Love them or hate them, celebrities are part of the world we live in. We're inundated with pictures and stories of celebrities everywhere we look. They’re in our favorite movies and their pictures are plastered on magazines at the check out line. While many countries have their own specialty, such as K-Pop or Bollywood, Hollywood seems to be the place to live if someone wants to become famous.
People are coming to America in droves from all over the world including England, Canada, and Australia. They work hard to catch the eye of that director or producer and blend in seamlessly with the American lifestyle. With actors, it can be especially hard to figure out where they’re from since they are known for playing so many different roles and are amazing at hiding their accent while acting.
Some celebs have played a beloved American character for almost ten years and fans assume they’re American because they can nail a perfect American accent. American or not, the acting industry is certainly big enough for everyone, and we can’t imagine these American movies without these amazing actors!
Here are 25 famous USA celebs you’ll be surprised to find out didn't grow up in America.
25 Canadian Mouseketeer - Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling is a very well known actor. He is most famous for his roles in The Notebook, Blue Valentine, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and The Ides of March. He actually started off his very successful career as a child star on The Mickey Mouse Club.
Ryan is such a household name in America, that people don’t realize he isn’t from America. He was born in London, Ontario and lived all over Ontario as a child. He briefly lived with Justin Timberlake in America during his two-year contract as a “Mouseketeer", and then again later in life when he started focusing on his acting career.
24 The Devil Wears Prada In England - Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt was born in Wandsworth, London. She is now well known in America, but that isn’t where she got her start. She has a very believable British accent in many movies, so it’s not too hard to guess that she’s British. Emily got her start by performing at the Edinburgh Festival where she was signed by an agent.
After many productions in England, she finally reached international fame for her role in Warrior Queen, and she's been dominating in America ever since. Some of her most notable roles were in The Devil Wears Prada, The Adjustment Bureau, and her most recent movie, Mary Poppins Returns.
23 Thor From Down Under - Chris Hemsworth
Known best as playing Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Hemsworth is actually from Australia. With the different accents Hemsworth has had for his many different movies, it would be hard to guess that he is a Melbourne native. He got his start in acting by landing a role in the Australian soap opera Home and Away. He was also a contestant of Dancing with the Stars Australia.
He had only been in the states for six weeks when he landed his first job. It was later that year when The Hollywood Reporter said Hemsworth was pushing onto the Hollywood A-List.
22 Canadian Actor Turned Rapper - Drake
The famous rapper we all know as Drake was born as Aubrey Drake Graham in Toronto. While many people don’t realize that Drake isn’t from America, another little-known fact about Drake is that he actually started out as an actor. His first role was as a regular on the Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation.
After several small roles in other Canadian television series, along with 100 episodes of Degrassi, Drake moved out of acting and started focusing on his music career. Drake was able to get his music to Lil Wayne and the rest is history.
21 World Traveler - Keanu Reeves
While Keanu Reeves is a very prominent actor in America, he actually has quite a diverse background. Keanu was born in Beirut, Lebanon. His mother is English and his father is Chinese-Hawaiian. Keanu lived in many places including Sydney and a brief stint in New York City before finally ending up in Toronto.
His first movie was Youngblood, which took place in Canada. He eventually dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles to further his acting career. Keanu eventually landed a role in the film River’s Edge and shot to stardom soon after.
20 London Native - Tom Hardy
While those in America know him as Tom Hardy, his actual name is Edward Thomas Hardy and was born in Hammersmith, London. While he didn’t become well known in the US acting scene until 2010, he has been working on stage and screen all over England, including his television debut in the WWII drama Band of Brothers.
He shot to international fame after his role in Inception and has been landing prominent roles ever since. A couple of his movies include The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Revenant.
19 DJ Big Driis From London - Idris Elba
Another celebrity that people are often surprised to find out isn’t from America is Idris Elba. He was born and raised in Hackney, London. Another fact that will surprise fans is that he used to be a nightclub DJ and performed under the nickname “Big Driis”, in order to help support himself in between acting gigs.
For years he only acted in British television programs but eventually moved to New York City to pursue acting further. Idris is now known in the United States for playing Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Heimdall in the Thor movies.
18 Barbados Ambassador - Rihanna
Rihanna is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with hits including “Take A Bow”, “Umbrella”, “We Found Love”, and both her collaborations with Eminem. Her name is actually Robyn Rihanna Fenty and she was born in Saint Michael, Barbados. She was discovered in her home country in 2003 and has been making magic ever since.
She has won twelve Billboard Music Awards, thirteen American Music Awards, and nine Grammy Awards. The government of Barbados even appointed her as an Ambassador in 2018.
17 Canadian Pop Star - Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber is one of the best selling artists globally and to this day has received the most awards by a single artist. And while he’s arguably one of the most recognizable artists in the USA, he isn’t even from America. Justin was born and raised in Canada. He was discovered from his YouTube videos by a talent manager and was signed to a record label in 2008.
Along with his Grammys and American Music Awards, he has also been listed by Forbes magazine as one of the top ten most powerful celebrities in the world.
16 Russian Actress - Mila Kunis
Milena Markovna Kunis was born in Chernivtsi, Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union, and now goes by Mila Kunis. She moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old speaking Russian and started school there without knowing a single word of English. In the LA Times Mila stated, “My first sentence of my essay to get into college was like, 'Imagine being blind and deaf at age seven.' And that's kind of what it felt like moving to the States.”
At age nine she started acting and had several minor commercial and movie roles. She eventually landed a role on That 70’s Show and has been a household name ever since.
15 Back To The Future - Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox is a very well known actor in the USA due to his roles in Family Ties and the movie franchise Back to the Future. However, he was actually born in Alberta, Canada and lived there until he was 18 years old. He did act in Canadian television shows and movies but ended up moving to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career further.
Fox received a couple small television series roles when he moved to America but was struggling to make money when he received the role of Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties.
14 British Superman - Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill is probably best known as his role of Superman in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While he is well known in the USA, he was actually born in the Channel Islands, which are an archipelago in the English Channel.
Cavill acted in British television shows and movies, but broke into the American movie scene soon after with small roles in several movies. He is quoted giving credit to the television show, The Tudors, "It's done the most for me to date. [...] Now that there's an audience somewhere in America that's aware of who I am, I have more sell-ability, because of The Tudors."
13 Canadian Nickelodeon Star - Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds is a well-known actor in the USA due to his roles in National Lampoon's Van Wilder, The Proposal, Green Lantern, and Deadpool. However, fans will probably be surprised to find out that he is actually Canadian. He got his acting start on Canadian teen soap opera Hillside, which was then distributed in the United States by Nickelodeon and called Fifteen.
Reynolds now has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was even named as People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2010.
12 Sons Of Anarchy Star - Charlie Hunnam
Charlie Hunnam is most widely known for his role as Jax Teller in the television series Sons of Anarchy, where he plays a member of a motorcycle club in California. After continuing that role for seven seasons, fans are extremely surprised when they hear his accent and find out that he is actually from England.
When he was 19, Charlie moved to the United States to further pursue his acting career. He had several roles before moving back to the UK to play the lead in Green Street, which led to his being cast in Sons of Anarchy and moving back to America.
11 Canadian Mean Girl - Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams is an amazing actress and the United States is definitely in love with her, even if she isn’t from the US. Rachel was born in Canada, and has acted in several Canadian television series and movies. Her first big Hollywood movie was the comedy The Hot Chick alongside Rob Schneider and Anna Faris. But it was her role in Mean Girls that really put McAdams on the map. She has since received roles in many popular movies including The Notebook, Wedding Crashers, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
10 South African Activist
Charlize Theron is an actress we all know and love for her roles in The Devil's Advocate, Mighty Joe Young, Monster, The Italian Job, and Mad Max: Fury Road. But I bet you’ll be surprised to find out that she’s not American. She was actually born and raised in South Africa with her first language being Afrikaans.
Charlize won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster, making her the first South African to win an Oscar in a major acting category. She also created the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, and is very active in her support of African youth in the fight against diseases.
9 Canadian Comedian
Seth Rogen was born and raised in Canada and moved to the United States when he was 18 years old. It obviously turned out well for him in the end, but there was concern at first because he “didn't think there was much demand” for his style and persona. While Rogen is also an American because his dad is, he said that he “definitely associate[s] with being Canadian much more than being American”.
Seth Rogen has been in many movies including Knocked Up, Superbad, and Neighbors.
8 Dr. House Of England
Hugh Laurie is probably best known for his role in the US medical drama series House for eight years. He won two golden globes for his performance and at the time was one of the highest paid actors in a television drama. He played his role as an American so well, that people are often surprised to find out he is from England. For his services to drama, he was even appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2018.
7 Proud Canadian
If we start naming hit movies that Jim Carrey has been in, we would be here all day. He’s become a staple in the American movie industry, even though he’s not even from the United States. Jim Carrey started off as a comedian in Canada before turning his attention to acting.
Jim Carrey actually decided to become a U.S. citizen in order to vote in the USA while also maintaining his Canadian status and said, “My upbringing in Canada made me the person I am. I will always be proud to be a Canadian.”
6 British Batman
While Christian Bale has had many box office hits, I think most people know him as Batman. He was born in Wales but was quoted saying, “I was born in Wales but I'm not Welsh - I'm English”. He spent a lot of time traveling between Wales, Surrey, Dorset, and Portugal during his childhood.
Some other movies that Christian Bale has appeared in are Little Women, American Psycho, The Prestige, and The Fighter. He also supports several environmental groups including the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Greenpeace, and the World Wildlife Fund.