13 Celebrities Who Are (Not So) Secretly Belarusians

Did you know that lots of world celebrities have Belarusian blood running through their veins? We bet you did, but let’s gather them all together (at least most of them) to admire and be proud of.

Here is a list of the most high-profile celebrities who in one way or another have Belarusian roots.

Winona Ryder

Turns out that the A-level movie star who was put back in the spotlight by Netflix’s Stranger Things has the ancestors of Belarusian descent.

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Her father Michael D. Horowitz is Jewish (his family emigrated from Romania, Russia, and Belarus). Many of Ryder’s relatives died in the Holocaust.

Winona’s paternal grandfather Sol Horowitz was born in Minsk. Winona’s father was originally named Tomchin but changed it to Horowitz after the immigration to the U.S.

Trumps’ son-in-law 

Although Jared Kushner himself is not a Hollywood star, his wife’s father Donald Trump can rightly be called the main showman of the U.S. and the world.

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While Kushner was born in New Jersey, his paternal grandparents, Holocaust survivors, came to the continent of freedom in 1949 from Navahrudak.

Charlie Kushner, Jared’s father, has made regular pilgrimages to this city for three decades. He is also the largest contributor to the local museum.

Gwyneth Paltrow

An American actress, singer, and food writer was born in Los Angeles, California.

Her father Bruce Paltrow was from a Jewish family who immigrated from Poland, Lithuania, Russia, and Belarus.

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Paltrow is keeping in touch with her roots. “I am the result of generations and generations of rabbis back in Minsk. They call it a rabbinical dynasty,” she said in one of her interviews.

Paul Landers

German musician, notable as guitarist for Rammstein band is one of the most elusive Belarusians.

According to one of the legends, Paul was born in Brest (at least this is what Wikipedia and other sources said).

However, in all his interviews Landers denies any connections with Belarus and says he was born in East Berlin.

He also claims that he learned Russian only because he had lived in Moscow for some time.

Just saying, Landers secretly visited Minsk last September and even walked along Zybickaja street.

Steven Tyler and Liv Tyler

The lead singer of the rock band Aerosmith and as a result his daughter Liv Tyler (an American actress and model) had ancestors in Klichaŭ, Mahilioŭ oblast.

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Some sources say that after immigrating to America, Steven Tyler’s maternal grandfather felt that his original surname ‘Czarnyszewicz’ is too difficult for the ears of the New World resident and changed it to ‘Blancha’.

Amy Winehouse

An extensive family tree of English jazz, soul and R&B singer and songwriter traces her ancestors back to Belarus in the 1800s.

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Amy Winehouse’s family came to London from Minsk in the late nineteenth century, and she grew up in a secular and assimilated Jewish environment.

The Jewish Museum London opened an exhibit in 2013, which delved into her family history as far back as her great-great-grandfather’s immigration from Belarus, in 1890.

Harrison Ford

Known for his legendary roles in Indiana Jones film series and Star Wars, the actor was born in Chicago.

True, his grandparents are from Belarus who emigrated from Minsk to New York at the beginning of the last century.

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Ford himself spoke about his ancestors, on the eve of the premiere of the next Indiana Jones film back in 2008.

The actor specified, his parents met in America but lived close to each other long before immigration.

Scarlett Johansson

One of the most popular, beautiful and world’s highest-paid actresses, Scarlett Johansson spoke about her Belarusian origin at the press conference in Moscow in 2012.

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Back then she said that her mother was originally from Minsk. The meticulous historians later found out that the star’s great-grandfather and great-grandmother actually lived in Nesvizh.

The super-star promised to come to her historic homeland. Well, what can we say, we are still waiting.

Kirk and Michael Douglas

One of the most famous and titled actors of the dream factory also has Belarusian roots. His father Kirk Douglas was born in a family of emigrants from Čavusy, Mahilioŭ oblast.

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According to Michael Douglas’ memoirs, there were pictures of another famous Belarusian Mark Chagall hanging above his father’s bed.

The father of the Oscar-winning actor used to recall his historic homeland, however, his son has never managed to come there.

Lisa Kudrow

The star of the television sitcom ‘Friends’ is not as American as she may seem. Actually, Lisa Kudrow’s grandad was born in Mahilioŭ and grandma in Iŭje village, Vileika district, Hrodna region.

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Her father’s grandmother immigrated to Brooklyn in 1921, where her father grew up. Some years ago, Lisa came to Minsk, Vileika, and Iŭje to reconnect with her Belarusian roots.

Larry King

An American television and radio host, actor, voice artist, and comedian is also from Belarus. His mother was born in Minsk, and his father is from Pinsk.

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They moved to the U.S. only when Larry was born. King repeatedly spoke about his desire to visit Belarus, but with no luck so far.

Besides celebrities listed above, actor Steven Seagal and many other world stars spoke proudly about their Belarusian roots at various times.

Featured image: Gwyneth Paltrow/Twitter, Larry King/Twitter, Liv Tyler/Instagram.