The heritage of Alec Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria Baldwin, has come under scrutiny once again after she was recently accused of faking a Spanish accent while speaking with members of the media gathered outside her home.
Hilaria, who is a yoga instructor, recently spoke out in her husband’s defense following the news that the actor is facing involuntary manslaughter charges over the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust.
As she stood outside the New York City home she shares with Alec and their seven children on January 20, Hilaria Baldwin said: “I’m going to tell you what I’m going to say. You’re not going to ask me questions. I want you guys to realize we have seven kids, and you being here to escort them to school and to be there when they come home is not good.”
She continued: “So on a human level, you know, I’m not going to say anything to you. You know that. So please leave my family in peace and let this all play out, OK?”
However, the Boston native’s remarks came with what appeared to be a different accent from her usual American one, leading to accusations that she had taken on a false Spanish accent. Hilaria was born and raised in Massachusetts, although she had initially said she was born on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
Here’s a look back at her changing accent.
2012: Love and Marriage
During an appearance on Good Morning America in 2012—the same year she tied the knot with Alec—Hilaria spoke of the joys of being a newlywed in an accent that matched her statement that she was from Spain.
“Married life is really nice,” she said, enunciating her words in clipped tones. “You know, it feels different. It really feels different. But I didn’t think it was going to be different.”
That same year, she spoke to then-host A.J. Calloway on Extra about Alec’s romantic proposal.
She recounted: “He took me out to Montauk—he said that was as close as he could get to Spain, to my family, and to Rome because we really like Rome as well.
“And he got down on his knee. And then I don’t remember the rest because I
started crying,” she said.
2015: The Cucumber Incident
One of Hilaria’s most memorable moments as a purported Spanish woman came in 2015 when she appeared on the Today show.
During the segment, she made gazpacho, telling Telemundo’s Evi Siskos as she pointed to the ingredients required: “We have very few ingredients. We have tomatoes, we have, um, how do you say?”
Hilaria then correctly identified the ingredients in question as cucumbers, just a split second before Siskos stepped in to help her out.
After her Boston origins became widespread public knowledge in December 2020, she would later explain to The New York Times that the slipup was a mere “brain fart” and the result of being nervous because it was one of her first TV appearances.
2018: Talking Fitness
Making another appearance on the Today show, in 2018, Hilaria’s accent appeared to hover between both sides of the Atlantic as she spoke about maintaining an exercise routine as a mother.
“It’s not easy, and I think part of it is that I’m in shape before I have a baby and then I stay active when I’m pregnant. I’m not trying to stay thin. I’m just trying to keep my circulation going and stretching and keep my muscle tone up,” she said.
2019: Attentive Mother
During a video interview with Elle, the fitness devotee was shown getting playful with one of her offspring as she spoke with a noticeable accent about the importance of spending time with her children individually.
“I have four kids, but you have to be able to treat each one as if they were an only child sometimes,” she said. “So I have to have my individual time with each one of them.
“Maybe that’s why you wake up so early,” she then said to her baby, while rubbing the infant’s back. “You say, ‘I want my mommy time,’ huh?”
Hilaria‘s accent controversy came to the fore in late December 2020 when a Twitter user accused her of impersonating a Spanish person. The thread included a number of videos supporting the user’s allegation.
More damning comments regarding Hilaria’s ethnicity emerged, including tweets from people alleging to be her former high school classmates in Boston. They disputed her statement, made on her podcast in 2019, that she didn’t move to the United States until college. Also, Hilaria’s birthplace was listed as Mallorca on her former talent agency’s website.
She took a month off from Instagram in early 2021 after social media users noticed her accent had disappeared in a video posted in December 2020.
Upon her return to Instagram following the controversy surrounding her heritage, Hilaria—who was born Hillary Hayward-Thomas—said she had used the time for “listening, reflecting” after people criticized her accent.
“My parents raised my brother and me with two cultures, American and Spanish, and I feel a true sense of belonging to both. The way I’ve spoken about myself and my deep connection to two cultures could have been better explained—I should have been more clear and I’m sorry,” she wrote.
She further told The New York Times: “The things I have shared about myself are very clear. I was born in Boston. I spent time in Boston and in Spain. My family now lives in Spain. I moved to New York when I was 19 years old and I have lived here ever since. For me, I feel like I have spent 10 years sharing that story over and over again. And now it seems like it’s not enough.”
In a video shared on social media, she addressed her ever-changing accent, explaining: “I think people ask sometimes about how I speak. I am that person that, if I’ve been speaking a lot of Spanish, I, you know, tend to mix them.”
Following the controversy, she returned to consistently speaking with an American accent, although she was accused of disguising it again last week.