Hilaria Baldwin is breaking her silence regarding theories circulating on social media that she has a history of faking a Spanish accent and exaggerating her family's connection to Spain.
On Sunday, the mother of five, who married actor Alec Baldwin in 2012, shared a video on Instagram where she explained her ethnic background and added in a caption that she takes people "questioning (her) identity and culture ... very seriously."
"I was born in Boston and grew up spending time with my family between Massachusetts and Spain," Baldwin, 36, wrote. "My parents and sibling live in Spain and I chose to live here, in the USA. We celebrate both cultures in our home — Alec and I are raising our children bilingual, just as I was raised. This is very important to me. I understand that my story is a little different, but it is mine, and I’m very proud of it."
In the video itself, she addressed the accusations around her accent, explaining that she's struggled with insecurities due to the way she speaks.
“I am that person that if I’ve been speaking a lot of Spanish, I tend to mix them, and if I’m speaking a lot of English, then I mix that," Baldwin said. "When I try to work, I try to annunciate a little more, but if I get nervous or upset or something, then I start to mix the two."
"I try to speak more clearly in each language ... but sometimes I mess it up, and it's not something that I'm playing at, so I want that to be very, very, very clear," she continued.
Baldwin went on to clarify the controversy around her name. She said that when she was younger, she'd go by Hilary in the U.S. and Hilaria in Spain. After years of using both, she said she decided to simplify and only use Hilaria, the name her family calls her.
"I think we can all be really clear that it's the same name, just a few letters difference," she said. "I think we shouldn't be so upset about it. Whatever you guys want to call me, I will respond to both."
"This is a country of a lot of different cultures, and I think that we can be different parts of ourselves with different people," Baldwin concluded. "I feel really lucky that I grew up with two cultures, I grew up speaking two languages."
She also stressed that she identifies as white and her ethnic makeup includes "many, many, many things."
Hours later, the former yoga instructor shared another Instagram video diving further into her previous points.
"I was born in Boston, I spent a lot of my childhood in Spain, my nuclear family lives in Spain and has lived there for a long time," Baldwin stated. "I was moving around a lot, but I came here when I was 19 years old to go to college."
She added that she's never said her mother is Spanish and that her family is "a big mix" of different cultures.
"I've always said what is true, and I've always said where I come from," she explained. "I'm proud that I speak two languages, I'm proud that I have two cultures, I'm proud that I'm raising my kids that way. I'm proud that my family is that way, and I don't really think that that's a negative thing, so I don't really understand why this is turning into such a big thing."
"I want to take it seriously, but I also don't want it to be all of a sudden I'm apologizing for being who I am," she continued. "At this point, I'm starting to feel like I'm getting attacked for being who I am and that no answer is the right answer."
Baldwin later said on her Instagram story Sunday that she's signing off social media "for a long time."
The controversy around Baldwin's background emerged last week after she had a back-and-forth on Instagram with comedian and fellow mom Amy Schumer. One Twitter user, whose post went viral, juxtaposed how Baldwin spoke on various media appearances over the years, including a demonstration for TODAY Food at the People en Español festival in 2015, with her more recent social media videos.
Spokespeople for Baldwin declined TODAY's request for additional comment.
CORRECTION (December 27, 2020, 6:28 p.m.): An earlier version of this article referenced a video of Hilaria Baldwin appearing on TODAY in 2015. The video is of Baldwin doing a demo for TODAY Food at the People en Español festival in 2015.