Hilaria Baldwin Once Again Tries to Set the Record Straight on Her Heritage and Upbringing

Elyse Dupre
·3 min read

Hilaria Baldwin is once again addressing accusations about her heritage.

After making headlines, the 36-year-old yoga instructor spoke to The New York Times to shed more light on her background.

"Today we have an opportunity to clarify for people who have been confused," she told the newspaper for an article published Dec. 30, "and have been confused in some ways by people misrepresenting me."

The controversy started earlier this week after Twitter user @lenibriscoe noted Hilaria—actually born Hillary—grew up in Boston and not Spain, as it's been claimed. The social media sleuth then pointed to the star's past interviews—claiming Hilaria used a "fake Spanish accent"—and even resurfaced an old Today segment in which Hilaria asked how to say "cucumber" in English.

For her part, Hilaria—whose Creative Artists Agency bio inaccurately noted she was born in Mallorca, Spain—seemed unsure where the confusion started. "The things I have shared about myself are very clear," she told the publication. "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."

(Though she maintains she told husband Alec Baldwin about her Boston upbringing when they met, the actor, who has fiercely defended Hilaria amid the criticism, once said his "wife is from Spain" during a 2013 late-night appearance with David Letterman).

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According to The New York Times, Hilaria first visited Spain with her parents when she was a baby and continued to return at least yearly, spending time in Madrid, Seville and Valencia. Although, she didn't specify the lengths or frequencies of these trips, saying "it would be maddening to do such a tight time line of everything." When she was back in Boston, she would reportedly speak Spanish with her family, cook Spanish food and have friends from Spain visit.

Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin
Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin

As a result, she doesn't believe it was misleading to call Spain home or tell her followers she's "going home" when traveling abroad. "Home is where my parents are going to be," Hilaria, whose parents now live in Mallorca, explained. "If my parents move to China, I am going to go to China and say, ‘I'm going home.'"

In an effort to protect her parents' privacy, especially after she wed the Emmy winner in 2012, Hilaria said she's been hesitant to publicly discuss her upbringing or love of Spain. However, she's adamant about raising her and Alec's children—Romeo, 2; Leonardo, 4; Rafael, 5; Carmen, 7; and Eduardo, 3 months—to be bilingual.

Despite tremendous backlash, she does not believe her experience has any connection to cultural appropriation, noting her life has been influenced by both American culture and Spanish culture. "This has been a part of my whole life," she told the newspaper, "and I can't make it go away just because some people don't understand it."

Hilaria has spoken out about the controversy before, including in video posted to Instagram earlier this week in which she explained the confusion around her name. "When I was growing up, in this country, I would use the name Hillary and in Spain, I would use the name Hilaria," she said at the time, noting her whole family would call her Hilaria.

As criticism poured in, she asked to be left alone. "There's nothing wrong with me," she said in another post, "and I'm not going to apologize for the amount of time that I spent in two countries and I'm not going to apologize for the fact that I speak two languages and I'm not going to apologize for the fact that I have two versions of my name."