Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek poses during the photo call of the movie "Puss in Boots" in Rome, November 2011. Press Association

Mexican-born Hollywood actress Salma Hayek has been named a Chevalier (Knight), the highest rank of honour in France. The announcement was made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Legion of Honour, which is announced every year on the eve of New Year, was originally instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to honour military personnel and civilians for their services to the French society.

Hayek is married to French billionaire businessman Francois-Henri Pinault who is said to be close to the French president. The 45-year-old actress is currently promoting her film "Puss in Boots" (she has lent her voice to the character Kitty Softpaws).

Earlier, Hollywood actors Clint Eastwood, Robert di Niro and Robert Redford were honoured with Legion of Honour awards.

Hayek is best known for her role as Frida Kahlo in the film "Frida". She was nominated for Oscar Best Actress Award for her portrayal of the Mexican painter. Her other well -known films are "Wild Wild West", "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" and "Lonely Hearts".

The actress has been associated with several campaigns related to violence against women, discrimination against immigrants in the U.S., and breastfeeding.