Bilingual is better: Celebrity edition

These celebrities and icons are already some of the best in their trade — turns out they’re impressive in a lot more ways than one. Meet some of our favorite bilinguals and polyglots of the celebrity world.

Sandra Bullock

Best known for: Academy award-winning actress best known for her leading roles in Speed, The Proposal, The Blind Side, and more.

Languages spoken: English, German

Sandra Bullock’s mother was a German opera singer who taught Sandra the language and took her on concert tours across Europe. It makes sense, then, that Sandra’s debut as a performer wasn’t in English nor in the States — her first stage performance was in an opera in Nuremberg when she was 5 years old.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Best known for: Actor, filmmaker, singer, and entrepreneur. Best known for his roles in 500 Days of Summer, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises. He started an online production company called HitRecord.

Languages spoken: English, French

JGL is a total francophile. When he was a student at Columbia University, he took some classes entirely in French because he found them more interesting — according to him, “Even if some student was saying some bullsh*t, they were saying it in French, so it was still teaching me something.”

Mila Kunis

Best known for: Film and television actress best known for her leading roles in That 70’s Show, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Friend’s with Benefits, and she also voices the character Meg in a Family Guy episode (where you can hear her speaking Russian).

Languages spoken: English, Russian

Mila Kunis is originally from Ukraine, where she lived until she was 7 — which means that English is technically her second language. Keeping up with her native language Russian definitely helped during a press trip for her movie Friends With Benefits with Justin Timberlake.

Kobe Bryant

Best known for: His 20-year career as a pro basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, and as of very recently, a 2018 Academy award winner for the best animated short,Dear Basketball.”

Languages spoken: English, Italian, Spanish

Basketball star Kobe Bryant lived in Rieti, Italy for 8 years growing up when his father (a pro basketball player himself) moved his family to play for the Italian league. And while Kobe was there, he picked up not just one, but two languages.

Serena Williams

Best known for: Professional tennis player who’s won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and several Olympic gold medals.

Languages spoken: English, French, Italian, Spanish

One of the world’s best tennis players, and she’s also multilingual. She’s known for giving her tournament address in the native language of the country she’s competing in — we’re impressed.

Tom Hiddleston

Best known for: Television, stage, and move actor best known for bring Marvel comic book villain Loki to life in The Avengers and Thor.

Languages spoken: English, French, Greek, Spanish

Tom Hiddleston speaks four languages fluently and has working knowledge of five more. He’s known for using his multilingual talents to connect with his fans in their native language — efforts that are well worth it, we have to say.

Audrey Hepburn

Best known for: A film and fashion icon known for her grace, elegance, and beauty. Ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood. Best known for her starring roles in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and more.

Languages spoken: Dutch, English, French, Italian, Spanish

This enduringly iconic woman is no longer with us, but on top of being a world-famous actress, she’s also a multilingual chameleon. Her international background (born in Belgium to a mother of Dutch descent and mixed Austrian-British descent) led her some of the way there, but she went even further and ended up fluent in five languages.

Natalie Portman

Best known for: Academy award-winning actress best known for her roles in The Black Swan, Jackie, and Star Wars.

Languages spoken: English, French, Hebrew, German, Japanese, Spanish

Born Natalie Hershlag in Jersusalem, Israel, you won’t be too surprised that she’s fluent in Hebrew — and it doesn’t stop there. This leading woman and Harvard graduate is linguistic maestro.


Best known for: One of Latin pop’s biggest female crossover artists, incorporating Latin American, Arabic, and rock and roll influences into her music. A belly-dancing queen known for her top hits “Waka Waka”, “Hips Don’t Lie”, “Whenever, Wherever”, “She Wolf”, and more.

Languages spoken: Arabic, Catalan, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish

This hip-shaking Colombian-born star started making her break as an artist when she was 13 years old. She made her major crossover into the US by learning English — and her fame across the world might have something to do with the fact that she speaks six languages.

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