelled extensively during her time working as an Ambassador with the charity UNICEF.
22. Natalie Portman
Most people view Natlie Portman as an actress, but she is much more than that. UN ambassador, polyglot, and life-long learner, Portman is famous for turning down roles in order to further her studies!
Portman speaks Hebrew, German, Japanese, French, and, of course, Spanish. She can converse and even deliver speeches in her second languages!
23. Serena Williams
Tennis champion Serena Williams is also a language enthusiast. She speaks Spanish, Italian and French. In fact, she’s known to give her tournament addresses in the native language of the country where she is competing!
She is very passionate about teaching her young daughter multiple languages because she knows they will be incredibly useful for her in the future.
24. J.R.R. Tolkien
The author who wrote The Lord of the Rings, is somewhat of a language lord himself. Tolkien started his language learning journey early as his mother introduced him to Latin, French, and German growing up. But Tolkien didn’t stop there. He went on to learn other languages like Finnish, Welsh, Spanish, and even Middle English! This scholar loved languages so much he even created new ones to use in his novels.
25. Sir Christopher Lee
English actor Sir Christopher Lee was usually given the role of the villain. His voice and manner of speaking brought these dynamic characters to life. Lee spoke fluent speak Italian, Spanish, French and German and had a moderate proficiency in the Greek, Russian, and Swedish languages. His language versatility helped him shift characters seamlessly and give each a unique personality.
Join the Ranks of Celebrities Who Decided to Learn Spanish!
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