Skip to content

Celebrities Who Speak Foreign Languages

In the dazzling world of celebrity culture, where fame and fortune often take centre stage, it’s easy to forget that beyond the glitz and glamour, many of our favourite stars possess hidden talents that extend far beyond the spotlight. One such skill that might surprise you is their ability to speak foreign languages fluently. We may know them for their acting chops, musical prowess, or athletic achievements. But, these celebrities have dedicated time and effort to master languages from around the globe. Join us on a journey through the linguistic prowess of these talented individuals. Explore the captivating world of celebrities who speak foreign languages.

15 Celebrities Who Speak Foreign Languages

Here’s a run-down of 15 of the best-known linguists in the celebrity sphere!

Leonardo DiCaprio

Although he was brought up in LA, Leonardo di Caprio was born to a German mother. He still has a lot of family in Germany, and regular visits to the country mean that he has managed to retain some of the German taught to him by his mother.

Does anyone know what, “There was room for Jack and Rose on that door!” is in German?

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper’s language skills remained relatively unknown until an interview about The Hangover 2 was aired in which he spoke fluent French. According to an article in People magazine, his reason for learning the language related to the film Chariots of Fire – he said, “When I was a kid, I remember watching Chariots of Fire,” “And French is the official language of the Olympics. So there’s a scene where a guy was speaking French and I thought, ‘Man, that sounds so cool. I want to learn French.’.”

It was thanks to a university exchange programme in Aix en Provence that he was able to learn the language. Watch an interview with Bradley Cooper in French on You Tube.

Johnny Depp

With a permanent home in France, it’s hardly surprising that Johnny Depp has mastered the French language.

He’s a real advocate of the country and the language, and also of French wines! In fact, he loves them so much that he bought his own vineyard near St Tropez…

Colin Firth

Colin Firth is married to Italian film producer/director Livia Giuggioli and lives in both London and Italy. He speaks the language proficiently and says: ‘It’s wonderful to have an excuse to learn a language. [My wife’s] English is better than my Italian will ever be. But, if you’re going to live your life with someone you should, as a mark of respect, try to learn their way of conceptualising things.” See Colin Firth’s Italian skills first-hand on You Tube.

Diane Kruger

Diane Kruger was born and raised in Germany, and is, therefore, a native German speaker. She now lives in America and speaks fluent English, but she is actually also fluent in French thanks to a stint modeling in Paris earlier in her career. You can see her impressive language skills in the French film Anything for Her (Pour Elle in French).

Gary Lineker

The international nature of football today means that players move around from country to country fairly easily.

Gary Lineker was one of the first big footballing stars to spend time at foreign clubs though, and not just that, but one of the first (and still one of relatively few) to learn to speak the language of his host country fluently.

He speaks Spanish fluently and Japanese to a good level.

Natalie Portman

It’s fair to say that Natalie Portman is a multi-talented lady. Not only is she an Oscar-winning actress and Harvard graduate, but she also speaks five languages!

She speaks Hebrew, German, Japanese, Spanish and some French too. See Natalie Portman speaking Hebrew.

Sign up for our offers

Exclusive discounts on your course with Cactus directly on your inbox!

Gwyneth Paltrow

After spending time in Spain as a teenager, Gwyneth Paltrow fell in love with the country and vowed to learn Spanish proficiently. She still spends a lot of time there, and true to word, now speaks it to a very high level.

She says she’s trying to pass on her language skills to her children too. Watch an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow in Spanish.

Paula Radcliffe

Although Paula Radcliffe is best known for her sporting achievements as a marathon runner, she is actually also a proficient speaker of both French and German.

She gained a first-class honours degree in French, German & Economics from Loughborough University and says that she often gets to use them when she travels to Europe to compete in international events. 

Kristin Scott Thomas

British actress Kristin Scott Thomas is now totally bilingual. Her native language is English, but having lived in France since the age of 19 she now speaks French completely fluently – she has made many French films, including the critically acclaimed ‘Il y a longtemps que je t’aime’ and ‘Leaving’.

Tilda Swinton

Over the last decade, Tilda Swinton has made a name for herself as one of Britain’s finest acting talents. One of her most taxing roles was in the 2010 film ‘I am love’, which required her to learn Italian. Her performance in the film was fantastic, and her standard of Italian was absolutely excellent.

Jonny Wilkinson

British rugby star Jonny Wilkinson has spent the last two years playing for French side Toulon, and made a concerted effort to learn the language. He has achieved a very high level, and regularly conducts interviews in French. Watch an interview with Jonny in French on You Tube.

Viggo Mortensen

Most famous for his role as Aragon in the cinematic masterpiece trilogy Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortensen has an impressive list of language skills.

Viggo grew up in Argentina, speaking English and Spanish with his family. His father is Danish, which led to him becoming fluent in the language. He also spent a number of years growing up in upstate New York which meant he picked up some Canadian-French as well.

He is regularly seen acting in Spanish-language films, flaunting his linguistic skills.

Mark Zuckerberg

Arguably the most famous man in the world of tech (sorry Elon), Mark Zuckerberg is not the first name that might spring to mind regarding celebrities who speak foreign languages. However, since the rise of Facebook and Meta, Mark has taken up learning Mandarin.

However, this learning journey is not for fun, he discovered that learning Mandarin would have brilliant business benefits! Cactus runs business language courses as well as group courses for those looking to improve their business prowess worldwide.

Sandra Oh

Famous for her roles in Grey’s Anatomy and Killing Eve, Sandra Oh is a Canadian born actress with linguistic skills in three languages.

Outside of her native English, Oh also speaks French fluently thanks to her Canadian upbringing. As well as this, she is also fluent in Korean as both of her parents, who met while studying in Canada are from Korea.

Join The Celebrities Who Speak Foreign Languages

So whether you are influenced by celebrity culture or not, it is always interesting to find out more about your favourite film and sports stars. Some of these famous language lovers may be well-known facts. However, we think that some may have come as a surprise.

The best thing about learning a new language though is that is accessible to all. So these celebrities may be living in their fancy mansions and driving sports cars, but they still learned a new language. Just like the rest of us. You can join one of our online or face-to-face language courses today and start learning a new language. One day you might be discussing wine in French with Johnny Depp, or business with Mark Zuckerberg in Mandarin.

Ready to Start Learning?

Learn a language,
your way

Are you ready to start learning a language? Find out more about our online lessons, face-to-face classes, teachers, best ways to start learning and more!

Start learning today

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • Catalan
  • Czech
  • Croatian
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Swedish
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
let’s go