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Hilaria Baldwin was born Hillary Thomas to white American parents in Boston. But since her 2012 marriage to Alec Baldwin, her social-media posts and interviews led people to believe that she was from Spain and that Spanish was her "native language."
Insider compiled a comprehensive timeline of Baldwin's public posts, interview clips, and other statements about where she was born and grew up.
Baldwin did not respond to Insider's request for comment.
Hilaria Baldwin was boosted further into the spotlight last week when a Twitter thread claimed she had spent the better part of a decade leading people to believe she was from Spain.
Baldwin, the wife of the actor Alec Baldwin, recently said that she was indeed born in Boston and that her birth name is Hillary Thomas. But what she has shared on social media and in interviews led many to believe that her background was different.
"The things I have shared about myself are very clear," she told The New York Times this week. "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."
Insider went through Baldwin's Instagram-post history, her tweets, her family's blog posts, and seven years' worth of public interviews to see how her statements on her background have evolved since she married and joined the public spotlight. Neither Baldwin nor her representatives responded to Insider's request for comment.
Many of the following examples were highlighted in @lenibriscoe's Twitter thread, while others were discovered by Insider in our research on Baldwin's background.
Let's dive in.
August 2011: Hilaria begins dating Alec Baldwin after meeting him at a restaurant. She says on Twitter that she "spent a lot of my childhood in Spain."
When one of her followers asked why she frequently tweeted in Spanish, she responded, "Because I spend a lot of my childhood in Spain — my fam lives there."
—Hilaria Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin) August 28, 2011
In her Times interview, Baldwin said she referred to Spain as her home because that's where her parents live.
"Home is where my parents are going to be," she said. "If my parents move to China, I am going to go to China and say, 'I'm going home.'"
June 2012: Hilaria marries Alec. The Times announcement says she "was raised in Boston and Spain."
In 2012, Hilaria, then 28, and Alec, 54, had their nuptials announced in The Times.
"She graduated from New York University," the article said. "She was raised in Boston and Spain; her parents now reside on Mallorca."
The Times said her full name was Hilaria Lynn Thomas.
A People magazine story at the time (archived by the website Celebuzz) said she wore a "Spanish veil" and said, "I liked that I brought in a bit of my culture."
She told Vanity Fair España that her family couldn't pronounce her new surname.
She was quoted as saying: "A mi familia se lo tuve que repetir tres veces: 'Baldddwinnn.' Y a la tercera me dijeron 'Ah, ¡ya sabemos quién es! ¿Por qué no lo pronunciaste bien la primera vez?'"
That roughly translates to: "I had to repeat it to my family three times: 'Baldddwinnn.' And the third time they said 'Oh, we already know who it is! Why didn't you pronounce it right the first time?'"
July 2012: Baldwin tells "Extra" that "35 or 40" of her family members came from Spain for the wedding.
"It was the best party," she said in the video interview. "I had, like, 35 or 40 of my family members come from Spain, which equals a really good party."
When asked where their honeymoon would be, Baldwin said she hoped to go to "España" soon with her husband to see her family.
July 2012: Baldwin appears on "Good Morning America" with exclusive photos from the wedding.
You can see the full interview on YouTube. Baldwin speaks with a distinct accent.
ABC News' article about the exclusive interview and photos from the wedding said Baldwin's veil "was inspired by her Spanish roots."
September 2012: After her wedding, Baldwin starts an Instagram account. She frequently captions photos in both Spanish and English.
One showed her husband and Richard Gere on stage together with the caption "Hubby and Señor Gere."
A blurry image of former US President Bill Clinton speaking was captioned "Señor Clinton."
Another post appeared to show Baldwin posing with her brother, her nephew, and her father in Mallorca, Spain. "Mi familia," she wrote in the caption.
Another Instagram post appeared to be a photo of her as a child, with the caption "La vida en España."
November 2012: Baldwin says in a reply to someone on Twitter that she was "born in Boston."
Though the tweet she was replying to has been deleted, Baldwin's response is still online.
"Born in Boston and spent much of my childhood there," she said.
—Hilaria Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin) November 15, 2012
November 2012: Baldwin posts a throwback photo of her wearing a Spanish soccer jersey, seemingly in response to people doubting her "cultura."
"Incase there was any question about mi cultura upbringing," the caption read. She added the hashtag #iftherewereamiddlefingeremojiwouldbeinsertedhere. (This was before the middle-finger emoji was added to Apple's keyboard.)
A woman named Ravid Levy, whose LinkedIn lists Los Angeles as her hometown, commented on the post, "I think I'm responsible for taking that photo."
Baldwin said in a comment, which appears beneath Levy's, that "it was un buen momento."
April 2013: Alec appears on "The Late Show with David Letterman." "My wife is from Spain," he says after imitating her accent.
At the time, Hilaria was pregnant with their first child.
In the interview, Alec talked about what it was like living with his new wife during her first pregnancy. At one point, he impersonated her and put on a slight accent.
"My wife is from Spain," he said as an aside, explaining the change in his voice. The audience laughed.
"I don't mean to be racist when I put that accent on, by the way," he said.
This clip resurfaced in a recent Page Six article.
April 2013: Baldwin responds to someone on Twitter to say her family "lives in Spain."
After someone criticized Baldwin's frequent tweets in Spanish, she replied: "You do realize my family lives in Spain and I speak Spanish... Si?"
—Hilaria Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin) April 20, 2013
May 2013: Baldwin posts throwback photos of herself performing a Latin dance, saying her future daughter was "taking after her mama."
"Pitufina is taking after her mama right now and doing this in my tummy," she captioned the photo.
The nickname Pitufina comes from the Spanish version of the cartoon "The Smurfs." Baldwin confirmed on Twitter that it meant "baby girl Smurf."
—Hilaria Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin) April 5, 2013
—Hilaria Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin) April 5, 2013
June 2013: Baldwin retweets a Latina magazine article that lists her as one of the "15 Best Dressed Latina Stars of the Week."
The magazine's Twitter account tagged Baldwin's verified account. "U looked stunning in that red dress this week!" the tweet said. "Picked u as one of our best dressed stars."
Baldwin quoted the tweet and added a kissing-face emoji.
—Hilaria Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin) June 7, 2013
The next month, Latina again put Baldwin on its best-dressed list and joked on Twitter that she should probably get "a permanent spot" on the list. "Haha! I'll take it!" Baldwin replied with emoji of a dress, a shoe, and a purse.
—Hilaria Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin) July 12, 2013
Baldwin did not correct the magazine's identification of her as a "Latina star."
September 2013: In an interview with Mom.com, Baldwin is asked how she would "incorporate Latin culture" into her newborn daughter's life.
One month after her daughter, Carmen, was born, Baldwin did an interview with Mom.com. Here's the exchange:
How will she incorporate Latin culture into Carmen's life?
I want her to be bilingual. My parents are here, visiting from Spain, so we speak to her in Spanish. They bought her a bunch of books like "Are You My Mother." In Spanish, it's "Eres Tu Mi Mama?" We read that to her.
What are her favorite Spanish-language songs that she sings to baby?
"Cielito Lindo," which means "little beautiful sky"; "A La Nanita Nana (Let's Sing a Little Lullaby)"; and she really likes "Ave Maria" … I walked down the aisle to "Ave Maria."
There's no indication in the published interview that Baldwin tried to clarify her family's background.
November 2013: Baldwin reposts a photo of a sunset on Instagram and says it reminds her of being young in Spain.
"This is the sunset I remember from when I was young in Spain," she wrote in the caption. "Qué foto más maravillosa."
February 2014: Baldwin posts a photo of her doing a yoga pose with Spain's flag to celebrate being back in the country.
"Grateful to be back (and on my back) in #España," she wrote in the caption.
March 2014: An interview with Yoga Journal says Baldwin "grew up in the US and Spain."
One of Baldwin's answers in the Q&A included an aside, added by the editorial team for context, that said the celebrity grew up in both countries.
"When I go to Spain (Hilaria grew up in the US and Spain), I eat paella, and things I wouldn't normally eat," Baldwin said.
March 2014: A Vanity Fair España article mentions that Baldwin didn't want to provide or confirm her biographical details.
"Imbuída de ese espíritu, Thomas se niega a darme o confirmarme ningún dato biográfico, más allá de anécdotas elegidas con cuidado," the article said.
This approximately translates to: "New York is a mecca for people who want to reinvent themselves. Imbued with that spirit, Thomas refuses to give me or confirm any biographical information, beyond carefully chosen anecdotes."
Thomas was Baldwin's maiden name.
The article's introduction referred to Baldwin as "la española," meaning a woman from Spain.
The one piece of information about her childhood that Baldwin shared in the article was that she was a competitive Latin dancer. She said she learned the art in Seville, Spain.
Competition records for Hillary Hayward-Thomas, which someone posted on Twitter, are listed on DanceSportInfo.net. Rankings are listed from 2002 to 2005 in cities including Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Blackpool, England.
May 2014: Elle magazine profiles Baldwin and says "she grew up between Boston and Spain."
"Hilaria (pronounced without the H) is half Spanish, and she grew up between Boston and Spain," the article said.
This description is consistent for most of Baldwin's 2014 interviews.
May 2014: The Times profiles Baldwin a couple of weeks later and repeats the mention of Boston and Spain.
"Her voice betrays a slight Spanish accent, remains of a childhood split between Boston and Spain," the article said.
Similar to the Elle profile, The Times' article specifies that her name should be "pronounced ee-LAH-ree-ah."
Baldwin had been working as a lifestyle correspondent for the TV program "Extra" for two years. The Times said the job came about "in part because of her husband's friendship with Steve Sunshine, a producer of the show."
Throughout the rest of 2014, as Carmen turns 1 and starts talking, Baldwin frequently posts photos and videos with Spanish captions.
"Feliz cumpleanos Carmen Gabriela," Baldwin wrote on her daughter's 1st birthday. "Te quiero con todo mi corazon."
She also shared a video of Carmen saying the word "bella" for the first time. "In Spanish it means 'beautiful,'" Baldwin wrote. "We like to call her Carmen bella. It's a good first Spanish word." Emoji of Spain's flag and hearts accompanied the caption.
October 2014: Baldwin's father, David L. Thomas Jr., and her mother, Kathryn Hayward, found a website called International Integrators.
The site included a blog, where they shared personal stories about their approaches to wellness.
Baldwin's mother's biography in her first blog post said she worked "at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School from 1992 until 2012."
The New York Post reported that Thomas and Hayward moved to Spain in 2011.
January 2015: Baldwin's father publishes a blog post about his affinity for the "Spanish language and culture" and says he doesn't have "an iota of latin blood."
"I grew up in a Midwestern family that relocated to the East Coast of the United States when I was still an infant," Thomas wrote, adding, "My path in life has been heavily influenced by Spanish language and culture, and not because I have an iota of latin blood in my veins."
Thomas said that when he was in grade school, his father went to Argentina on a business trip while Thomas stayed in Nebraska. "While I have many fond memories of that visit to the state of my birth, I did miss my father and he promised me that, if I ever learned Spanish, he would take me to Argentina," he wrote.
He started studying Spanish and eventually visited Argentina, Chile, and Peru with his father. As an adult, Thomas visited Spain and found a deeper connection with the country via food, he said.
"Spanish meals are served in a way that facilitates conversation and relationship," Thomas wrote. "Unlike in my family of origin, meals consist of various courses with usually no more than one food on the plate at a time."
The blog mentioned that he lived in Mallorca.
August 2015: A Hello magazine interview refers to Baldwin as a "Spanish-born beauty."
"While the Spanish-born beauty hopes to share her knowledge and passion for living a healthy lifestyle with others in a new book she's writing, it seems it's already rubbing off on her famous husband," the profile said.
As of Tuesday, there was no correction or update to the interview.
September 2015: Baldwin starts occasionally reposting memes in Spanish on Instagram.
Screenshots of mom-related memes started appearing on Baldwin's Instagram account, often reposted from Spanish-language accounts.
The one above describes a "mombie," or "mom-zombie," as "aquelle mamá que vive con la ilusión de poder dormir en algún momento" — or "a mother who lives with the illusion of being able to sleep at some point."
October 2015: Baldwin participates in a "People en Espanol festival" on the "Today" show.
In a now infamous video segment, Baldwin appeared alongside the Telemundo host Evi Siskos and taught viewers how to make "authentic" gazpacho. The video's caption said it was part of the "People en Espanol festival in New York City."
Baldwin speaks with a pronounced accent and at one point appears to forget the English word for cucumber.
"We have tomatoes, we have, um, how do you say in English? Cucumber!" she said.
"In this country, I never order gazpacho from the menu," she said later in the video. She added that she avoided it in US restaurants because people add nonstandard ingredients like Tabasco sauce.
"There's no extra spice," she said of her recipe. "It's not something that is in the palate of Spain. We don't use these spicier sauces."
She later told The Times that the "cucumber" moment was because she was nervous on TV and had a "brain fart."
March 2016: Baldwin is interviewed by Latina magazine. The article identifies her as "Spanish-American."
In what was touted as an "exclusive" interview with Latina, Baldwin was introduced as a "Spanish-American belleza."
There wasn't an indication that Baldwin tried to correct this description of herself.
December 2016: Baldwin publishes a book, "The Living Clearly Method," and reveals that she and Alec have a Spanish phrase engraved in their wedding rings.
"Alec and I have a Spanish phrase engraved on our wedding rings: Somos un buen equipo, which means 'We are a good team,'" she wrote in the opening chapter.
You can see the engraved message in one of her Instagram posts from 2013.
December 2016: Baldwin and her family are featured on the cover of Hola magazine.
Baldwin had also hosted the launch party for Hola USA earlier that year.
She celebrated the cover story with an Instagram post, wishing everyone "Feliz Navidad y Happy Holidays!"
You can see the cover story, published in Spanish, here.
An aggregation of the interview from PopSugar referred to Baldwin as a "Spanish-born beauty."
At some point in this period, Baldwin is signed to a talent agency, and her biography says she was born in Spain.
Though Baldwin's bio on the Creative Arts Agency website was updated this week to remove the reference to her place of birth, reports from New York magazine and the New York Post said it once said Baldwin "was born in Mallorca, Spain and raised in Boston, Massachusetts."
This misleading statement made its way to other bio pages for Baldwin. As recently as Tuesday, Baldwin's Amazon Prime biography said she "was born on January 6, 1984 in Mallorca, Spain as Hilaria Lynn Thomas."
When asked in the Times interview about the CAA bio, Baldwin blamed it on a "disappointing" mistake. "I rarely at all work with CAA now," she said.
May 2018: Hilaria and Alec are profiled again by Hola magazine. The article says that she was "born in Spain" and that her "native language" is Spanish. The magazine later issued a correction.
"Hilaria, who was born in Spain, has made certain to raise her children with her native language, Spanish," the feature said.
The article also referred to Hilaria, Alec, and their three children as the "Baldwinitos" family.
On Tuesday, Hola added a correction to the top of the profile to reflect that she recently said she was born in the US.
"Correction: On December 27, 2020, Hilaria Baldwin addressed 'chatter online' surrounding her culture and identity," it said. "Hilaria clarified that she was born in Boston, Massachusetts and not Mallorca, Spain like her CAA Speaker's biography previously stated prior to being updated."
April 2020: Baldwin records a podcast with friends where she gives the impression that she moved to New York City from Spain when she was 19.
Baldwin sat down for the "Cocktails and Convos with Cat and Nat" YouTube and podcast series. The show's notes had a list of takeaways that included: "Though she and Alec are so different (culture, background, age, and language among other things!) they are each other's best friends."
The episode description said Baldwin was "originally from Mallorca, Spain."
A short section of the episode was included in the Twitter thread in December. In it, Baldwin said she didn't realize how famous her husband was when they met, prompting Cat and Nat to ask about when she moved to the United States.
"So you moved here with your parents?" one of the hosts asked, seemingly referring to New York City, where the three women recorded the episode.
"No, no, no, no, no," Baldwin replied. "I moved here when I was 19 to go to NYU."
"Ah. From?" the host said.
"From — my family lives in Spain. They live in Mallorca," Baldwin said.
"So yeah, that would make sense you wouldn't know the pop culture of—" the other host chimed in.
"Well, I know no pop culture," Baldwin said. "Now I'm better. I knew no pop culture."
Later in the show, one of the hosts asked Baldwin whether she would ever "want to move back" to Spain.
"All the time," Baldwin replied.
"You came for school and you never left?" the woman asked.
"I came for school, and I never, ever, ever left," Baldwin said. "Alec and I are always like, 'Oh one day we'll move there.' My kids actually go to a bilingual school so that they're getting educated in both languages so that we have the opportunity."
September 2020: A parenting-forum thread about Baldwin begins to discuss her family background and speculates that her accent is "fake."
A DC Urban Moms thread dedicated to Baldwin — which was started in 2019 as people criticized her fifth pregnancy announcement — switched in the fall to focus on her birthplace.
"It sounds like her mother had a thriving career in Boston for many years - how could her daughter have been raised in Spain?" one anonymous user wrote. "Even if she vacationed there regularly, there's no reason she would have picked up an accent like that. It's fake."
October 2020: A negative review of Baldwin's "Mom Brain" podcast mentions she didn't have an accent when she was in high school.
The podcast review, included in @lenibriscoe's Twitter thread and verified as legitimate in the Apple Podcast app, was written by someone with the user ID "Boston not Spain."
"I know Hilary Hayward-Thomas from the Cambridge School of Weston in MA," the review said. "She didn't have an accent then and didn't change her name to Hilaria. Because she's not Spanish! So please stop using an accent in this podcast and interrupting your guests."
November 2020: Someone creates a subreddit dedicated to exposing Baldwin as "the Spanish Rachel Dozeal [sic] who faked an identity to get famous."
On November 30, a Redditor with the username McNasty420 created a Hilaria Baldwin subreddit.
A welcome discussion thread was titled "This is a sub to discuss Hillary Hayward-Thomas, the Spanish Rachel Dozeal [sic] who faked an identity to get famous. Alec Baldwin's wife."
Rachel Dolezal's life became a national news story in 2018 when it was revealed that she was a white woman pretending to be Black.
In the comments of that thread, McNasty420 said they came from the DC Urban Mom forum.
"Welcome everybody here from DCurbanmom!" they wrote. "Over half the posts in there got mysteriously deleted today if anybody noticed. Looks like CAA, her publicist, is throwing some money at the situation over there. Hahah but they can't do it here, and Reddit will show up on a google search."
McNasty420 did not immediately respond to Insider's request for further comment.
December 21, 2020: A Twitter thread compiling videos to show Baldwin's changing accent picks up attention.
"You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin's commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person," @lenibriscoe wrote at the beginning of a Twitter thread that has over 20,000 likes.
People responded to the thread with other examples or claims about knowing Baldwin in high school when she went by Hillary and didn't speak with an accent.
December 27, 2020: Baldwin responds to the Twitter thread in an Instagram video.
"I just want to be very clear, just because I think that there's some stuff that needs to be clarified," she said. "I've tried in the past to be clear, but sometimes people don't always report and write what you say, and I've kind of just put my hands up."
She continued: "I'm born in Boston, and then I spent some of my childhood in Boston, some of my childhood in Spain ... There was, like, a lot of back-and-forth my entire life, and I'm really lucky that I grew up speaking two languages, and I'm trying to raise my kids so that they speak two languages too."
She addressed accusations that her accent changed from public appearance to public appearance or Instagram video to Instagram video.
She said she tended to mix English and Spanish depending on which language she's been speaking more of recently. "It's one of those things that's always been a little bit — I've been a little insecure about over at different times," she said. "When I tried to work, I tried to enunciate a little bit more, but if I get nervous or upset or something, then I start to mix the two."
She added: "It's not something that I'm, like, playing at. So I want that to be very, very, very clear."
She also said that when she was "growing up in this country," meaning the US, she used the name Hillary, but her "whole family" called her Hilaria.
"I think that we can all be really, like, clear that it's the same name, just a few letters different, so I think we shouldn't be so upset about it," she said.
Baldwin goes on say she feels lucky she "grew up with two cultures" and "speaking two languages."
"I've seen some things about, like, 'She's a white girl.' Yes, I am a white girl. I am a white girl," she said. "Let's be very clear that Europe, you know, has a lot of white people in there. And my family is white. Ethnically I'm a mix of many, many, many things. Culturally I grew up with the two cultures. So it's really as simple as that."
People from Spain can indeed be considered white — but the larger point people were making was that Baldwin had been misrepresenting herself as a Spaniard.
In her Instagram video, Baldwin put the blame on media outlets and reporters.
"In the past, I would get very frustrated when reporters would report this or report that, and I'd try to be very clear," she said. "They'd be like, 'Oh, so you were born in Spain?' and I was like, 'All right, let me give you a spoiler alert, you're the only one who knows.' And I would be laughing, because it was like, anytime I would say it, people just want to label you as something else.
"I'm like, 'I'm born in Boston.' It was literally the first thing that I told my husband," she continued. "And yeah, I'm a different kind of Bostonian, but that's who I am. And you kind of can't change your background. And nor would I want to."
Most outlets that described Baldwin as being Spanish or having been born in Spain didn't have corrections, as is the standard practice if an interview subject or their representative reaches out to clarify something in an article.
December 27, 2020: Alec replies to Hilaria's Instagram post. "You never claimed you were from Spain," he says.
"I understood, from day one, that you were born here and raised, for many years, in both the US and Spain," he commented on the post. "You never claimed you were from Spain. You always maintained you were born here."
He was actually one of the first people to publicly claim that his wife was from Spain, in the 2013 Letterman interview.
December 28, 2020: As more news sites cover the allegations against Baldwin, new details about her younger years emerge.
The Cut noted in a story about the saga that the Cambridge School of Weston, a private high school in Massachusetts, listed Baldwin as a 2002 alumna, meaning she didn't move to New York City from Spain for college.
Boston.com reported that "years before she became Hilaria Baldwin, the 36-year-old was known as Hillary Hayward-Thomas to her classmates at The Cambridge School of Weston."
"One former CSW teacher who did not want their name used for publication, said that Baldwin had no trace of a Spanish accent at CSW," the report said.
"Her CSW name was Hillary," the teacher told the news website. "She had ZERO Spanish accent. She was a good kid, kinda quiet (at least from a teacher's perspective). And she was a gifted dancer — phenomenal."
December 30, 2020: Baldwin continues to defend herself in an interview with The Times.
Baldwin spoke with the Times reporter Katherine Rosman about the scandal.
She said she never tried to hide her identity and maintained that she has a connection to Spain and Spanish culture. She sought to explain any "misleading" moments in her public life.
"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," she said.
She also addressed why she had suggested she had dozens of family members from Spain and not just a mother, a father, and a brother living there. (She had said about 40 family members from Spain attended her wedding in 2012.)
She told The Times she was speaking colloquially.
"These people who I call my family, I am learning in this particular situation, I have to say, 'People who we have considered to be our family,'" she said.
Neither Baldwin nor her representatives responded to Insider's request for comment.
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