While most of us may just automatically think that our favorite celebrities are born in The Unite States Of America (because that’s where they have become famous), that is not always the case. Of course, this is obvious for some stars (given something as telling as their name), but determining the true origin of a celebrity isn’t always an easy task.
With how easily actors and actresses can put on accents or change mannerisms for a particular role, it can be pretty tough to pinpoint just where they were born. While a name can sometimes give it all away, celebrities are known to often go with “stage names” in Hollywood, which can be quite different from their birth names. As a result, there is almost nothing a person can do to know the birthplace of a celebrity without straight up Googling where they are from.
With all this in mind, we did some digging ourselves, and this article is going to look at 15 different big stars that have unusual birthplaces that you would never ever suspect! Which ones were you most surprised by?
15 Nina Dobrev – Born In Bulgaria
Nina Dobrev is best known for her roles in the teen dramas The Vampire Diariesand Degrassi. She got her start in the entertainment as a young university student, and her first role was actually her breakout role, as Mia on Degrassi. She held the role for three years and then left that role to star in The Vampire Diaries series. While her name might be a little bit of a giveaway, most would assume that she was born in Russia, not Bulgaria. But low and behold, she was actually born in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. She moved to Canada at the age of two, and the rest is history. She is still very young in the world of acting, and don’t be shocked to see her get even bigger roles.
14 Nicki Minaj – Born On The Island Of Trinidad And Tobago
If you have to think of the most successful female rapper of the last near-decade or so, Nicki Minaj‘s name has to be at the very top of the list. She rose to fame back in the late 2000’s with her mixtapes, and within just a few years, she was selling out stadiums, winning awards, and climbing the music charts. She has managed to keep her crown and remain relevant and shows no signs of slowing down in the music industry. While she is often billed as a New York Girl, that is only partly true. Sure, she grew up there and spent a lot of her life there, but that’s not where she was born. In fact, Minaj was actually born on the island of Trinidad and Tobago. She made the move from Trinidad and Tobago to Queens, NY with her family when she was 5 years old.
13 Tommy Lee – Born In Athens, Greece
While you don’t hear too much from him anymore, there was a point when Tommy Lee was all over your TV. Tommy Lee is best known as the drummer for Motley Crue, and he has been associated with numerous other musical acts over the years as well. However, he was also known for some for his marriages to actresses Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear, which saw him end up in the tabloids quite a bit for a time. While he looks and sounds like he is a full-blooded American, Tommy Lee was actually born in Athens, Greece. His father was there serving in the Army and met a Greek woman (who would eventually give birth to Tommy). A year after he was born, the family moved to California.
12 Amy Adams – Born In Italy
Amy Adams has been active in Hollywood since 1994, but only in the last few years has she really transformed into one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She is among the highest-paid actresses and can play a variety of different roles, which makes her highly sought after in the industry. She originally wanted to be a ballerina but eventually found that the theater was more her speed, and that turned out to be a very good move. While she grew up in Colorado and became famous after she moved to Los Angeles, California, she was actually born in Italy. The reason she was born in Italy is because her father was stationed in the military over there, and he took Adams’ mother and siblings over there to live with him. They soon moved back to The United States.
11 Joaquin Phoenix – Born In Puerto Rico
Joaquin Phoenix is a very interesting individual and a true artist. He has done it all from acting, directing, producing, making music, and much more. He has won a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe, and also a number of different Academy Award nominations. He has been active in Hollywood since 1982 and didn’t make it to the big screen until 1989. Since then, he has been incredibly busy in the entertainment industry. If you are wondering where he gets his “interesting” personality from, well, his parents were followers of Children of God, which was a cult back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. While his parents were in the cult, Joaquin was born down in Puerto Rico, but the family moved back to the mainland USA soon after.
10 Keanu Reeves – Born In Beirut, Lebanon
Throughout his career, which began in the mid-1980’s, Keanu Reeves has starred in many blockbuster films in numerous different genres. His range in acting is extremely rare, and he is one of the best pure actors of the last few decades. While he has primarily done action films, he has done his fair share of comedies as well. While Reeves is often marketed as a Canadian, that is not where he was born. Reeves was actually born in Beirut, Lebanon and has a very interesting family history. His mother is English and his father is from Hawaii and is part Chinese, English, Portuguese, and Hawaiian. His family moved around a lot (and his mother remarried a lot) until Reeves eventually settled and lived in Toronto before hitting it big in Hollywood.
9 Martin Lawrence – Born In Frankfurt, Germany
Martin Lawrence got his start as a comedian in New York City and, after working hard, was able to impress industry executives and get his first acting gig in What’s Happening Now! He then got his own hit series on TV and began starring in bigger movie roles. Before long, Martin Lawrence was a big star and was among the highest-paid actors of the 2000’s. While he seems a lot like a born and bred New Yorker, he wasn’t born in the Big Apple. Not only that, but he wasn’t even born in The United States! Lawrence was born in Frankfurt, Germany to two parents who were serving in the U.S. military. During his teenage years, he primarily lived in New York and Maryland.
8 Lupita Nyong’0 – Born In Mexico City
Lupita Nyong’o burst onto the scene a few years ago with a breakout role in 12 Years a Slave, which won her an Academy Award. Since then, she has appeared in a number of different feature films and looks to have a very promising career ahead of her, and has also dabbled in acting on Broadway. Pretty good for someone who got their start as a production assistant and made her acting debut less than a decade ago. However, let’s take a look way back in her life, back to where she was actually born. Despite what you might think, Lupita was born in Mexico City to two Kenyan parents. She currently has dual citizenship for both Kenya and Mexico.
7 Isla Fisher – Born In The Small Arab Nation Of Oman
Isla Fisher has been acting since she was a little child but became famous for her various different comedic roles in movies such as Wedding Crashers, Scooby-Doo, Hot Rod, and many others. She has also found success as a voice actor and is even a published author. She has a wide range of different talents and is definitely an underrated actress. Her history is a very interesting one as well. Isla Fisher was born in the small Arab nation of Oman to two Scottish parents. However, the family would soon move to Perth, and Fisher largely identifies as an Australian. She got her start acting in commercials and slowly worked her way up to the star that she is today.
6 Emma Watson – Born In Paris, France
Emma Watson has had a very successful career in Hollywood so far as an actress, model, and activist. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, you likely know Emma Watson best for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series of movies. The films earned her tens of millions of dollars and turned her into a huge star all around the world. Since then, she has done it all from acting in other feature-length films, to being a model and spokeswoman, and so much more. While she might seem like England is and always has been her home, that isn’t entirely true. Watson was actually born in Paris, France and lived there until she was five. After her parents split up, she would move back to England.
5 Freddie Mercury – Born In Zanzibar
There have been thousands and thousands of talented musical acts and singers over the years, but perhaps none were as talented at their craft as Freddie Mercury was. Mercury was the frontman for the legendary rock band Queen. He had unbelievable range in his voice and, for my money, is the best singer to have ever lived. He was not only a great singer, but also wrote many of Queen’s hit songs. Sadly, Mercury passed away due to AIDS complications at the young age of 45. While he lived in England for most of his life, that is not where his life began. Mercury was born in Zanzibar (which is now the African country of Tanzania) and lived there and in India as a child. He and his family would move to England when he was 17.
4 Mila Kunis – Born In Ukraine
Mila Kunis has been, without a doubt, one of the most talented and popular actresses of the 2000’s. She became famous for her role on That ’70s Show, and her voice became one of the most heard of national TV as she voiced Meg Griffin on Family Guy. So, she was big on TV but hadn’t done much in terms of movies. However, that changed in 2008 with Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Since then, she has had numerous big TV and movie acting roles and is currently married to Ashton Kutcher, who is a star in his own right. Despite what many of you might think, Mila Kunis was actually born in Ukraine and moved to the USA back when she was seven years old and began acting as an after-school activity and was quickly discovered by an agent.
3 Nicole Kidman – Born In Hawaii
When you think about the best actress in Hollywood, Nicole Kidman‘s name should be at or near the top of that list. She has been active since the early 1980’s and is still getting great roles to this day. She has won basically every kind of award you can win, including an Academy Award, several Golden Globes, and many others. She is also among the highest-paying actresses in recent memory and has a ton of range as an actress. It is well-known that she is an Australian actress, but what isn’t well-known is that she wasn’t actually born there. Kidman was actually born in Hawaii to Australian parents who were in the USA on student visas.
2 Charlize Theron – Born In South Africa
Charlize Theron might just have more range than any other actress in Hollywood. She can play basically any sort of character you give her, which was evident when she played serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, which won her several major awards, including an Academy Award. She has had many leading roles and seems to never really have a bad performance in a film. In addition to being an actress, she also owns a production company. One thing that you might not know about Theron is that while she is an American citizen now, that isn’t where she was born. Theron was actually born in South Africa and then moved to the U.S as a teenager with her mother.
1 Natalie Portman – Born In Jerusalem, Israel
Natalie Portman is one of the most accomplished and successful actresses Hollywood has seen in a while. She began acting in 1994, and since then, has had dozens of acting roles, many of which have been wildly critically successful. She has been nominated for and won dozens of different awards for a variety of different films and roles. In addition to that, she is also a Harvard-educated woman, which likely makes her one of the smartest people in Hollywood. Still only 36 years old, don’t be shocked to see Natalie Portman potentially one day be seen as the greatest actress of all time. While she may look and sound like an All-American girl, that is not the case. Portman was actually born in Jerusalem, Israel and lived there until she was three years old, when her family moved to the USA.