You might think that you know everything about your absolute favorite celebrities. But it’s kind of impossible to know everything about them. One thing you might not know about some of those celebrities: Where their ancestors came from! And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, knowing which celebrities will be decked out in green on the big day and representing their Irish roots is essential information!
You might already know that celebs like Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell are Irish folk (did the accent give it away?), but others have kept their Irish heritage a bit more under wraps. In the name of the all-green-everything holiday approaching, we’re taking a look at some celebrities whose ancestors came from the Emerald Isle. Trust us; you’ll definitely find yourself surprised by more than a few of figures on this list.
16. George Clooney
Yep, one of the sexiest men alive has some interesting Irish roots. According to Irish Central, a few of George Clooney‘s ancestors had a troubling time in Ireland in the 1800s. The source detailed that his great great grandfather, Nicholas Clooney was forced off his land in the country and, due to this treatment, decided to head off to Kentucky. Coincidentally, Clooney’s actually from Lexington, Kentucky, which lends some credence to this interesting tale. How’s that for an interesting, celebrity-related history lesson!
15. Paris Hilton
Socialite extraordinaire, Paris Hilton, also has some relatives across the Atlantic Ocean. During one of her many business trips, this time to launch her perfume “Heiress” in 2006, she revealed the fun information. She told the Belfast Telegraph that one of her ancestors was Irish. Apparently, her great-grandmother, Dorothy Doogan, was from Dublin. Wondered if that helped sell any perfume to the Northern Irish people?
That definitely had to make for a fun business trip then, as the socialite got to party, do business, and visit her Irish roots! Hilton’s trip was a success. She told the publication, “The reception’s been amazing. The people have been so nice. It’s very exciting.” So hot!
14. Ryan Reynolds
This funnyman is, in fact, Irish as well – as you may have guessed from seeing his photo on this list! In an interview with The Irish Times, Ryan Reynolds explained that his Irish roots encouraged him to take a proper tour of the country where his ancestors once lived. He told the publication, “I’ve been to Dublin and Galway. My brother and I just toured there for a while. We have relatives there, whom we have completely avoided.” He’s apparently also said in the past that all you have to do is look at the names of both of his brothers, Terry and Patrick, to see that he’s “pretty damn Irish.” True that, actually.
13. Barack Obama
President Barack Obama’s Irish roots go back on his mother, Ann Dunham’s side. Apparently, Obama’s ties in Ireland date back to 1850 and a man named Falmouth Kearney, who was from Moneygall, Offaly in Ireland. Kearney was a cobbler’s son who went to the New World during the famine in Ireland, per the Telegraph. Obama returned to the country in May of 2011 during a visit to Ireland, where he raised a pint of Guinness in Moneygall and celebrated his roots.
12. Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is an all-around delight. There’s just no denying that. She was especially delightful when she found out, only a year ago, that she was indeed Irish. The starlet made an appearance on Conan to promote Big Little Lies in 2017, and revealed to the Irish host their connection.
She told Conan O’Brien, “I did one of those genetic testing things. And I found out that I’m 63% Irish.” The actor said that she had no idea that she had ancestors from Ireland. Instead, she believed that her parents were Welsh and Scottish. She was pretty ecstatic over the revelation and said it made so much sense because she’s a loves St. Patrick’s Day and potatoes. She also let loose a seriously awesome Irish accent which would probably fool anyone into thinking she’s straight from the Emerald Isle.
11. Meghan Markle
A future member of the British royal family has Irish roots?! It looks like it! According to Irish Central, Meghan Markle is a total Galway girl. Markle has an Irish tie through her great-great-great grandmother Mary McCague. However, her ancestor had a bit of a scandal. According to reports, she was disowned by her family because she married an Englishman named Thomas Bird. At the time, there was great conflict between the Irish and the Brits.
Another Irish Central article stated there might have been an interesting connection with Markle’s ancestor and her future in the British royal family. Her relative allegedly worked in Windsor Castle. And guess where Harry and Markle are set to marry? That’s right, St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. How wild is that?
10. Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde is yet another famous actor you might not have known was Irish. Wilde, whose real last name is Cockburn, was actually partially raised in Ireland as the daughter of Andrew Cockburn. According to her interview with The Independent, Wilde and her family spent their summers in Ardmore, Ireland, an experience she considers “amazing” and “inspiring.” Th House star even has dual citizenship in the United States and the Emerland Isle and studied acting at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin one summer.
Fun fact: her stage name is also an ode to a very famous Irish writer, Oscar Wilde. So, she certainly hasn’t forgotten her Irish roots.
9. Nicole Kidman
Although Nicole Kidman was born in Hawaii and raised in Australia, she also gets to count herself in the club of actors with Irish heritage, too, just like her Big Little Lies co-star! Nicole has several lines of Irish lineage in her family tree, according to Irish Central. She’s reportedly a descendant of the Finns, who are from County Kerry in Ireland.
She hasn’t frequently mentioned her roots, but she did talk about them in an interview with The Irish Times, at least kind of. She told the publication about how she loves to really embody a role when she’s on a job and truly transform into that person. She then went on to say that she’s happy that she “looks Irish” when she’s not portraying the likes of Virginia Woolf and Celeste from BLL.
8. Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon’s another celebrity who has strong ties to the Emerald Isle. According to Evoke, Fallon is pretty dang Irish and has ancestors hailing from Cork, Galway, Leitrim, and Longford. Even so, that doesn’t mean that the host can really do an Irish accent well. In January of 2018, Fallon tried his hand at the beautiful accent, which guest, and Ireland-native, Saoirse Ronan, was so not into. During one of the show’s classic games, Fallon tried his hand at the Irish accent, which prompted the Lady Bird actress to tell him not to do it again. Oh well! Clearly, he hasn’t been back to visit his ancestor’s home country in quite some time!
7. Chris Evans
Chris Evans is totally Irish, guys. He even said that his background is one of the things he has in common with the very popular character that he portrays, Captain America. He joked around with The Irish Sun and said that the character should really be called “Captain Ireland” because of the Marvel character’s authentic roots. It’d certainly be an interesting change – but doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
The actor went on to describe just how similar his background is to Captain America’s. He said, “There are a lot of similarities between us. I was raised as a good Catholic Irish boy at heart, so was ‘Cap.’ Our sensibilities and ideologies come from that.”
6. Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway has some really close connections to the Emerald Isle. In fact, many of her current relatives live in Ireland.
While doing a press tour for Intersellar, Anne told the interviewer, Pat Kenny, that “flowing through [her] blood is Irish heritage,” before mentioning that she’d truly love to live in Ireland someday. Then she gave a shout out to her “dear, dear cousin Noel,” who still lives in Ireland. Maybe they can film that Princess Diaries sequel in Ireland? Honestly, it would kind of be the perfect location for the Irish-American actor.
5. Mariah Carey
Yep, Mariah Carey also claims some Irish heritage. Apparently, on her mother’s side, Carey’s grandparents are Irish immigrants from Cork. Carey previously told The Guardian that her mother is intensely proud of her Irish heritage. So, it’s likely that she instilled some of that Irish pride into Mimi, too! In an interview with The Guardian, she once said she has trouble navigating being biracial and having one parent who’s Irish and another who’s half-black, half-Venezuelan. “White people have a difficult time with (mixed race). It’s like, my mother’s white — she’s so Irish, she loves Ireland, she’s like, yay, Ireland! Waving the flag and singing ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.’ And that’s great. I appreciate that and respect it,” she mentioned. “[But] there’s a whole other side of me that makes me who I am and makes people uncomfortable.”
4. Demi Lovato
You probably already know that Demi Lovato is a latina woman. But, did you know that Lovato also has Irish roots? Through her mother, Dianna De La Garza’s side, the “Tell Me You Love Me” songstress has relatives over in Ireland!
In February 2017, she shared the results of her ancestry test. But it wasn’t her Irish links that made headlines. Instead, it was her tweet saying, “And I’m 1% African!” that had fans riled up. But, it seems like Lovato’s sorry, not sorry for revealing the personal information.
3. Lindsay Lohan
Is it really that surprising that this famous redhead boasts some Irish roots? Through both of her parents, Dina and Michael Lohan, the Parent Trap actress has ties to Ireland. Lindsay Lohan’s grandfather, Richard Lohan was born in Galway, Ireland. The Irish Examiner reported that the surname Lohan is actually a pretty popular one on the Emerald Isle. So, Lindsay would fit right in across the pond. Maybe that’s where her newfound accent comes from?
2. Neil Patrick Harris
Not only is Neil Patrick Harris and Irishman, but he’s also been known to go hard for St. Patrick’s Day every year. In 2015, he posted a photo of his twins, Harper and Gideon, with his husband David Burtka, all of whom were decked out for the Irish affair. He captioned the photo by telling his fans to jokingly “Look out for leprechauns” (a.k.a. his two kiddos dressed in green clothing).
He also celebrated the holiday with his family in 2017, well-documented on Instagram. He said that his kids wanted to set out gifts for the leprechauns, instead of the usual leprechaun trap that they set in years past. What a cute way to get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit!
1. Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner spoke about her Irish roots when she appeared on The Late Late Show, Ireland’s most popular late-night talk show. She told host Ryan Tubridy, “What most people here in Ireland don’t know about me is my mother’s maiden name is Esther Maguire.” She continued to say, “Yes I have Irish ancestry … the Jenner name is actually English so between England and Ireland is all in my roots.” It seems like she’s really embracing those roots too, as she’s been spotted in Ireland on numerous occasions (and recently attended the Xpose Benefit Awards in Dublin, where she got the Beauty Icon award).
So, this obviously means that Jenner’s kids, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, also have some ancestors from the Emerald Isle. That’s pretty cool!