Hilaria Baldwin's 'Spanish' Heritage Controversy, Explained

Everything you need to know about Alec Baldwin's wife Hilaria and the Spanish heritage controversy that erupted on Twitter.

Hilaria Baldwin

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Hilaria Baldwin

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. 

How it all started

Hilaria Baldwin attends the HOLA! USA launch

Hilaria has been open about wanting her children to be bilingual and bicultural

View this video on YouTube


Hilaria has repeatedly talked about how important it is for her kids to learn Spanish. In an interview with Mom.com, the outlet asked Hilaria how she plans to incorporate the “Latin culture” into her daughter Carmen’s life. The question itself is confusing since people from Spain aren’t Latinos, and Hilaria didn’t bother correcting them. She said her parents help by speaking to her kids in Spanish and bringing them books in the language.

Other Twitter users also pointed out that Hilaria chose names for her five kids that all seem to be of Spanish origin. Her children’s names are Carmen Gabriela, Rafael Thomas, Leonardo Ángel David, Romeo Alejandro, and Eduardo Pau Lucas. She shared her thoughts on that as well with the NYT. “Where is the smoking gun? My intentions are I’m living my life, and my life is created by my parents, my different experiences, my languages, my culture, and, yeah, my kids do have very Spanish-influenced names,” she said. “You want to know what? Their names are after people who were important to me, they’re not names that we pulled out of a hat. All my kids’ given names, the first names, are all from people in my life, and they have my husband’s last name. And we were very thoughtful about it. Especially the second name, sometimes the first name is something that sounds for me, good in both languages.”

Both Hilaria and her husband have shared explanations on Instagram

People are rightfully upset

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