Learning languages has been an essential part of many celebrity lives across the globe. At times it is to fit into a character, communicate with a wider audience, or they may have picked it up while living abroad. Many famous celebrities have discovered the great benefits of learning another language.
It not only helps them in their line of work, it also gives them a chance to better understand different cultures and directly connect with their fans and followers around the world. Some celebrities have achieved mastering more than their native language — they’ve become fluent in two, three and sometimes even more than five languages.
Here’s our list of twenty famous people that can speak a variety of languages.
#1 Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Lee was one of the most popular villains in motion picture history. He gave life to wonderful evil characters you love to hate. Lee spoke English, French, Italian, Spanish and German, some Russian, Swedish, and Greek.
#2 Salma Hayek
She has played popular roles in English cinema and has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the first Latina to be nominated in the category. Besides Spanish, her native tongue, she can also speak Portuguese fluently, English, and Arabic.
Colombian songstress Shakira is a native Spanish speaker who is fluent in English and Portuguese, as well as some Italian, French, Catalan and Arabic. It has been known that Shakira is interested in world history and frequently studies the history and languages of the countries she visits.
She is also determined to teaching her son Milan, five languages. Not only can Milan speak some words in Shakira’s native Spanish and his dad’s Catalan, he is also working on his Russian, German, English, Chinese and French.
#4 Tom Hiddleston
The Avengers star is a very bright man and has shown interest in many different cultures. Besides learning the romance languages Italian, Spanish and French he also speaks Greek and some Russian, Latin, German, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese. That’s a whopping sum of nine different languages.
He’s often seen using his linguistic skills to try and connect with his foreign fans in their native tongue. For talk shows, press conferences and appearances worldwide he tries to speak to crowds as much as he can in their language as well.
#5 Novak Djokovic
Besides being one of the best Tennis players in the world, Novak Djokovic is a self-proclaimed passionate linguist.
The intelligent Serb revealed he is skilled in five different languages: Serbian (his mother tongue), English, German, Italian, and French. He is also keen to learn many more.
“We have a saying in our country: The more languages you know, the more is your worth as a person.” — Novak Djokovic.
#6 Viggo Mortensen
He is an Academy award-nominated actor, best known for his role as Aragorn in the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. Viggo was raised in Argentina speaking both English and Spanish with his family. He has stated that he feels more comfortable expressing himself in Spanish. He is fluent in Danish, conversational in French and Italian. He also understands Norwegian and Swedish.
#7 Natalie Portman
The 33-year-old actress is a Harvard-grad and a Golden Globe and Academy Award Winning Actress. She was born in Jerusalem to a Jewish family and is fluent in Hebrew. She is also capable of speaking French, Japanese, German, and Arabic. She’s had a tremendous passion for foreign languages since childhood.
#8 Edward Norton
This incredibly versatile actor is another Ivy League Grad. After graduating from Yale, Norton worked in Japan. In addition to Japanese, he can also speak Spanish and French fluently. If you want to see this treat for yourself you can, as there are videos of Edward Norton wowing a Japanese audience with his linguistic talents.
#9 Gene Simmons
The Kiss frontman can speak Hungarian, German, English, Hebrew and is getting better at Japanese. He was born in Israel and moved to New York with his mother when he was 8 years-old.
#10 Monica Bellucci
Besides being considered one of the world’s most beautiful women, the Italian actress, and fashion model has proven she’s more than just looks. Her ability to speak four different languages: Italian, English, French and Spanish, shows she’s also incredibly smart. She has acted in each of these languages not to mention she’s also had to learn Aramaic for her role as Virgin Mary in the motion picture, Passion of the Christ.
#11 Bradley Cooper
Often rated as one of the sexiest men alive, Bradley Cooper made his name as an actor in the Hangover series of films, and since then his career has taken off. Bradley is fluent in English and French. Cooper has conducted interviews in French, and he hasn’t made a big deal of his talents.
#12 Emma Watson
The super-intelligent Harry Potter star has made a name for herself as an activist and a speaker, as well as a talented actress. One of Emma’s many talents is her ability to speak French, which is thanks to her French grandmother and an upbringing which involved a lot of time in Paris.
#13 Colin Firth
The quintessential English actor has starred in films such as The King’s Speech, where he overcame a few language problems. However, Firth is more than well adept when it comes to language and he is actually fluent in Italian. He learned the language of love so he could talk with his wife, who is Italian. She speaks English and is fluent in his native tongue, but it seems he wanted to repay the favor by being fluent in her native tongue.
#14 Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis is an American actress who has starred in films such as the Oscar-winning Black Swan, whilst also being a regular on the hit comedy show Family Guy. She is fluent in Russian. She is also very proud of her heritage and practices her native tongue as often as she can.
#15 Ben Affleck
Both an actor and a director, Ben Affleck also speaks Spanish. He is not fluent in the language, but knows enough to get by and learned it all after spending a year living in Mexico with his brother (actor Casey Affleck) when they were teenagers.
#16 Rita Ora
Perhaps best known as an English singer and actress, Rita Ora was actually born in Yugoslavia. She grew up in England, but her native tongue is Albanian, and she tries to speak the language as much as she can.
#17 Gwyneth Paltrow
Perhaps best known for her work in the Iron Man series, one of the surprising facts about her is that she speaks fluent Spanish, with a perfect Spanish accent. She is also set on raising her children in a bilingual household, teaching them Spanish from birth.
#18 Sandra Bullock
The star of Miss Congeniality, Speed, Gravity and most recently, Minions, Sandra Bullock was born to a German mother and is fluent in the German language. She has even performed in a German opera.
#19 Charlize Theron
Although you might immediately think of French when you hear that Charlize Theron speaks another language, the star is actually from South Africa and she still speaks her native tongue, Afrikaans. It has also been reported that she speaks Dutch, which is closely tied to the Afrikaans language.
#20 Penelope Cruz
Penelope Cruz is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian and English. She was born and raised in Spain but went to a French high school, where she became fluent in French. Further while preparing for auditioning for the movie “Non Ti Muovere” she also started to learn Italian.
That’s it! This is our list of 20 famous people who can speak a variety of languages. Can you think of any other celebrities or famous people who you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!