Gwyneth Paltrow speaks almost perfect Spanish — and she does it with an Iberian accent.
The Oscar-winning actress says she traveled to Spain as a teenager, fell in love with the country, and embraces the culture to the point that she visits at least once a year and makes sure her young children, Apple and Moses, also speak the language.
"When I was 15, I went to a small town outside Talavera de la Reina and I had the most wonderful experience. It really changed my life," Paltrow said in fluent Spanish during a recent interview.
Paltrow said Spain "became a second home."
"It is so different from the United States. It seemed to have a history, and the buildings are years and years and years old. Here in the United States an old building is about 17 (years old), and over there it's from 500 B.C., it's incredible," she said.
"Also, the way people live over there. They seem to enjoy life a little bit more. They aren't running around as much as in New York. They enjoy time with the family. They don't always have their Blackberries on."
Paltrow remains close to the family she lived with in Spain, calling them "my Spanish mother" and "my brothers" from Spain. Her success as an actress, she says, hasn't impressed them.
The 36-year-old actress, who is married to Coldplay's Chris Martin, says she talks to her children in Spanish.
"Moses speaks a little bit, but understands everything. Apple speaks a lot," she says.
Paltrow shot "Spain … on the Road Again" with chef Mario Batali, cooking expert Mark Bittman and actress Claudia Bassols. They traveled throughout the country, sampling traditional foods and praising the virtues of Spain, its people and cuisine.
She's also writing a book on U.S. cuisine with Spanish influence that is due out next year.
" … I love food, I love to eat," she says. "I can't go on diets. I have to do a lot of exercise."
She also enjoys Mexican, Italian and Japanese food.
"I'm always playing with different flavors. If I remember a phenomenal meal I had in a country, I think of its ingredients, and how I can make it in my own kitchen."
Paltrow recently launched a Spanish-language version of her Web site, GOOP.com, a weekly bulletin in which she writes on topics ranging from health advice and travel to fashion and cooking. Contributors include Madonna, Steven Spielberg and Deepak Chopra.
Has she considered acting in Spanish?
"I would love to. I haven't found the script yet, but the first (movie) would have to be a small role, not very important, because I imagine I would have to get used to acting in Spanish," she says.
Paltrow says she'd like to work with Spanish directors Pedro Almodovar and Alejandro Amenabar and Mexico's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. And she says she would like to work again with Mexico's Alfonso Cuaron, who directed her in 1998's "Great Expectations."
She is now shooting "Iron Man 2," in which she reprises her role as Pepper Potts.
"We're all back together: Robert Downey, Jon Favreau, the director. And Scarlett Johansson is with us, Mickey Rourke. … It's a phenomenal group, we are having a great time."