Some celebrities have accents so thick that there’s no question where they were born. (We’re looking at you, Hugh Jackman.) Others are a little trickier. We see some celebrities born in strange locations far from their future homes; others are born in one country only to become famous in another. If you’re interested in a bit of celebrity trivia, here are a few household names who were born in surprising locations.

Natalie Portman

Credit: Denis Makarenko /

Natalie Portman is a world-famous actress best known for her Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan and the infamous Star Wars prequels. Before conquering Hollywood, she was born in Jerusalem, Israel. Her birth name is Natalie Hershlag, but she took her grandmother’s maiden name (Portman) for the stage.

Hugh Laurie

Credit: taniavolobueva /

The renowned star of the long-running TV show House, Hugh Laurie is the owner of a nearly flawless American accent. So you’d never guess that the actor was born in Oxford, England. That is, until you listen to him in an interview.

Freddie Mercury

Credit: Natata /

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury needs no introduction, but you might be surprised to learn that the superstar—one of Britain's biggest musical icons—wasn’t born in England. And for that matter, he wasn’t born Freddie, either. Known in his earliest days as Farrokh Bulsara, the singer entered the world in faraway Zanzibar, Tanzania. He moved to London in his teens.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Credit: D. Pimborough /

The legendary author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien lived in England as a child, attended English universities, fought for England in WWI, and just generally spent most of his time being English. However, Tolkien was actually born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, only leaving the country after his father died of illness.

Lupita Nyong’o


Lupita Nyong’o is a hot ticket right now, starring in numerous blockbusters like Disney’s Star Wars reboot and Marvel’s Avengers films, and even weightier performances, like her Academy Award-winning debut in 12 Years a Slave. Her background is as broad as her acting range: Nyong’o was born in Mexico, raised in Kenya, and attended school in America. How’s that for variety?

Jim Carrey

Credit: Everett Collection /

There’s something “American” about Jim Carrey’s comedic sensibilities, maybe because of his drastic influence on our comedy culture. But you might be surprised to learn that the actor was born in Canada. The two-time Golden Globe winner didn’t receive full U.S. citizenship until 2004.

Lena Headey

Credit: Tinseltown /

English actress Lena Headey is best known these days for her role as Cersei Lannister in HBO’s mega-hit Game of Thrones. Though the actress spent most of her upbringing in her parents’ home city of Yorkshire, she was born in Hamilton, the capital city of Bermuda.

Hugo Weaving

Credit: Daria Medvedeva /

With an eclectic collection of film roles under his belt that include The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, V for Vendetta, and many more, it’s easy to see how Hugo Weaving’s personal history slipped past the public radar. Born to English parents and spending much of his time in Australia, Weaving was actually born in Nigeria.

Charlize Theron

Credit: Denis Makarenko /

While award-winning actress Charlize Theron has spent most of her life in the U.S., she was born near Johannesburg, South Africa. Theron is of Afrikaner descent and made her Hollywood breakthrough by learning American English from TV soap operas.

Keanu Reeves

Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

You know Keanu Reeves was The One. You know he went on some excellent, and bogus, adventures. You know he’s capable of keeping a bus above 50 mph without it exploding. But what you might not have known is that, despite his popularity in America, Keanu was born in Lebanon. And here’s a bonus bit of trivia: Keanu is partly of Hawaiian descent, and in Hawaiian, his first name means “cool breeze over the mountains.”

Strange celebrity birthplaces

So, the next time somebody asks you, “Where was so-and-so born?” don’t be too quick to answer! People are always on the move, and celebrities often don’t find their calling until they’re far beyond their birthplace.