What is going on with Hilaria Baldwin supposedly being fake Spanish?
Glad you asked – but there is a lot to cover. Starved of celebrity gossip and, well, all human interest all year, the internet has seized on the suggestion that Alec Baldwin’s wife has – at the very least – habitually over-stated her connection to Spain. I appreciate it doesn’t sound like much but, look, in 2020 we take what we can get.
I understand Hilaria is Alec Baldwin’s wife. But that’s about all I do understand. Where did all this start?
A few days before Christmas, Hilaria gave her Instagram followers the gift of a Leibovitz-style photo of her wearing lacy black underwear and holding her bemused-looking baby. The rambling caption suggested that this was in promotion of a lavender ointment cream she claimed at least nominal role in developing.
I’m as bemused as the baby. To quote the top-rated comment beneath Hilaria’s post: “What is your point?”
We’re getting there. It started to become a saga when the comedian Amy Schumer shared the post on her own Instagram, cracking a joke in the caption that she looked equally glamorous with her own newborn. Schumer later deleted the post after it sparked widespread ribbing and Hilaria took offence. They’ve since made up.
That’s a relief. What did Hilaria say?
She posted a rambling four-and-a-half minute video in which she suggested that she had been the victim of body-shaming, writing in the caption: “Love a good joke – don’t think this should have been a big deal” – two points which no doubt all of us can get behind.
So far this doesn’t seem to be about, you know, the Spain bit.
This is the thing. Bored and observant people on the internet noticed that the Spanish accent with which Hilaria had spoken in the past was mysteriously absent from her verbose video.
She has a Spanish accent, because she is Spanish, I assume.
Well, until recently, Hilaria’s speakers profile on the CAA website said she was “born in Mallorca, Spain and raised in Boston”. She has said her family lived in Mallorca, and she moved to the US at age 19 to go to university (and so knew “no pop culture”). She also identifies herself in her Instagram bio as “mama to five Baldwinitos” – Leonardo, Carmen Gabriela, Rafael, Romeo Alejandro and Eduardo Pau.
But the video resurfaced historic speculation about Hilaria’s Spanish heritage, causing internet detectives to start working overtime – Christmas be damned.
Material was unearthed of her American-seeming mother talking about her own childhood in Massachusetts; and the obituary of her paternal grandfather, describing family roots in Vermont that predate the American Revolution.
Hilaria was also identified online as a 1992 graduate of the Cambridge School of Weston, suggesting she did not move to the US at 19. There, say people claiming to be her former classmates, she went by Hillary.
“You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade-long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person,” tweeted @lenirbriscoe, before sharing clips of Hilaria speaking of married life (“it feels really different”) with a marked Spanish accent and apparently forgetting, on a cooking show, the English word for cucumber.
“This woman grew up in Massachusetts,” @lenibriscoe tweeted.
Yes, as drama and intrigue go, it is low stakes – but many people seized on it as exactly what they needed at the end of a high-stakes year.
I just want to thank the universe for this whole Hilaria Baldwin thing. It’s been a real fucking mess of a year and we deserve this.
— Jill Twiss (@jilltwiss) December 27, 2020
So does Hilaria – or Hillary – really have no link to Spain at all?
Hilaria’s parents live in Mallorca, and have done since 2011, according to Page Six.
And as writer Tracie Egan Morrissey pointed out in her comprehensive Instagram reporting on this saga – according to his online company profile, her father did study Spanish literature and visited the country frequently.
Has Hilaria responded?
Oh yes. She addressed the question in another Instagram video – this one is seven-and-a-half minutes long. To summarise, Hilaria says the discrepancies in her biography can be explained by inaccurate reporting, which she has endeavoured to correct; and personal insecurities about her (justifiable) claim to Spain.
Hilaria confirms she was born in Boston but as a “different kind of Bostonian”, having spent time in Spain while growing up (those frequent visits!) and speaking both languages. Most of her family lives there now and calls her Hilaria, making it habitual for her – though she will also answer to Hillary.
As for her accent, Hilaria denies putting it on: it simply changes, she says, depending on how much Spanish she has been speaking in the recent past. “This is something that I’ve always been a little bit insecure about, but I’ve decided maybe 2021 we will get over that.”
We can only hope.
And by “definitely addressing it very openly right now”, Hilaria says, she is starting as she means to go on. The speculation troubles her because “my thing is about being authentic — and then if people say I’m not being authentic, it hurts my feelings”.
She concludes where we started off: “I don’t really understand why it’s turning into such a big thing.” Shortly afterwards, Hilaria returned to Instagram to dispense further clarification, over six and half more minutes.
“I love you,” her husband commented.
Is that all Alec has had to say?
Oh, no. He has posted his own video, captioned “Consider the source”. It is eight-and-a-half minutes of him railing against media companies, preceded by a frosty festive greeting.
Amy Schumer must feel awful about all this.
She posted a photo of herself looking wistful in a a large-brimmed sunhat and sunglasses, with the caption: “I get it. I went to Spain a couple times and loved it too.” Schumer concluded with a cucumber emoji – then later deleted the whole thing.
‘Deleted the whole thing’ – now she’s talking my language.