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Celebrities Who Speak Spanish as a Second Language

Some Didn't Learn Foreign Language Until Adulthood

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If you're learning Spanish, you're in the company of celebrities. Although there are plenty of famous folks who grew up with Spanish as a first language and have crossed over into English-language celebrityhood, there are some celebs who had to learn Spanish like the rest of us. Here are some you may recognize, although note that not all of them claim to be fluent:

Actors Ben Affleck and his younger brother Casey Affleck learned Spanish while living in Mexico and during film stints in that country.

Poet Maya Angelou traveled extensively during her adult life. According to her official website, Angelou voraciously read and studied and was able to master French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and Fanti (a language of western Africa).

Baseball manager Dusty Baker speaks Spanish fluently. According to SportingNews, he learned the language in high school classes because his mother made him. Early in his baseball career, "I was the only (American) guy on the team talking to the pretty little girls," he told SportingNews. "I'm 19 years old. I didn't have any clue how beneficial it was going to be later on in my life." Among those his language abilities inspired was first baseman Joey Votto, who said in a 2012 interview that he studies Spanish daily and even hired a tutor so he could communicate better with Latin American players. Having grown up in Canada, he also speaks French.

Soccer superstar David Beckham learned Spanish while playing for Real Madrid.

Italian actress Monica Bellucci has appeared in at least one Spanish-language movie, 1998's A los que aman. (IMDb)

German-born Pope Benedict XVI, who like many of his predecessors is multilingual, routinely addressed Spanish-speaking audiences in their native tongue.

Rocker Jon Bon Jovi has recorded a few of his songs in Spanish, including Cama de rosas ("Bed of Roses"). (Bonjovi.com)

Actress Kate Bosworth speaks Spanish fluently. (IMDb biography)

When he was president of the U.S., George W. Bush would occasionally answer questions in Spanish from news reporters. He appeared to understand the spoken language much better than he could speak it. His brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, however, speaks Spanish quite well.

When he was president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, who studied Spanish as the U.S. Naval Academy, would often speak Spanish at conferences in Latin American countries. But in situations where the nuances of words mattered, he insisted on the use of professional translators. (2012 interview with the Council of Foreign Relations.)

Although he married an Argentine woman, actor Matt Damon spoke Spanish long before he met her. He said in a 2012 interview with The Guardian that he studied Spanish through immersion in Mexico as a teenager and later backpacked throughout Mexico and Guatemala.

American actor Danny DeVito, who voiced the title role in the 2012 animated film The Lorax, also provided the voice for the Spanish and Latin American versions. (ABC.es)

Young actress Dakota Fanning had a Spanish-speaking role in the 2004 film Man on Fire. (IMDb)

Although he didn't speak Spanish before signing on, actor and comedian Will Ferrell starred in the 2012 Spanish-language film Casa de mi padre.

Actor Matthew McConaughey picked up Spanish while growing up in Uvalde, Texas, which has a large Spanish-speaking population. (Perezhilton.com)

American actress Gwyneth Paltrow spent the summer of sophomore year in high school as a foreign exchange student in Talavera de la Reina, Spain. She continues to regularly visit the town and her host family. (People magazine)

Rocker David Lee Roth recorded a Spanish version of his song Eat 'Em and Smile, calling it Sonrisa Salvaje (meaning "Wild Smile").

Actor Will Smith spoke a limited amount of Spanish during a 2009 interview on the Spanish TV show El Hormiguero. At one point he exclaimed, "¡Necesito más palabras!" ("I need more words!") (YouTube)

Actor and singer David Soul learned Spanish while attending college in Mexico City. He also can speak German.

People Who Spoke or Speak Spanish
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