Claims that Hilaria Baldwin attempted to pass as a Spaniard flooded social media this past week. She might have previously been known as a yoga instructor and as Alec Baldwin’s wife, but to fans, she will now be known as the woman who pretended to be from Spain for more than a decade. The mother of five came under fire last week when journalists and social media users discovered that although publications previously stated that she was born in Mallorca, Spain, she is actually from Boston, Massachusetts. 

Hilaria’s story is that she moved to New York at age 19 to go to NYU, which seemingly explained why she spoke with an accent in some of her previous interviews. But it only took Twitter users a couple of days to unravel Hilaria’s actual backstory. It all pointed out to her being the daughter of a lawyer, David Thomas, and a doctor, Kathryn Hayward, who raised their kids in the Boston area. Aside from the pair retiring to Mallorca and her father studying Spanish in college, the family has no real connection to Spain in terms of their heritage. Hilaria is not the first white person accused of pretending to be of a different ethnicity or culture, but seeing it all unfold on social media–and hearing her continue to defend her background–has undoubtedly been an experience. 

Hilaria spoke to The New York Times, addressing all of the rumors, remaining firm on her belief that there is nothing wrong with her representing both cultures–even if she wasn’t born or raised in Spain. Here’s a breakdown of the controversy and Hilaria’s reaction to claims that she has been misleading regarding her identity. 

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