ATHENS – Tom Hanks may officially consider himself Greek. Greece’s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has signed an honorary naturalization order allowing the 63-year-old actor to claim Greek citizenship, his office told The Associated Press on Friday.
Hanks frequently spends his summer vacation on the Greek island of Antiparos and his wife, actress and producer Rita Wilson, is of Greek and Bulgarian ancestry.
Under Greek law, honorary naturalization may be granted to people “who have provided exceptional services to the country or whose naturalization serves the public interest.”
The initiative came from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who had met Hanks and discussed issues of Greek interest. The PM’s proposal to Hanks was accepted with enthusiasm, sources said, and was followed by a formal request to President Pavlopoulos by Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos.
Hanks has converted to Greek Orthdoxy and owns property on Antiparos, while he has quietly supported several initiatives for Greece including helping the victims of Mati following the devastating fires in East Attica in 2019.
According to the law, the actor and his family have a one-year deadline to accept, following which they will be sworn in as Greek citizens before the Interior Minister.