Celebrities captivate us with their unbelievable good looks and striking features, which many times leads us to wonder what their heritage is. While you may assume that a celebrity might be one thing, you’d be surprised to find out that their ancestry originates from somewhere completely unexpected! Here are some stars whose biracial beauty and diverse faith has captivated us for years.
Cameron Diaz’s Cuban Secret
Actress Cameron Diaz has dazzled us with her roles in Charlie’s Angels and There’s Something About Mary, although she is perhaps most recently known for being the voice of Princess Fiona in the Shrek films. Many people assume that Cameron is your all-American girl, but after all, her last name is Diaz.
The actress is actually half-Cuban through her father, whose family emigrated to America from Cuba before Diaz was born. In an interview, Diaz recounts that her family settled outside of Tampa, Florida at the turn of the century where they were cigar rollers before they eventually moved to California.
Vanessa Hudgens Has Asian Roots
Vanessa Hudgens is a singer and actress who rose to stardom after playing Gabriella Montez in Disney’s High School Musical. While she often plays characters of Hispanic descent, Hudgens’ actual ethnic origins hail from Asian-Pacific Islands.
Hudgens is American, with many different cultural backgrounds combined. Her father is of Irish and Native American descent, and her mother is a native of the Philippines with Filipino, Chinese, and Spanish roots. Hudgens has gone on the record in the past and said that she was raised as a Filipino-American and has had some traditional Filipino values instilled in her from her upbringing.
Louis C.K.’s Mexican Roots
Comedy lovers swoon over Louis C.K. for his brash and often dark sense of humor. The funnyman launched his career writing for likes of David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Chris Rock in the ’90s. But while fans love him for his distaste of political-correctness, few know that Louis C.K. has Mexican roots.
Louis C.K. was born in Washington D.C. but his family tree goes back to Hungary and Mexico. The comedian’s grandfather was a Hungarian Jew who immigrated to Mexico where he met Louis C.K.s paternal grandmother. Although a D.C. native, Louis C.K.’s family moved to Mexico when the funny man was just an infant. He lived in Mexico until he was seven and his first language was Spanish. In fact, the celebrity didn’t learn English until the second grade.
Keanu Reeves Can Claim A Lot
You probably know Keanu Reeves from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure or you know him as Neo in The Matrix. But would you believe that Reeves is only part American? His mother is an English woman from Essex, who met his American father in Beirut (where Reeves was born).
His father is actually an American from Hawaii, with Chinese, Native Hawaiian, and Portuguese descent. Of his heritage, Reeves has said, “My grandmother is Chinese and Hawaiian, so I was around Chinese art, furniture, and cuisine when I was growing up… I was exposed to Asian culture since I was a kid.”
Why Amber Rose Is Disappointed In Her Family
Amber Rose is a model and actress who isn’t shy about her body or the fact that she got her start as a stripper when she was just 15. Nowadays, she advocates for women’s rights in her spare time while raising her son, whom she shares custody with ex-husband Wiz Khalifa.
Rose is of Irish and Italian descent from her father and Cape Verdean and Scottish descent from her mother. However, Rose has struggled in the past with her family’s heritage, saying in a documentary that her family wouldn’t even attend her wedding to Wiz Khalifa: “With my family, they feel like they’re more superior or better than African-American because ‘we’re Creole’ and ‘we have culture,’ …I’m angry that my family is like that and they want to pass so bad that they raise my mom and my uncles and my aunts to not fully know their culture.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Wrestling Roots
Everyone knows who Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is. The WWE champion-turned-successful-actor has been astounding us with his acting chops and incredibly huge arms since he entered the spotlight. But surprisingly, there are still a lot of people who don’t actually know what The Rock’s heritage is.
Some people have even guessed that he might be Greek—which is way off. His mother is of Samoan descent, while his father is Black Nova Scotian, native to Canada. His maternal grandfather was a famous wrestler named “High Chief” Peter Maivia, while his father was the first black wrestler to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Well, now you know!
Bet You Can’t Guess Where Amerie’s Mom Is From
Amerie is a singer whose biggest hit was “1 Thing” came out in 2005. She is also an actress who was in The Center and First Daughter. Born Amerie Me Marie Rogers, she and her sister grew up on various military bases throughout the world since her father was a chief warrant officer in the U.S. military. Ameriie is half-Korean, through her mother,and half-African-American, through her father.
In an interview with s2s Magazine in 2003, the celeb said that she never really had a problem growing up with a mixed race, although she does see the issues that stem from it: “I know a lot of mixed people. Most of the mixed people I come across haven’t had issues. Then I watch TV and it seems like they do.”
Nicole Richie’s Real Parents
Television personality Nicole Richie has come a long way from her scandalous days following The Simple Life. Since then, she has become a figure in her own right forging a path in the fashion industry.
Everyone knows that Nicole Richie is the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, but her heritage has been a question to many who’ve noticed that Richie and her father don’t share the same skin tone. Nicole was actually adopted by Lionel Richie when she was just a little girl after her parents, who were friends of his, couldn’t afford to care for her. Her biological father is musician Peter Michael Escovedo and her mother is Karen Moss. From them, Nicole Richie is of Mexican, English, and African-American ancestry.
Mariah Carey’s Multiethnic Upbringing
Singer Mariah Carey is a legendary pop diva with hits such as “Vision of Love,” “One Sweet Day,” and of course, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Back in the ’90s, the media once labeled her as a “white girl who can sing,” which she understandably took issue with, since race was something that the diva has grappled with since she was very young.
With an Irish-American mother and an African-Venezuelan father, Carey has not had an easy time being biracial while growing up in the ’70s. In 2010, Carey told Latina, “Having Obama in office and bringing a child into the world at this point is totally different than me feeling like an outcast when I was growing up and not feeling like it was okay to be ethnically diverse.”
Is Nicki Minaj Asian?
Nicki Minaj was born Onika Tanya Maraj in St. James at the Port of Spain in Trinidad. Both her mother and father have given Minaj primarily Afro-Trinidadian ancestry, but there is another part of her heritage we bet you didn’t expect! Hint: It comes from her last name. Still can’t put your finger on it?
Well, Minaj’s father is also of Indo-Trinidadian descent, which means that Minaj has ancestors from India. The last name “Maraj” is a Hindu term which is said to mean “great king.” In history, Indians first traveled to Trinidad in the late 19th century as contracted laborers.
Meghan Markle Will Tell You Exactly What She Is
Actress Meghan Markle is best known for portraying Rachel Zane on the television series Suits. But when the creators of the show decided to incorporate Rachel Zane’s family into an episode, revealing that her father was a black man, a lot of viewers took issue with that which, of course, upset Markle who actually is half-Caucasian and half-African-American.
Markle had the chance to speak about her own experiences as biracial in a piece she wrote for Elle, saying, “While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.”
Was Rashida Jones’ Passing?
Actress Rashida Jones rose to popularity for playing Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation, but she also has some pretty famous parents. Her mother is actress Peggy Lipton, while her father is musician and record producer Quincy Jones. While her father is African-American, Jones’ mother is Ashkenazi Jewish.
In a 2005 interview with Glamour Jones and her sister Kidada, also an actress, were interviewed about growing up biracial. Rashida, who has lighter skin and straighter hair than her sister, did not experience the same troubles as her older sister, saying, “I had no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.”
What Makes Adriana Lima Exotic?
Adriana Lima is a supermodel and Victoria’s Secret Angel who famously hails from Brazil. But although she is Brazillian on the surface, there are a lot more components to Lima’s genetic makeup than you might think.
She has said in an interview with E!, “I’m Afro-Brazilian… my family is mixed with Japanese, Black, and West Indian.” Other sources would say that she also has indigenous Brazilian, Portuguese, and Swiss roots. We suppose it takes a lot to create a drop-dead gorgeous supermodel! Lima has come a long way since her days with Victoria’s Secret, which she also still works with.
Wonder Woman’s Little-Know Heritage
Lynda Carter won the hearts of millions as the powerhouse female behind the television series Wonder Woman. But most fans don’t know that Lynda is actually part Latina. Her father is of English and Scottish descent while her mother’s family hails from Mexico and is Mexican and French.
In 2011, a reboot of Wonder Woman premiered starring Adrianna Palicki. In an interview with Latina, Lynda Carter was asked whether or not she thought Wonder Woman should be played by a Latina. Although proud of her Mexican roots, Lynder replied, “I think that with acting and singing and all the rest—the color blindness of it is the right thing. I don’t think people think so much anymore about whether actors are Hispanic or not on TV.”
Vin Diesel Is “Of Ambiguous Ethnicity”
Born as Mark Sinclair, Vin Diesel is an actor, producer, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for his acting roles—particularly for playing the character Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious films. Diesel’s ethnic background is one that has perplexed many of his fans for ages, but now we finally have some answers.
Vin Diesel has reportedly said he is “of ambiguous ethnicity” and that he identifies as a “person of color.” Going on the record saying, “All I know from my mother is that I have connections to many different cultures.” Diesel was probably referring to the fact that he has never met his biological father. What he does know for sure is that his mother is of English, German, and Scottish descent.
Drake Doesn’t Notice Color
Drake started his career as Jimmy on the hit television series Degrassi, which is a far cry from how he spends his days now. The actor-turned-rapper has achieved superstar success with his albums Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
Many fans don’t know that Drake’s father is black but his mother is white, and as a biracial celebrity, Drake has been very vocal about race issues. In a 2011 interview with Village Voice, Drake opened up about comments he gets about skin tone saying, “I’m so light that people are like ‘you’re white.’ That’s what I get more than anything, people saying ‘you’re white, you’re not black.'”
Jesse Williams Talks Biracial Privileges
Grey’s Anatomy fans know Jesse Williams as the dreamy Dr. Avery with baby-blue eyes. But many don’t know that he is biracial. Williams mom is white and his father is black, and the actor has been vocal about trying to be a conduit between both racial groups.
In an interview with The Grape Vine, Jesse said, “I have access to rooms and information. I am white and I am also black. I am an invisible man in a lot of these scenarios,” Williams said, referring to the Ralph Ellison classic. “I know how white people talk about black people. I know how black people talk about white folks. I know I am there and everyone speaks honestly around me.”
Lisa Bonet Found Common Ground With Lenny Kravitz
Lisa Bonet is an actress best known for her role as Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Denise was known for being the “wild child” of the show, which wasn’t too far of a stretch from Lisa’s real life.
When she was just 20 years old, she eloped with singer Lenny Kravitz and the couple had a daughter a year later. Lisa could easily relate to Kravitz, who is also biracial and part Jewish. On their relationship, she said, “Here’s someone who really knows how it is.’ And I think I trusted him a little more with my feelings and let him inside a little more than I ordinarily would have.”
Jessica Szohr Keeps Her Family Tradition
Actress Jessica Szohr is best known for portraying Vanessa Abrams on Gossip Girl, but she has also been in films such as I Don’t Know How She Does It and The Internship. Hailing from small-town Wisconsin, the ethnically ambiguous beauty often gets asked what her heritage is.
She told People in 2010, “I’m Hungarian and a quarter Black, so I’m a mutt.” Szohr keeps in touch with her roots by visiting her grandmother during the holidays, when they bake her favorite holiday cookies of all time: Silver Dollar Cookies. Szohr told People, “I have to carry on this tradition or Christmas wouldn’t be the same.”
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Paula Patton is an actress who made her debut in the comedy Hitch. Born in Los Angeles, her mother is white and her father is African American. Although she is biracial, she has been vocal about her dislike of the word biracial.
“I find (the term) biracial offensive, it’s a way for people to separate themselves from African-Americans, a way of saying I’m better than that,” Patton said. “I’m Black because that’s the way the worlds sees me. People aren’t calling Obama biracial. Most people think there’s a Black president.”
Colin Kaepernick’s Parents Let Him Be Him
Colin Kaepernick had a unique childhood. His mother was white and his father was African American, but they couple could not take care of him. He was put up for adoption and grew up with Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white cheese-making couple from Wisconsin.
Although Colin says he knew he was different than his parents and his older brother and sister, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback shared “I never felt that I was supposed to be white. Or black, either. My parents just wanted to let me be who I needed to be.”
Norah Jones Indian Heritage
When Norah Jone’s released her hit album Come Away With Me, it was an immediate success that was played again and again. The musician has sold more than 50 million records and has won a cool nine Grammy Awards.
While we all know the musician as Norah Jones, her birth name is Geetali Norah Shankar. Her mother is American and her father was an Indian sitar maestro named Pandit Ravi Shankar. Her parents split up in 1986 and Norah went to live with her mother in Texas. Following a period of estrangement from her father, she traveled to New Delhi, India to spend time with him and her family.
Mya Was Picked On for Being Biracial
Mya is a singer, songwriter, and actress best known for her debut album which was a worldwide success. She won a Grammy Award in the category for Best Pop Collaboration for the hit rendition of “Lady Marmalade” alongside Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, and P!nk.
With great success, it’s hard to imagine celebrities’ childhood struggles. But Mya has been open about being picked on for being biracial. “I grew up just outside Washington and, with my dad being African American and my mother being Caucasian, I was teased about my ethnic background,” she said. “I’d avoid going anywhere with them because I knew I’d get stared at all the time. When we all went shopping together the kids used to call me ‘zebra’ or ‘newspaper’. I tried to laugh with them, but it still really hurt.”
Lenny Kravitz Childhood Struggle
Lenny Kravitz is undeniably cool, but underneath the musician’s laid-back demeanor is someone who has struggled with being biracial. “I knew that my father physically looked different from my mother, but that wasn’t an issue to me,” Lenny said. “People look different.”
However, Lenny’s positive outlook was tested when he started first grade. Another classmate approached him and said to Lenny and his father while pointing, ‘Your father’s white!’” Lenny said, “I didn’t understand what that was about and why that was an issue… That was the first day that I had to think about it. It just let me know, okay, this is how folks think.”
Halle Berry grew up in a biracial home. Her mother was a white psychiatrist nurse while her father was a black hospital attendant in the same ward. While Berry has spoken about her own struggles with her racial identity, her daughter is now facing the same challenges.
Berry has a daughter, Nahla, with her ex-partner Gabriel Aubry. The two have been in a bitter custody battle, and their daughter’s racial identity has come into play. “I’m not going to put a label on it,” Berry has said. “I had to decide for myself and that’s what she’s going to have to decide—how she identifies herself in the world.”
Aubrey Plaza’s Puerto Rican Roots
Aubrey Plaza is known for her unique role in NBC’s sitcom Parks & Recreation. While fans know Aubrey as the off-beat April Ludgate, many don’t know that she is Puerto Rican. “A lot of people don’t assume I’m Puerto Rican because I’m fair skinned,” the actress told Cosmo. “But I feel very connected to that side of my family.”
The star also opened up about her struggles with being half Latina in a predominantly white high school. “I was winning the diversity awards and people were always calling bull**it on me,” she said. “I won the Hispanic teenager of the year and I felt terrible. I always felt like I didn’t deserve to win because I was really half Latina.”
Boris Kojoe Says He Walks the Earth as a Black Man
Boris Kodjoe has overcome a lot to be the successful actor he is today. The part-German-part-Ghanian celeb taught himself English and even nailed the American accent to secure acting roles.
Often times there is bias against biracial people in the United States, which Boris says is wrong. “To not consider somebody Black because they’re biracial is a little bit short-minded. I’m biracial. I was born to a white mother from Germany and a Black father from Ghana. And I represent both cultures. But at the end of the day, when I walk the earth, I walk the earth as a black man. That’s what I’m being perceived as, that’s what I look like and that’s what I feel like.”
Alicia Keys Regards Herself As a Black Woman
Alicia Keys is known for his soulful voice with hits like “If I Ain’t Got You,” “Diary,” and “No One.” The Grammy award-winning artist grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan with her white-Sicilian mother and African American father.
Regarding being biracial, Keyes has said, “My mixed-race background made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures. But any woman of color, even a mixed color, is seen as black in America. So that’s how I regard myself.”
After posting a picture of her mother, a fan responded saying, “I knew u were mixed but it’s still so strange to see that your mom is a average white person.”
Jordan didn’t take this lightly and quickly fired back, “My mom is anything but average.” She added, “She is my beautiful, strong, hilarious, protective, savvy, will whoop your ass in a heartbeat mother. You must not see yours as such since you can so easily call someone else’s ‘average.’”
Derek Jeter’s Wisdom
Derek Jeter is a professional baseball player known for spending 20 seasons in the MLB with the New York Yankees. The baseball star is also biracial and his mother is Irish and his father is African American.
Jeter has been open about growing up biracial and the struggles he faced saying, “Times are a little bit different now than they were when I grew up,” he said. “You know, you got stares. Yeah, if you’re with one particular parent, you get stares. With the other one, you get stares. If they’re both together, then you get a lot of whispers. But it taught me to get to know people on the inside.”
J. Cole Has Seen Both Sides
Many artists have talked about the struggles they have faced being biracial in the music industry. J. Cole says he hasn’t struggled but has seen both sides.
“I don’t think I’d be aware of the inequalities if I wasn’t in these classes with all white kids,” he said. “But then all my friends outside of class are not in these classes—and I see what happens in their classes or right down the street at the school that was my district, the school I was supposed to go to. They don’t even have books to take home. But why my school, which is 60 percent white, why does it have more than enough? I don’t think I’d have been aware of that had I not been brought up with a white mother.”
Keyshia Cole’s Controversial Interview
In 2012, Keyshia Cole made headlines after giving a controversial interview about being biracial. The singer was set to perform at Black Girls Rock show but said, ” “I’m bi-racial but it’s okay…I’m Black, I’m Black… At first I was kind of skeptical about being a part of the Black Girls Rock organization but then when I read on it and I realized how strengthening it is for our Black women and women in general, how strengthening it is for us to come together and understand that no matter what, we rock. I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
Fans everywhere were quick to critique the star’s interview saying they felt her words were inappropriate and insensitive.
Gabrielle Reece’s Trinidadian Roots
Gabrielle Reece is a professional volleyball player, sports announcer, and actress. Despite her long blonde hair and blue eyes, Gabrielle is actually biracial. Her mother is white, but her father was Afro-Trinidadian. She was raised in Saint Thomas until her father tragically died in a plane crash when she was just five years old.
Gabrielle returned to the mainland in the eleventh grade where she took up sports, eventually accepting a volleyball scholarship from Florida State University. She went on the lead her team to numerous victories and was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.
Music Video Vixen Rachel Sterling
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If Rachel Sterling looks familiar to you, but you can’t quite place where you know her from, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her in a music video. Sterling has appeared in over a dozen music videos with artists including Dr. Dre, Ja Rule, No Doubt, Wyclef Jean, and George Michael. Her gorgeous looks, a combination of Spanish, Mexican, and Apache descent, has earned many admirers, including Hugh Hefner. Aside from music videos, Sterling has also appeared in Playboy, Dancing With The Stars, and several TV roles. This Latina-Native American beauty says she’s refocusing on acting, so keep an eye out for her.
Named One Of The Most Beautiful People: Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba first began acting at 11-years-old but it wasn’t until James Cameron discovered her and cast her in the TV series Dark Angel in 2000 that her career began to take off. Alba’s ancestry includes Mexican, Danish, Welch, German, English and French. Her grandparents’ parents were born in Mexico and moved to California, where Alba was born. Alba is recognized as one of the most beautiful actresses of all time. Maxim ranked her number one on their Hot 100 list in 2001. She’s also been included in 2007 People‘s 100 Most Beautiful People list and FHM’s Sexiest Girls. She has the intelligence to back it up, as a successful entrepreneur and spokeswoman for top brands.
Immigration Crusader Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria may be best known for her acting career, but this Mexican-American beauty has a lot going on. She also works as an executive producer and director for both English and Spanish TV. When she’s not working in TV and film, Longoria is extremely active in philanthropy and dedicates a great deal of time to support charities. Born in Texas to Mexican-American parents (and later finding she’s also of Asian descent) Longoria has not steered away from immigration laws in the US. She has sought to understand the stance of both sides of the border, and even shadowed a border patrol agent in Arizona. Longoria has also spoken at both the 2012 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions.
European-Korean Beauty Lindsay Price
Actress Lindsay Price is known for her roles in soap operas including All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful. She’s also had roles in Beverly Hills, 90210 and Lipstick Jungle. Price’s father is of German and Irish descent, while her mother was born in Korea. Price married Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone in 2013 and now live in LA together. They have two sons who have dual citizenship in the US and Australia and spend plenty of quality time together as a family. Price has her hands full as her husband’s career is full steam ahead!
Fergie AKA Stacy Ferguson
Her name is Stacy Ferguson, but you probably know her better as Fergie. Actress, solo artist and singer for the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie started her career at a young age as a member of Kids Incorporated and girl group Wild Orchid. After joining the Black Eyed Peas, her career took off and the California native found mainstream success. Raised by Roman Catholic school teachers, Fergie’s ancestry includes Irish, Mexican, English, Native American and Scottish. She’s been open and honest about her battle with drug addiction and her fans have been devoted supporters of her.
Self-Made Woman: Vanessa Lachey
Vanessa Lachey is one hard working lady. The mother of three is a TV host, beauty queen, fashion model, and an actress. Vanessa’s father (or Irish and Italian descent) was stationed at Clark Air Base working in the U.S. Air Force when he met Vanessa’s mother, who is Filipino. Vanessa was born in the Philippines before moving to the US. Her mother left her and her brother with their father in South Carolina when Vanessa was a little girl. Her estranged mother had no idea Vanessa had married pop star Nick Lachey when Star interviewed her in 2011, but Vanessa has made quite the life for herself.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Russian Background
Although he was born in Los Angeles, Leonardo DiCaprio has a heavily Russian background. Two of his grandparents are Russian, and DiCaprio identifies himself as “half-Russian.” His father, a comic book producer and distributor, is of Italian and German descent. He visited his grandparents in Germany as a child, and is fluent in German and Italian. DiCaprio’s acting career has taken him all over the world with an incredible amount of awards and nominations to his name, including an Academy Award, and finally, a Screen Actors Guild Award after nine nominations. DiCaprio is also a very passionate activist, raising awareness of global warming, and protecting wildlife and the environment.
Soccer Star Sydney Leroux
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Sydney Leroux is a Canadian-American professional soccer player with both beauty and athletic prowess. Leroux’s father is American, of African descent, and her mother is Canadian, of European descent. They split while Leroux was still in the womb, and she was raised primarily by her mother, in a white neighborhood. Confused about her appearance as a child, she now uses her time in the spotlight to help other biracial kids. She told the Huffington Post, “I realized I, as a successful black woman in sports, can have a platform for little girls who were once like me and didn’t really know how to feel.”
Shakira Ripoll Was Born To Perform
Artist, producer and performer Shakira has had a super successful career. In fact, she’s the highest selling Columbian artist of all time, selling over 50 million records. She’s also the only South American artist to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, for the U.S., Australia, and the UK. Shakira’s grandparents moved from Lebanon to New York City, where her father was born. He then moved to Colombia where Shakira was born. Her mother’s ancestry includes Spanish and Italian. One thing is for sure, this woman was born to perform! She now lives in Spain with her husband and two kids.
Tamera Mowry’s Real Talk
Born in West Germany, Tamera Mowry and her twin sister Tia are of Irish and Afro-Bahamian descent. With both parents in the U.S. Army, the twins moved around quite a bit. As a teenager, she was a star on the ABC/WB sitcom Sister, Sister, and now works as a host of The Real talk show. She has two beautiful children with her husband, Fox News Correspondent Adam Housley, and admits they face criticism as a biracial couple. She told People, “I think the criticism is even worse now, with the racial tension that we’re seeing and the political climate.” But, it’s clear their family’s strength can get through anything.
T-Boz AKA Tionne Watkins
As one-third of the group TLC, T-Boz’s life has been no easy ride. The artist has suffered from sickle cell anemia behind the scenes since childhood and battled a potentially fatal brain tumor from 2006-2009. With her balance, hearing, and sight compromised due to illness, T-Boz credits her resilience to her faith in God.
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, T-Boz’s ancestry includes African, Native American and Irish. She has a daughter with her ex-husband, rapper Mack 10 and adopted a son in 2017. Her daughter had her back in 2014 when Rihanna came at T-Boz on Twitter, after T-Boz made a general statement about young female artists, “Every time I see you, you don’t have to be naked. It’s easy to sell sex.”
Olivia Wilde’s Irish Side
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Actress Olivia Wilde was born in New York City and has traveled since she was a young girl. Both of her parents are journalists, her Father born in London, raised in Ireland, and her mother born in the U.S. Each summer Wilde would travel to Ardmore, a small fishing village in Ireland, and spend a few months with her father’s side of the family. Wilde is both English and Irish, but her ancestry also includes German, Manx, Scottish, and Sephardi Jewish. She comes from a long line of journalists and writers and married actor and screenwriter Jason Sudeikis, who is also of Irish descent.
Jada Pinkett Smith’s Jamaican Roots
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Jada Pinkett Smith’s great-grandparents are from Jamaica, of West Indian Portuguese descent, and brought their family to live in the U.S. Jada was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother became pregnant with Jada when she was a teenager still attending high school. Her father is African American, but Jada didn’t know much of him, as he and her mother divorced after only a few months of marriage. Jada’s unique beauty and incredible talent for acting have led to a very successful career for the actress, who is also a singer-songwriter. She has two kids with her husband, Will Smith, and lives in the Los Angeles area.
Odette Annable Is A Daughter Of Immigrants
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Actress Odette Annable is best known for her role in House, as Dr. Jessica Adams. Annable was born in Los Angeles, where both of her parents arrived from other countries. Her father is French and Italian, born in Colombia, and her mother is Cuban. Annable is fluent in Spanish and played a Spanish-speaking student in Kindergarten Cop when she was only five years old. She married her co-star from Brothers & Sisters, Dave Annable. The couple has a daughter together, but Annable’s career doesn’t seem to be slowing down one bit.
Trevor Noah’s Escape To The U.S.
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Comedian and TV Host Trevor Noah doesn’t keep his background a secret. The funnyman has tweeted about his life growing up and living in Johannesburg, South Africa, before moving to the U.S. in 2011. His parents’ relationship was illegal under apartheid at the time of Noah’s birth, in 1984. His mother, who is black and of Xhosa ethnicity, was jailed for their relationship. His father, a white man of Swiss-German ethnicity, later returned to Switzerland. His mother remarried and her new husband attempted to kill her, shooting her twice, including once in the head. When Noah confronted him, he threatened his life, and so Noah left for Los Angeles.
Miss America: Vanessa Williams
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When actress Vanessa Williams submitted to a DNA test, she discovered her descent included 23% from Ghana, 17% from the British Isles, 15% from Cameroon, 12% Finnish, 11% Southern European, 7% from Togo, 6% from Benin, 4% from Senegal, and 4% Portuguese. It doesn’t take too much research, however, to recognize that Williams is one gorgeous lady. Born in The Bronx, New York, Williams was the first African-American woman to win the Miss America pageant in 1984. Since then she’s cemented herself in the entertainment industry with a long list of TV and film roles, and Grammy and Emmy award nominations.
Maya Rudolph’s Talents Run In The Family
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Funnywoman Maya Rudolph was born in Gainesville, Florida in 1972. Her parents are Minnie Riperton, an African-American singer-songwriter, and Richard Rudolph, a producer who is Ashkenazi Jewish. Her grandfather was born in Lithuania. Rudolph’s family later moved to Los Angeles where she started taking interest in the arts. Her celebrity impressions on Saturday Night Live are extremely entertaining, including Oprah Winfrey, Tina Turner, Tyra Banks, and Whitney Houston. Her talent also extends to singing, taking after her soul singer mother, and film. Rudolph and filmmaker Paul Anderson share four children together.
Chrissy Teigen Is Part Thai
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The beautiful Chrissy Teigen frequents celeb magazines and TV shows frequently, as her fans and the entertainment industry adore her charisma and down to earth personality. Teigen’s father is of Norwegian and German descent, while her mother is Thai. Before her family settled in Huntington Beach, California, they moved around quite a bit, living in Utah, Hawai’i, Idaho, and Washington. Teigen was discovered while she was a teenager working at a surf shop, and launched her modeling career in New York. She’s now married to artist John Legend and has a young daughter named Luna.
Cassie Ventura’s Diverse Background
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Singer, dancer, actress, and model Cassie Ventura has a long list of talents. Her mother is African-American, Mexican, and West Indian, while her father is Filipino. Bron in Connecticut, Cassie started taking modeling and dancing classes at 14-years-old and later focused on her singing career. She’s been dating artist Sean “Diddy” Combs for quite some time, and the two live together in Los Angeles. However, their relationship has gained media attention for being rocky, especially after police were called to their home in 2016. They seem to be patching things up though.
Naomi Campbell Has Achieved Mega Success
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Supermodel Naomi Campbell has been a household name for years. She’s done quite well for herself, with an estimated net worth of $60 million. Born in London, Cambell’s ancestry includes Afro-Jamaican and Chinese Jamaican. Her mother was born in Jamaica and she never met her father. Her young career started in music videos, including Bob Marley’s, before making her way to the catwalk. Campbell has appeared on the cover of Vogue and has walked for some of the world’s most famous designers. Although her assault convictions and drug use have brought her some negative attention, Campbell appears to balance it with charity work.
What Makes Kelis’ Milkshakes Spicy?
You might recall Kelis’ “Milkshake” bringing all the boys to the yard or when she was straight up being “Bossy” back in the day. Born as Kelis Rogers, the singer grew up in Harlem in New York City. Being so close to a multicultural epicenter, it wouldn’t be far off to learn that Kelis herself is of a mixed heritage too. While Kelis’ father is African-American, her mother is Chinese-Puerto Rican!
While reports will say that Kelis formally identifies as black, it was actually Kelis’ mother who inspired her to pursue her singing career. It’s a good thing that Kelis followed that encouragement because she found a lot of success.
Wentworth Miller Couldn’t Relate
Prison Break star Wentworth Miller is British-American in that he was born to American parents while they were living in England. But ethnically, Miller’s background is a bit more diverse than that. In 2003, Miller told the Los Angeles Times, “My father is black and my mother is white… I grew up with the experience of not seeing me on either the large or small screen, not seeing anyone that I could relate to, anyone that would reflect me back to me.”
That same year, The New Yorker interviewed Miller and divulged that “his father is African-American-Jamaican-German-English,” while “his mother is Russian-Dutch-French-Syrian-Lebanese.”
Olivia Munn Gets It From Her Mum
Actress Olivia Munn rose to popularity going from Attack of the Show! to The Daily Show to The Newsroom. Eventually, she found herself acting in bigger roles with films such as X-Men: Apocalypse and Mortdecai.
Born in Oklahoma, Munn is of English, Irish, and German descent from her father, but she is actually of Chinese descent from her mother. Her mother is Chinese but was born and raised in Vietnam, which she fled in 1975 following the Vietnam War. Interestingly enough, Munn is fluent in Japanese, since she was partly raised in Japan when her stepfather was stationed there.
Daniel Sunjata Can Play Any Role
Actor Daniel Sunjata is best known for playing Franco Rivera in the television series Rescue Me. Although he plays a Latino character on camera, Sunjata doesn’t actually have any known Latino roots.
He was born and raised in Chicago to adoptive parents but was told that his mother was a white teenage runaway and that his father was black. Although like many biracial children, Sunjata grappled with his mixed heritage, he has come to realize that it can be helpful in his career. In 2013, Sunjata said, “As an ambiguously non-white actor, I’ve been able to play light-skinned African-American guys, Latinos, and I don’t think that I’ve ever had to play some kind of ethnic stereotype or something that was typed specifically for a person of color.
Bob Marley’s Grief
Even many of Bob Marley’s most loyal fans aren’t aware that the late musician was actually biracial. Marley’s mother was African American while his father was a white British naval captain. Marley’s father abandoned him and his mother when Marley was just an infant, which left Marley to live with an ongoing anger towards his father.
Marley struggled mentally as he was partially ashamed of his white heritage. He looked to other spiritual means for direction in life and turned to Rastafarianism and black culture to help him come to terms with his father’s absence. Although his relationship with his father caused him great grief, it was ultimately the inspiration for much of the reggae superstar’s music.
The Part Of Ne-Yo’s Heritage You’d Least Expect
R&B singer Ne-Yo has had hits such as “So Sick” and “Sexy Love.” Born Shaffer Chimere Smith in Arkansas, the singer has also evolved from his songwriting roots into a record producer, actor, and incredible dancer well into his career. While Ne-Yo is primarily of African-American descent, there is something else in his blood that may surprise you. Can you guess what it is?
Ne-Yo has also stated that his father has Chinese descent, although the details of these origins are somewhat unclear to him. Whatever the origin story may be, it ought to be pretty interesting!
Demi Lovato Discovers Her Roots
Demi Lovato was formerly a Disney starlet, acting in Camp Rock and Sonny with a Chance, but after a series of personal struggles, Lovato has recently returned to the spotlight as a successful pop singer with hits like “Give Your Heart a Break” and “Cool for the Summer.”
Although she wasn’t very close to her father growing up, Lovato conducted a DNA ancestry test to find that she’s Irish, Native American, Portuguese, and Jewish. We also know that she is half Mexican, telling Latina, “I feel so much love and comfort when I’m with [the Latino] side of my family.”