Six celebrities who are fluent in (Castilian) Spanish

David Beckham may have struggled to string a sentence together in Spanish after four years in Madrid, but other famous faces have reached almost native levels in the language after spending time in España or with Spanish people.

celebrities who speak spanish
Gwyneth Paltrow, US actress and founder and CEO of Goop, became fluent in Spanish while spending a year abroad near Toledo. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP)

Freddie Highmore 

British actor Freddie Highmore, who as a child appeared alongside Johnny Depp in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Finding Neverland’, is perhaps the most impressive Spanish speaker on the list. The star of ‘The Good Doctor’ TV series spent a year living in Madrid while he was studying and actually has a Galician grandmother. His Spanish accent, his grammar and spoken sentence construction is practically native.

Ivan Rakitic

There are dozens of foreign footballers playing in La Liga who speak Spanish at an almost native level: Frenchman Antoine Griezzman, Belgian Thibaut Cortois, Slovak Jan Oblak. But perhaps the most incredible of all is Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic, a former Barça player who’s returned to his old club Sevilla. It was in the Andalusian city where Rakitic met his now wife and where he developed a true Sevillian accent, with all the flair and consonant dropping that it’s famed for.

Gwyneth Paltrow

The American actress turned beauty product guru is a fluent Spanish speaker who mostly conjugates her verbs correctly and hardly has any traces of an American accent (she even pronounces c and z in the traditional Castilian way). It all started when as a teenager Paltrow did a year abroad in Talavera de la Reina near Toledo, where she stayed with a Spanish family who she still visits every time she’s in Spain.  

Jean Reno

You may not have known this, but French superstar Jean Reno’s real name is Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez. Reno was born in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, where his parents fled to from their native Cádiz to escape Franco’s regime. The star of ‘Leon: The Professional’ obviously had a big advantage when it came to learning Spanish, but given that he’s lived most of his life in Morocco and France, his fluency in Spanish is commendable, bar his clear French accent.

James Rhodes

Ever since British-born concert pianist James Rhodes moved to Spain in 2017, he’s voiced his love for everything Spanish, including the language. His work spearheading a law to protect children from sexual abuse in Spain earned him the honour of fast-track Spanish citizenship. Rhodes regularly takes to Twitter, tweeting almost entirely in Spanish and demonstrating a thorough understanding of syntax, slang and more. He’s also more than capable of holding his own when speaking castellano

Michael Robinson

The late Michael Robinson, a British footballer who became Spain’s most famous TV football pundit, was and still is the perfect example of how the most important factor when learning a language is to immerse oneself in the culture and make mistakes without fear. Having been forced into early retirement due to injury while playing for Osasuna, he took on his new job without prior experience and with far from perfect Spanish. He improved despite holding onto his British accent, learnt Spanish expressions and jokes and laughed at his blunders. No wonder he was known as Spain’s most loved Brit.

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Seven Spanish expressions to refer to the rain in Spain

You may be surprised to find out that Spain, a country famous for its sunny weather, has a wide array of ways to refer to rain and the different types of precipitation, including its own version of 'raining cats and dogs'.

Seven Spanish expressions to refer to the rain in Spain

Llover is the verb ‘to rain’, lluvia is the noun for ‘rain’ and lluvioso in the adjective ‘rainy’ . But you knew that already, right?

Spaniards may get on average 300 days of sunshine a year, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t got plenty of sayings and words to describe the different types of rainfall that go beyond saying está lloviendo mucho (it’s raining a lot). 

In fact, the northwestern region of Galicia, which is largely considered the rainiest in Spain, has up to 70 different words for rain (although these are mainly in Galician). 

READ ALSO: Where are the rainiest places in Spain? 

So let’s have a quick look at some of the best rain-related vocabulary and expressions in Spanish! 

Está chispeando

When Spaniards want to say it’s spitting with rain, they say está chispeando.


Chirimiri is how people in certain parts of Spain (especially in the Basque Country) refer to constant drizzle, the kind of rain Britons and Irish readers are accustomed to. Another slang word for continued fine rain is calabobos. The standard noun to call this ongoing drizzle is llovizna

¡Cae un diluvio universal!

This expression has hints of biblical references, it’s a bit like calling heavy rain a monumental downpour or saying that the heavens have opened.

¡Está cayendo la del pulpo!

This is perhaps the weirdest expression on our rainy weather list, and arguably the closest way to say ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ in Spanish.

It literally means ‘the one of the octopus is falling’. The origin of this Spanish saying is just as bizarre as it refers to the act of bashing the octopus to soften its skin before cooking it.

¡Llueve a cántaros!

This expression is an equally common way to say that it’s raining very heavily.

A cántaro is a jug or pitcher in Spanish, similar to saying it’s bucketing down in English.

¡Llueve a mares!

Mares means seas in Spanish, another way of saying that a lot of water is coming down from the sky. 

¡Está cayendo un aguacero/un chaparrón/un diluvio/una tromba de agua!

Whether it’s a downpour (aguacero), a shower (chaparrón) or a deluge (diluvio or tromba), heavy rain often causes inundaciones (floods) or una riada (flash food).