13 Celebrities You Had No Idea Could Speak Italian as a Second Language

When we see our favorite actors on the big screen or hear the most popular singers belting out a catchy tune on the radio, we rarely stop to consider that they might be bilingual or even multilingual. As it turns out, many celebrities speak more than one language, and a surprisingly number speak Italian fluently or at a very high level. In this article, we’re introducing thirteen celebrities who have mastered the language of love to varying degrees of fluency.

celebrities who can speak italian

1. Viggo Mortensen

Known for his role as Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings” series, Mortensen is a polyglot in every sense of the word. He speaks fluent Danish, English, French and Spanish and is conversational in Italian. He attributes his Italian skills to the many years he spent in Argentina, a country with a rich Italian cultural heritage.

2. Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster, best known for her roles in “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Taxi Driver,” learned Italian while attending the prestigious Yale University, where she majored in literature. Foster speaks the language very well (though she claims to have a slight French accent) and isn’t afraid to conduct interviews in the language!

3. Colin Firth

The British actor, known for his roles in “The King’s Speech” and “Pride and Prejudice,” speaks fluent Italian. He married Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli in 1997 after meeting her on the set of “Nostromo,” and they moved to the Italian region of Umbria. There, they had two sons, Luca and Matteo. Unfortunately, the couple split in 2019 due to marital difficulties. You can hear Colin speaking Italian in the video below which was filmed in 2021.

4. Kobe Bryant

NBA legend Kobe Bryant learned fluent Italian during his childhood when his father, Joe Bryant, played professional basketball in Italy. Kobe spent several years living in Italy during his formative years, in various cities including Rieti, Reggio Calabria, Pistoia and Reggio Emilia, which provided him with the opportunity to learn the language and immerse himself in the culture.

5. Audrey Hepburn

The multi-award-winning actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn was able to speak multiple languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, and unsurprisingly, Italian. She learned the language during her second marriage to an Italian psychiatrist.

6. Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz, who is fluent in Spanish and English, learned Italian for her role in Sergio Castellitto’s melodrama Don’t Move (Non Ti Muovere). She won the David di Donatello for her performance. Although she has a Spanish accent, she speaks the language very well.

7. Vincent Cassel

French actor Vincent Cassel, who was married to Monica Bellucci for 14 years, speaks some Italian, but what’s really remarkable is that he has only a subtle French accent.

8. Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman, best remembered for her role in Casablanca, was a native Swedish speaker, but she was also fluent in four additional languages: English, Italian, French and German. When asked which language she prefers, she responded: “English for acting, Italian for romance, French for diplomacy, German for philosophy, and Swedish for secrecy, because so few people know it.” A quote worth remembering, don’t you think?

9. Harry Styles

Singer Harry Styles made the most of his time during lockdown by learning how to speak Italian and communicate in sign language. You can witness him putting his language prowess into practice (and charming his Italian fans in the process) in the video below, captured during a concert in Reggio Emilia.

10. Serena Williams

Serena Williams is a true champion, both on and off the tennis court. Her passion for languages is impressive; in addition to her native English, she speaks French, Spanish, and some Italian.

11. Venus Williams

And Serena isn’t the only Williams sister with a passion for languages. Venus is also a polyglot; besides English, she speaks French, German, Italian, and Mandarin to varying degrees.

12. Sir Christopher Lee 

We all know Sir Christopher Lee as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. However, did you know he was also an accomplished polyglot? Lee spoke excellent Italian, Spanish, French, and German in addition to his native English, and had a moderate proficiency in Greek, Russian, and Swedish.

13. Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe lived in New York City for 40 years before relocating to Rome, Italy, following his marriage to Italian director Giada Colagrande. He speaks Italian at an intermediate level, allowing him to comfortably engage in basic conversations.


Ethics statement: Below you will find affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!

Lingopie (affiliate link) is the Netflix of language learning application that uses real TV shows and movies to help you learn a new language. You can choose a show to watch based on your fluency level, and use the interactive subtitles to get instant translations to help you learn quickly.

Are you interested in improving your Italian in a fun and stress-free manner? Then we highly recommend Serena Capilli's short stories in Italian (affiliate link), designed for beginners, advanced beginners, and lower intermediate learners (A1-B1 CEFR). These stories have been optimised for English speakers in search of a fun, laid-back learning experience! Read our full review here.