It’s nice to see you are not alone in learning another language. There are 21 million people who learn Spanish all over the world and some celebrities are included in this group: Chris Hemsworth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, Eva Mendes, Channing Tatum, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lopez , Susan Sarandon, Jack Black… You may recognize some of them, although note that not all of them claim to be fluent.
Chris Hemsworth – He is a major star thanks to movies like ‘Thor’, where he plays a superhero, and driving Formula 1 cars in ‘Rush’. Hemsworth is married to the Spanish actress Elsa Pataky with whom he has three kids. The Australian is trying his best to learn and speak Spanish. “I love Spain. We travel there as much as we can to visit Elsa’s family. We want our kids to be bilingual in English and Spanish”.
Gwyneth Paltrow – She spent the summer of sophomore year (15 years old) in high school as a foreign exchange student in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo, Spain). She continues to regularly visit the town and her host family and after learning Spanish to a high level, the actress has spent years teaching her children, Apple and Moses, to speak the language too. “Spain is my second home”.
Eva Mendes – Mendes was born in Miami (Florida) to Cuban parents and raised by her mother in Los Angeles. “I’ve read ‘La reina del sur’ (The Queen of the South) by Arturo Pérez Reverte. I’d read it before and both the book and the screenplay by Jonathan Jakubowitz are excellent, although I don’t know if the movie will go forward”. Her favorite author is Neruda (she always has in her purse ‘El libro de las preguntas’ (The Book of Questions) and when she is really frustrated she opens its pages and it brightens her day). “I always speak in Spanish with my family, but in the Miami style of screaming and with a lot of words in English: “Pasa el lechón, mami. Overhere” (Pass the pork, mom. Over here) and stuff like that…”.
Matt Damon – He is married to Luciana Barroso, who was born in Argentina, so it’s easy to know why the American actor can speak Spanish. “When I was 15, 16, 17 we used to go backpacking across Mexico and Guatemala. We would begin by doing a language school course. They work by immersion therapy – you go to school for six hours a day and then you go home with a Mexican family. Spanish is the only language spoken”.
Channing Tatum – He learnt to speak in Spanish and dance at Quinceañeras, big 15th birthday parties for Spanish girls. Since then, he speaks Spanish. He loves books from Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Natalie Portman – The Israeli actress has turned down roles and missed premiers in order to focus on and further her studies. She also works as a UN ambassador and is fluent in a number of languages including Hebrew, German, Japanese, Spanish and French. “Learning is beautiful. 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 and the lifestyle”.
Susan Sarandon – Fascinated with Spain, Susan bought a house in Majorca a few years ago. It was there, in Spain, where she developed a passion for authors like Neruda and García Márquez. “I started to study Spanish at school. But later, I fell in love with Spain. I went to Michael Douglas house in Majorca and since then I decided to move there. But I couldn’t for my family so I bought a place there and I spend some holidays in Spain”.
Jennifer Lopez – She is a proud of her Spanish roots. The actress (she was born in New York but her parents are from Puerto Rico) is fluent in Spanish and wants to educate her kids in both languages. “I want my kids not just to speak in Spanish but to know the culture of their parents. We come from a rich and vast culture and I want to educate my kids knowing their heritage”.
Jack Black – With a fantastic curiosity and a passion to learn Jack has taught himself a few languages as Spanish and French and he confesses trying constantly perfecting his Castilian watching Spanish movies in his original version. “First I tried to learn as much Spanish as I could, just to get my mouth used to making the shapes that Spanish makes… Certain words that I liked to latch onto that makes your mouth do different things like “mia colless”. That’s my favorite day of the week sound: ‘Wednesday’. And I like the word ‘entonces’”.
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