25 Famous People You Didn’t Know Got American Citizenship
In 2018, some 757,000 people became United States citizens. You might be surprised to learn of some very prominent personalities who have taken the Oath of Allegiance just as these folks did last year.
The legendary rocker counts as one of the 757,000 who became a U.S. citizen in 2018. Born in Middlesex, England, Billy Idol made his American citzenship official on November 14, 2018. As a play on his popular ’80s hit “White Wedding,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tweeted, “It’s a nice day for a naturalization ceremony,” in his honor. Anyone applying for U.S. citizenship must pass a written test, and these are the questions even most Americans would get wrong.
Musician Dave Matthews feels so integral to the American music tapestry that it’s easy to forget (or not even be aware) that he was actually born in Johannesburg, South Africa. His family moved around quite a bit but in 1980 he became a naturalized United States citizen. Listen closely to his music and you can hear the international influence from his early travels.
Pam Anderson probably seems like the quintessential California girl. But just because she played her Baywatch character CJ Parker like a natural doesn’t mean she grew up on those sandy Los Angeles beaches. Hailing from Canada (more specifically the province of British Columbia), Anderson became a U.S. citizen in 2004.
Though he served as the governor of California for eight years, Arnold Schwarzenegger was not born a US citizen. The actor-turned-politician called Austria home until he moved to the U.S. in 1968, at 21 years of age. Fifteen years later he became an American citizen.
He may have married an American Idol when he wed Carrie Underwood in 2010, but professional hockey player Mike Fisher didn’t become an official U.S. citizen until March 2019. The Canadian-born athlete played for the Ottawa Senators before heading south to join the Nashville Predators. He has since retired from the sport. Fisher, and many others on this list, might be confused by these things about America foreigners don’t understand.
Michael J. Fox
The beloved TV and film actor is Canadian-born, becoming a naturalized American citizen in 1999. Michael J. Fox is still incredibly proud of his roots. In 1987 he famously said, “I’m real proud of the fact that if you say ‘Russia’ to the average American, he thinks ‘Cold War,’ and if you say ‘Russia’ to a Canadian he thinks ‘hockey.’”
If you watch quiz shows, Alex Trebek is likely a familiar face in your home on a nightly basis as the host of Jeopardy!. Born in Ontario, Canada, Trebek became a U.S. citizen in November 1997, 13 years after assuming his duties on the long-running game show. The Associated Press reported that Trebek joked about how becoming an American citizen didn’t immediately change his life until he received one very important request. “A couple of weeks after being sworn in, I received a lovely letter from the Los Angeles Superior Court informing me that I had just been selected at random from 2 1/2 million people to serve jury duty,” he said.
A native of Benoni, South Africa, actress Charlize Theron, who won an Academy Award for her role in the 2003 film Monster, moved to the States at the age of 19 to pursue her show biz career. In 2007 she became an American citizen. After taking her oath of allegiance she told David Letterman in an appearance on The Late Show: “You’re stuck with me now.”
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The Irish actor became a citizen of the U.S. in 2009, following the death of his wife Natasha Richardson due to injuries sustained in a skiing accident. Interestingly Neeson told the New York Daily News that he chose to gain dual citizenship because of the tremendous amount of warmth and support he received from Americans in the months following Richardson’s untimely death.
At the age of 30, singer-songwriter Alanis Morisette became an official American. It was during a 2005 ceremony in Los Angeles alongside approximatley 4,500 others that Morisette took the oath of allegiance, giving her dual citizenship in both the States and her home country of Canada. “There was a turning point during the ceremony where I felt connected to this country in a way that I didn’t quite expect,” she said in a statement. “America has been really great to me and I have felt welcomed since the day I came here.” One of Morissette’s best-known hits is “Ironic,” and you won’t believe these examples of real-life irony.