9 Celebs You Probably Didn't Know Could Speak French

"Oui, oui, baguette."

Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Gwyneth Paltrow selfie. Right: Hugh Jackman wearing a leather jacket.

Gwyneth Paltrow selfie. Right: Hugh Jackman wearing a leather jacket.


Now, we know many famous folks have a slew of talents that make them great actors, singers or athletes. However, it turns out many of them also have a knack for picking up languages — French being one of 'em.

Often regarded as the language of love, it's no surprise that loads of Hollywood celebs have managed to learn French, and can speak it pretty darn well, so well that a few of them have even conducted interviews solely in the language of Molière.

From film icons like Jane Fonda and Gwyneth Paltrow, all the way to athlete extraordinaire like Serena Williams – here are nine celebs you probably didn't know could speak la langue française:

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow's French is actually quite impressive! The actress has conducted a handful of interviews in French, including her and Robert Downey Jr.'s time at the Iron Man 3 press conference in Paris — where Paltrow responded to questions in French the entire time. Turns out, she's also fluent in Spanish.

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda was married to French screenwriter and director Roger Vadim for nearly a decade. So it's no surprise that Fonda managed to pick up the language. In fact, she's also done interviews solely in French and we gotta admit, her accent is pretty top-notch.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams learned French back in her teenage years when she began training for the French Open. In an interview with The Fader, Williams revealed that she wanted to learn the language in order to be able to speak French when she won.

"One of the reasons I learned French was I wanted to win the French Open, and I wanted to speak French when I won. The second was because, in most African countries, the main language outside of their local language is French or English. So I figured: I know English, maybe I can learn French."

John Malkovich

John Malkovich lived and worked in theatre in Luberon, France, for nearly 10 years before leaving Provence for good in 2003. So, with an impressive resumé of French theatre and film, it's no surprise that Malkovich is still able to speak the language all these years later.

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster learned French at a very young age when she attended a French-speaking prep school. The actress attended the Cannes Film Festival as a young girl for the film Taxi Driver in which she can be seen speaking French effortlessly.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been in the biz since childhood and managed to pick up French early on in his career. In addition to studying French poetry at Columbia University, Joseph has also spoken French on-screen, including in his performance for The Walk, in which Gordon-Levitt plays a Parisian high-wire artist.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper's French looks so darn comfy speaking French, you'd think he was from France. Turns out, Cooper took an interest in the language after watching Chariots Of Fire.

"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,'" Bradley told People back in 2011.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp does speak French, just not fluently. Sure, his accent is solid, but his confidence is lacking. Depp has spoken French during interviews before, but he tends to take his time in order to get the phrasing right.

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman's French may not be perfect, but the Aussie actor certainly tries his best. The star surprised many during his interview on France's Quotidien talk show, in which he discusses (in French) the future of Wolverine and it's pas mal!

Mike Chaar
Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Mike Chaar is an Assistant Editor for MTL Blog focused on recalls in Canada and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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