Given the steadily rising population of Spanish speakers worldwide, it might make you wonder how many native English speakers have sought to learn Spanish as a second language to keep up, and which celebrities fall in this category. Is star quarterback Tom Brady one of them?
Despite being married to a woman who is comfortable speaking a handful of languages including Spanish, it’s thought that Tom Brady actually doesn’t know Spanish.
Keep reading to find out just how much Gisele knows, her philosophy on speaking different languages to their kids, and Brady’s role in the language learning of their young ones.
Gisele’s Lingual Prowess
Everyone knows that the football standout’s supermodel wife of more than a decade, Gisele Bundchen, was born and raised in Brazil – but few are aware that she is multilingual. She not only dominates on the runway, she crushes lingual mediocrity by flaunting four languages in her toolbox. You would think that Brady would have picked up at least a little of any one of the languages she speaks, but the truth is that all the linguistic power in the family comes from Gisele.
Being born in Brazil, Bundchen’s first language was Portuguese. But she didn’t stop there. When she entered the modeling business in her early teens, she would have never guessed that she was going to pick up several new languages throughout her career.
She barely spoke any English when she came to New York to start out. According to her interview with Vanity Fair, she recalls that while she was navigating casting calls, she said “yes to everything because [she] didn’t understand but didn’t want to seem stupid.” Her lack of understanding only made her more determined to learn.
Bundchen credits her modeling career, as well as Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey songs, as to what gave her the human Rosetta Stone status. Slowly but surely, as she began to work internationally, she became fluent in English. And Italian. And Spanish. Considering the average person is comfortable speaking pretty much only their native language, this is incredibly impressive.
Teaching the Kids
Tom Brady is quick to poke fun at himself for his lack of lingual diversity. He shares, “I speak two languages – English and football.” However, the pair doesn’t let the only language they share determine what the kids are exposed to.
Brady and Bundchen use their different native tongues to their advantage. Bundchen shared more on her language practice on the Fallon show by using her son Benjamin as an example: “I only speak to him in Portuguese. Sometimes he’ll try to speak in English and I’m like, ‘I don’t understand, so you’ll have to speak in Portuguese. I don’t understand English.’” With mom speaking Portuguese and dad speaking English, little Benjamin is sure to be bilingual – or trilingual, if you consider football a language – in no time.
Though Brady may not be fluent in Portuguese, he at least tries. His motivator? His kids’ laughter.
Brady and Bundchen love to put the kids to bed by reading them stories. Sometimes, if they’re lucky, Brady will read them a book in Portuguese – well, he’ll try. According to an interview with People, the kids find it hilarious when their dad makes an awful attempt at pronouncing the Portuguese words. His kids can speak Portuguese fluently, so it’s sure to be a good source of laughter right before bedtime.
The Reality of Language-Learning
Learning a new language is no small feat, which is why we don’t give Tom Brady too much of a hard time for sticking to his native tongue. It’s well known that picking up a language in your formative years as a child is much more conducive to learning than trying to pick up the same language as an adult, so it’s no wonder that the couple’s kids are already flexing their lingual muscles at such a young age. And as for old man Brady, maybe he’ll try to pick one up when he retires, if that day ever comes.