Page last updated at 22:00 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Introducing Katie Price and Leona - the new Welsh stars

We've all heard of Welsh stars Tom Jones, Charlotte Church, Shirley Bassey and Catherine Zeta Jones but what about Katie Price, Leona Lewis and Tommy Lee? As St David's Day is marked we take a look at some of the lesser known 'Welsh' celebrities, politicians and business people who should be wearing their daffodils with pride.


Katie Price
Katie Price was born in Newport before moving to Brighton

Her life may be laid bare every week in the tabloids and gossip magazines, but there may be a key piece of Katie Price information which her fans do not know about her - she's Welsh. In fact Katie Infield, as she was then known, was born in Newport on 22 May, 1978. She was later brought up in Brighton, taking the name Price when her mother remarried after splitting from her biological father.


Secretary of State and former US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton revealed her Welsh ancestry while offering her "warmest wishes to the people of Wales" on St David's Day. In a statement she said: "As an American of Welsh descent, I have always had a special place in my heart for Wales - both the beauty of its land and the determination of its people." She also said that American Presidents Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Calvin Coolidge had traced their heritage to Wales.


He is a very American rocker but did you know the Mötley Crüe drummer has a Welsh father? David Lee Thomas Bass was a Welsh Army sergeant who married former Miss Greece Vassilikki Papadimitriou. Lee, who is also famous for being the ex-husband of Pamela Anderson, was born in Athens, Greece, but brought up in California, USA.


Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis has fond memories of summer holidays on Barry Island

Since shooting to fame on the X Factor, pop star Leona Lewis has been jet setting around the world and living it up in LA. But she says her favourite holiday memories are of summers spent on Barry Island in the Vale of Glamorgan. As her mother is originally from nearby Penarth, Lewis would often visit relatives in the area and stay at Fontygary caravan park in Barry. She said she can even say a very Welsh hello - "bore da" - and sing "happy birthday" in Welsh.


Paul Whitehouse puts his talent for mimicry down to his Welsh heritage. Born in Stanleytown, Rhondda, his father worked for the National Coal Board and his mother was a singer with the Welsh National Opera. However, when the family moved to England when Whitehouse was four he said he did not say a word for four weeks at school, aware that his Welsh accent was different to the other children. He said after about a month, he came home speaking with a London accent. However, whenever he went back to Wales, he would always revert to a Welsh lilt.


Michael Heseltine
Michael Heseltine's mother's family were farm labourers from Pembrey

He appears to be a typically English Conservative politician - so it may surprise some to learn that Michael Heseltine was born in Swansea. His mother was Eileen Ray Pridmore, whose family were farm labourers from Pembrey, Carmarthenshire. His mother's great-grandfather came from the village of Gretton in Northamptonshire to work in Swansea docks. As a result, Lord Heseltine was latterly made an honorary member of the Swansea Dockers Club. His mother's father, James Pridmore, founded the West Glamorgan Coal Company, which allowed Heseltine to be brought up in relative luxury at No. 1, Uplands Crescent (now No. 5). He enjoyed angling in Brynmill Park and won a junior competition.


U2 may be a band from Ireland, but not all members are Irish through-and-through. Guitarist The Edge is actually of Welsh descendant, his parents hailing from the Carmarthenshire town of Llanelli. He was born David Howell Evans in Barking, Essex, and moved to Ireland when he was one years old. But he showed his true Welsh blood during a show at the old Cardiff Arms Park in 1987, when he kicked a rugby ball out into the audience. It came after Bono had said that The Edge's father, Gavin Evans, had predicted that one day his son would play rugby at the Welsh national rugby stadium.


Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe's grandfather used to work in a Wrexham fruit and veg shop

Russell Crowe's roots can be traced back to Wrexham, where, in the early 20th Century, his great grandfather William Frederick Crowe ran a fruit and veg wholesale business. When William and his wife Kezia, decided to emigrate to Canada with 12 of their 13 children, their son John - Russell Crowe's grandfather - stayed behind to run the family business. However, the business suffered, and within a few years Frank Crowe - John's older brother - returned to Wrexham to take over, and it later became a successful enterprise called Crofruit. John Crowe later emigrated to New Zealand where he married and had children, including Alex, Russell's father.


His characters have come from far and wide - Borat being from Kazakhstan and fashion reporter Bruno being Austrian . Perhaps then Sacha Baron Cohen's next role could be inspired by his Welsh family. The Ali G star's paternal grandfather was born in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf and his father is also Welsh, while his mother is from Israel. The Baron Cohen family owned several business, including Calders Outfitters in Cardiff.


JK Rowling
JK Rowling grew up in Chepstow and went to school nearby

She famously wrote the Harry Potter books in Scotland, but JK Rowling actually spent much of her childhood in south Wales. Born in Chipping Sodbury, she was nine when her family moved to Tutshill near Chepstow, Monmouthshire. She went to school nearby at Wyedean School. It is widely believed that the evil Professor Snape in the Potter books was partly based on a science master who taught Rowling at Wyedean. His wife realised long before he did but didn't dare tell him.


She is the first woman to hold the deputy prime minister position in Australia - but life could have been very different for Julia Gillard if her family had not emigrated to Adelaide in 1966. Perhaps a leading role in Welsh politics would have called instead for Gillard, who was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan in 1961.


She is hailed as an Australian film star but Naomi Watts' early childhood was spent in England, where her father was a sound engineer for Pink Floyd. Her parents divorced when she was four, and for several years a young Watts, her brother and her Welsh mother lived with her grandparents in Mold in Denbighshire. Her father died when Watts was nine and when she was 14, her mother decided to move the family to Australia.


Ian Hislop
Have I Got New for You's Ian Hislop was born in Mumbles, Swansea

The editor of Private Eye magazine and regular panellist on BBC1's Have I Got News for You, Ian Hislop was born in Mumbles, Swansea. His father was Scottish and his mother English. However, just five months after his birth, the family began to travel around the world in accordance with his father's job as a civil engineer.


With his distinctive northern accent and no-nonsense attitude, John Prescott could be considered to be a typical Yorkshire man. In fact, he is actually Welsh - born in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, with Welsh ancestors stretching back 300 years. The son of a railway signalman and Labour councillor, and grandson of a miner, Prescott left Wales in 1942 at the age of five and was brought up initially in Brinsworth in South Yorkshire.


Christian Bale
Dai-namic duo? Batman star Christian Bale was born in Haverfordwest

The Batman star was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, in 1974. His father, David, grew up in South Africa and ran away to sea, ending up in Britain where he became a pilot stationed in RAF Brawdy near Haverfordwest. Bale's mother was a circus clown and dancer. However, Bale did not spend long in the country of his birth. The family moved around via Portugal and Oxfordshire before settling in Bournemouth, where Christian spent his childhood. Since moving to LA, it is understood he has only been back to Wales once.


He has written and sung a number of England football songs - including World in Motion, Vindaloo and England's Irie - so you would assume Keith Allen was a born and bred Englishman. In fact, the actor, musician and father of pop star Lily Allen was born in Gorseinon, in Swansea, the son of Edward Charles Owen, a petty officer in the Royal Navy.


Actor Rufus Sewell's mother, Jo, is a classically trained pianist whose family came from the Gwent Valleys, and his Australian father, William, was an illustrator and animator known for his work on the Beatles' animated feature Yellow Submarine. After his father died, his mother moved to Laugharne in Carmarthenshire with him and his brother Casper, who were aged 11 and 14 respectively. The family bought The Pelican - a five-bedroom Georgian townhouse - which used to be home to poet Dylan Thomas's parents.


Dawn French
Dawn French was born on Anglesey while her father worked nearby

Queen of comedy Dawn French is one of Britain's best loved TV stars as one half of the comic duo French & Saunders. But what many people do not know is that French is actually Welsh. She was born in Y Gors maternity home in Holyhead on Anglesey. Her parents were childhood sweethearts from Devon, and her father, Denys, who was in the Royal Air Force, was at that time stationed in RAF Valley on Anglesey.


Martin Coles was born in Cardiff in 1956 and studied biochemistry at Swansea University - so a true Welshman. That Welshman is now the top man at the most American of institutions - the Starbucks coffee chain. Coles moved to the US in 1980 and joined Starbucks in 2004 as president.


She was a south Wales law student who moved to France and met one of the rising young stars of Gallic politics. Now Penelope Fillon, 51, from the Monmouthshire town of Abergavenny, is the first British woman to be married to a French prime minister. Her husband Francois Fillon was named premier by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

We asked if you knew of any other famous people who can claim to be Welsh? Thank you for your comments - a selection of which are below:

I agree with William, I thought Kylie's ancestors lived in South Wales somewhere. I thought the remaining family member has recently died
Rosie, A place you would not have heard of

There have been more presidents of the USA of Welsh descent than Irish descent. Abraham Lincoln was one. Also, Jack Daniels (of whiskey fame) was from Wrexham. Kylie Minogue lived in Bridgend until she was 11 (her parents ran a post office).
Andrew Thomas, London (originally from Aberfan

Hubert Humphry vice president of the USA welsh roots- Llewelyn Humphries (aka Murray) lieutenant to Al Capone in chichago mafia welsh roots!!
Mr M Davies, stafford staffs

Also Marina and the Diamonds is from Abergavenny and moved to London when she was 18
sophie curtis, Monmouthshire

I get tired of these lists cropping up whenever the need is felt to bang the drum for Wales. Rather than concentrate on the people here and now the media looks for tenuous links to celebrities it cheapens what it is to be Welsh.
Kevin Watts, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

Interesting list, but I am disappointed to see Jordan given such a high priority. Aren't Kylie Minouges parents from Swansea?
William, Newport

Wasn't Oliver Cromwell a bit Welsh?
Mr. Stephen Jones, Penarth

What about James Bond (and now Doctor Who bad guy) Timothy Dalton?
Nina, Cardiff

dont know if it is true, was told that ray winstone the actor, was related to howard winstone the boxer very distantly though ??
kevin thomas, merthyr tydfil

Print Sponsor

Crowe cousin invites star for tea
29 Dec 09 |  North East Wales
John Prescott: Coming Home
26 Nov 09 |  People and Places


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific