Billy Baldwin and Chynna Phillips Address Hilaria Baldwin's Appropriation Controversy
In a new interview with Page Six, which was conducted last Tuesday and published on Saturday, the couple addressed Hilaria's appropriation controversy.
“This is probably an awkward and embarrassing time for Alec and Hilaria,” Billy, 57, said. “I’ve been texting Alec the whole time to make sure he’s OK and if he needs anything.”
“My family has been through this before,” added Phillips, whose parents were a part of the Mamas and the Papas. “I was born in a fishbowl, and this kind of stuff has been happening around me since 1968.”
The Wilson Phillips singer, 52, also spoke out about her sister-in-law Hilaria, 36, in a YouTube video. “I feel terrible. Who’s going to throw the first stone at my sweet sister-in-law?” Phillips said. “She’s a good woman and you know none of us are perfect. We all have issues.”
Hilaria married Alec, 62, in 2012 and they share five kids together: sons Eduardo "Edu" Pao Lucas, 3 months, Romeo Alejandro David, 2, Leonardo Ángel Charles, 4, Rafael Thomas, 5, and 7-year-old daughter Carmen Gabriela.
Last week, Hilaria began trending on Twitter as social media users — including journalist Tracie Morrissey and Twitter user @lenibriscoe — alleged that she has fabricated Spanish roots and a Spanish accent despite being born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.
Addressing the speculation, Hilaria confirmed her birth name is Hillary and explained that she occasionally "mixes" Spanish or English based on whichever she is speaking more frequently around that time. She also said that she “grew up spending time with my family between Massachusetts and Spain.”
In an interview with The New York Times, published last week, the fitness instructor claimed those accusing her of cultural appropriation "have been confused in some ways by people misrepresenting me."
She also claimed to the Times that she never read the multiple Hola! stories that identified her as Spanish and found it "disappointing" her Creative Arts Agency biography, which has since been changed, said she was born in Mallorca, Spain (where her parents now reside).
According to the Mom Brain podcast host, her "deep bonds" with Spain have been passed to her from her dad, David L. Thomas Jr., who "would go [to Spain] when he was younger."
"It was something my father introduced to my mother when they met, when they were pretty young," she said.
Although Hilaria declined to say exactly how often she visited or stayed in Spain, she told the Times that she went at least annually starting when she was a baby and spent time in cities like Seville, Valencia and Madrid. "Who is to say what you're allowed to absorb and not absorb growing up?" she said. "This has been a part of my whole life, and I can't make it go away just because some people don't understand it."
Hilaria has frequently done media appearances using a Spanish accent while speaking, including one on Today where she seemingly struggled to remember the English word "cucumber." She told the Times that the moment was a "brain fart,” and said that how much her accent comes out depends on her emotions at the time.
She also said that she was honest with her husband Alec Baldwin about her geographical roots from the moment they met, although the Times pointed out that Alec once told David Letterman that Hilaria is from Spain.
Alec defended his wife on Instagram last week, responding to one user who questioned her background in a comment on a post he made sharing a Mark Twain quote, "She was born in Boston but grew up in Spain. You got it?"