The wife of Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin became the subject of viral tweets about her heritage, after it emerged she was born in Boston and was originally named Hillary.
Baldwin, a yoga instructor and social media influencer, told the New York Times “there is not something I’m doing wrong” and there is a “difference between hiding and creating a boundary”.
She said a clip showing her struggling to remember the English word for cucumber was caused by nerves as it was one of her first appearances on live TV.
Baldwin, 36, described it as a “brain fart” rather than an attempt to reinforce the belief she was Spanish.
And addressing an online biography from her management agency which said she was born in Mallorca, Baldwin said it was a “disappointing” error.
Baldwin told the New York Times she is bilingual and her English often has a strong Spanish accent depending on how happy or upset she is.
Clips had been shared on social media showing her speaking with and without an accent.
Baldwin, who has five children with 30 Rock star Alec, said: “Today we have an opportunity to clarify for people who have been confused and have been confused in some ways by people misrepresenting me.”
The controversy started on December 21st after a social media user tweeted: “You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person.”
Baldwin said she was born Hilary but changed her name to Hilaria because that is what her family in Spain called her.
She said her parents, who are American, love Spain and took her there on holiday from an early age.
Baldwin did not say how often or for how long she stayed in the country, adding: “I think it would be maddening to do such a tight time line of everything. You know, sometimes there was school involved. Sometimes it was vacation. It was such a mix, mishmash, is that the right word? Like a mix of different things.”
Baldwin married Alec, 62, in 2012. He defended her amid the controversy, sharing a quote on Instagram which said: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
Comedian Amy Schumer appeared to make fun of Baldwin’s explanation, when she shared a video of herself in a large sun hat and wrote: “I get it. I went to Spain a couple times and loved it too.”