Celebrities' real names revealed!
The names on stars' birth certificates are often different than those on the marquees.
John Legend came by his professional name reluctantly. He was born John Roger Stephens, but poet J. Ivy came up with the bold name because he thought the musician sounded like “one of the [old-school] legends” when he performed. Others adopted the nickname, and it stuck. The rest is history.
The Grammy Award-winning rapper may be recognized as Macklemore, but his real name is Benjamin Haggerty. His stage name has its origins in a high school art project, where he had to invent a superhero.
Common has gone through many name transformations. While the rapper was born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., he started his musical career as Common Sense. After discovering there was a ska band with the name in 2000, he began performing as Common.
She started her music career as Katy Hudson, the gospel singer. The singer later changed her surname to Perry, her mother's maiden name, because she thought Katy Hudson sounded too similar to Kate Hudson. She changed her sound to pop-rock, cause that's what sells.
The supermodel and Billy Joel's ex was born Christie Lee Hudson. That still has a nice all-American girl ring to it.
The Oscar winner, who was born in Israel, was born with the surname Hershlag. You might be thinking, "That sounds nothing like Portman?" Well, it's not supposed to. She used her grandmother's maiden name when she landed her first role in "Leon: The Professional" (1994) to supposedly protect her privacy and that of her family. It could be that, or that Portman was just easier to pronounce. You decide.
The country singer was born Jason Aldine Williams but decided he needed to change things up when he started his singing career. He chose Jason Aldean because there was a famous basketball player named Jason Williams at the time and he wanted to stand out.
Once upon a time this Southern girl was known as Laura Jeanne. Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon, to be precise.
Born Eileen Regina Edwards, the Canadian country singer got the last name Twain from her stepfather. In the beginning of her career, she added Shania, a native Ojibwa word which means "on my way."
She's known as Helen Mirren but the veteran actress' name given at birth was Ilynea Lydia Mironoff, according to "The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2015." Who knew?
The gorgeous model turned actress was Eleanor Nancy Gow before gracing billboards worldwide, according to "The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2015."
Contrary to popular belief, Nicki's natural hair color is not her best kept secret; the sassy singer's birth name is actually Onika Tanya Maraj. That's a mouthful to rap!
Oprah was named "Orpah" when she was born, but her name was often mispronounced and she was often mistaken called Oprah. The name eventually stuck.
Manilow was Barry Alan Pincus before he started singing about "Mandy." He also wrote jingles for television and radio before making it big.
The rock star was born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski. Names are a battlefield.
The "Mad Men" star recently revealed to Esquire that she loves her birth name even though she changed it when she got into the biz.
On her long list of things she loves: "My real last name," she says. "But the mispronunciation of it is like nails on a chalkboard. It starts S-c-h, so everybody pronounces it as if it were Shermerhorn. But it should be pronounced like it's Skermerhorn."
The comedian's real last name doesn't begin with a 'C' or a 'K.' Its Szekely.
The "Zero Dark Thirty" star was born Jessica Howard. She took on Chastain, her mother's maiden name, as her stage name. Ron Howard is not amused.
Lana Del Rey
The singer was born Elizabeth Grant. Not quite the same vibe.
The "Hunger Games" star changed her name that she wouldn't be confused with another famous actress, who she shared a name with, Elizabeth Mitchell.
The Senegalese rapper has said in interviews that his full name is Aliaune Damala Akon Thiam. He is often credited as Aliaune Thiam, and his full name has been reported both as Aliaune Badara Thiam and Alioune Badara Thiam. Maybe we'll never know!
Maurice Joseph Micklewhite adopted the stage name "Michael Scott" but was told another actor was already using that name. Pressed to come up with a name while on the phone with his agent, the actor looked around and saw that "The Caine Mutiny" was being shown at the cinema and went with "Michael Caine." He's joked that had he looked the other way, he would have ended up "Michael One Hundred and One Dalmations."
The singer was born Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong and is now officially Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong. That's a mouthful! As a child, her unusual name caused her a lot of grief: "To be called one thing and christened another is actually very confusing and annoying. It's one of the most irritating things that my parents did to me.... Florian is a German man's name. That's just mean. To give your child a whole lot of odd names. They were all so embarrassing. ...I thought it was cruel to call me Dido and then expect me to just deal with it."
Celebrities changing their names has been a trick of the trade for ages. The late Fred Astaire wasn't born with such a star-worthy name. The famous film and stage star, born in 1899, had the moniker Frederick Austerlitz before he literally jazzed it up.
Jodie's name may be a staple in Hollywood these days, but when it was first changed - when she was just a kid - it went through a few spelling changes before it stuck. Alicia Christian Foster was in "Gunsmoke" in 1969 as Jody Foster. Then in 1970s' "Daniel Boone" she was Jodi Foster. It has been spelled "Jodie" ever since.
The British actress has the same name as King Henry VIII's third wife, and that's no coincidence. Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg assumed the royal's name when she began acting.
The musician didn't seem to have a say in his moniker, but we bet he's glad he is no longer known as Stevland Hardaway Morris. It was Motown's Berry Gordy who signed Wonder to Motown's Tamla label with the name Little Stevie Wonder in 1961.
As a kid, Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra just went by Peggy Hyra. She eventually decided she liked Meg better, and then switched to her mom's maiden name Ryan.
Fans may know his as Bruno Mars, but his real name is Peter Gene Hernandez.
The designer explained to Oprah Winfrey why he had to change his birth name Ralph Lifschitz. “My given name has the word sh--t in it,” he said. “When I was a kid, the other kids would make a lot of fun of me. It was a tough name. That's why I decided to change it." "My cousins who lived in California had changed their last name to Lawrence. So I just thought, 'I'm going to pick a nice last name' — it wasn't particularly connected to anything or anyone," he explains.
Dakota is her middle name. The child star's real name is Hannah Fanning. Close...
The legendary chef has a catchy name now, but its a fake! The Austrian restaurateur was born Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig.
That wouldn't exactly make for a good name of a restaurant.
The producer, writer and actor was born Melvin Kaminsky. But we'll always think of him as the 2,000-Year-Old-Man.
Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the singer reportedly chose the name "Elton John" in homage to Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.
The famous director went by Shelton Jackson Lee before he was famous.
Tina was Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. Nothing funny about that!
The action star was known as Carlos Ray Norris.
The Academy Award winner was originally named Ronald, but changed his name when a friend suggested that Christopher suited him better. Nowadays he often prefers to be called Chris.
As a young comedian, Eric Marlon Bishop realized that females were often called first to perform on open mic nights, so he changed his name to Jamie Foxx. His new surname was also a tribute to comedian Redd Foxx.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
The "Tudors" star was born Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keefe. His stage name was derived from his mother's surname.Jonathan Rhys Meyers
The actress was born Liv Rundgren since her mom claimed that rock star Todd Rundgren was her dad.
But at age nine, Liv figured out that Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler was her biological father and five years later changed her surname to match his.
The comedian was named Cornelius Crane Chase after his adoptive grandfather. Chevy was a nickname bestowed by his grandmother.
The Fleetwood Mac singer was born Stephanie Lynn Nicks. As a young child she had difficulty pronouncing her given name and often pronounced it as "tee-dee,",and thus the nickname "Stevie" was born.
Sir Ben Kingsley
In the 1970s Kingsley changed his name from Krishna Bhanji to Ben Kingsley, fearing that a foreign name would hamper his career.
Julie Andrews was originally Julia Elizabeth Wells before discovering that her biological father had the surname Andrews.
Before he was lending his voice to 'Puss in Boots' for "Shrek," Banderas was José Antonio Dominguez Bandera.
The adult film star chose her surname after scrolling through the phonebook for a name that matched her given name, Jenna Marie Massoli. She settled on "Jameson" since it went well with her first name, and she was known to drink whiskey at the time.
Before "American Idol" launched his career the red-headed singer released a CD called "Redefined" under his given name Clayton Grissom. At 19, the "Idol" hopeful legally changed his name to Aiken, his mother's maiden name.
The former Mrs. Ashton Kutcher was Demi Gene Guynes until she married singer Freddy Moore in 1980. His surname stuck around way longer than he did.
School friends used to call the Black Sabbath lead singer "John Ozzy" or "Oz Brain" due to his last name. Before long he stopped answering to his real name, John Michael Osbourne.
Before he became one of the most successful magicians in the world, David Copperfield was known as David Seth Kotkin. He got Copperfield from the Charles Dickens book of the same name.
The "Something's Gotta Give" star was originally Diane Hall. She changed her name to her mother's maiden name since there was already a Diane Hall in the Actors Guild. What an odd coincidence that she ended up starring as Annie Hall in 1977.
The Black Eyed Peas singer was raised in a devout Roman Catholic home and answered to Stacy Ann Ferguson.
Before being cast as pretty boy Nate Archibald on "Gossip Girl," the actor went by Christopher Chace Crawford.
Bret Michaels sounds way more "rock n roll" than Bret Michael Sychak.
Before she became half of "Sonny and Cher," the diva was known as Cherilyn Sarksian.
Before he was looking for love on VH1's "Flavor of Love," this rapper was known as William Jonathan Drayton, Jr. Flavor Flav was his graffiti tag.
The songstress was Alicia Augello Cook before almost making her stage name "Alicia Wilde." Her manager suggested Keys after a dream he had.
"Pink" was a nickname given to Alecia Beth Moore by her friends, due to her habit of blushing when embarrassed.
Lady Gaga? Try Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Before she was an edgy pop star, Gaga was just a girl with an "i"-ending name. Tiffani, Carli, and Nikki, take note!
Before he was a rapper or an actor on "Law & Order: SVU," the star was known as Tracy Morrow.
The folk icon was born Robert Allen Zimmerman, and began using the moniker Elston Gunnn during childhood. By college, the buddy musician was introducing himself as "Bob Dylan"; he notes in his autobiography that he had been influenced by the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Explaining the change in an interview, Dylan said: "You're born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free."
The singer was born Anna Mae Bullock, and her stage name was “Little Ann,” until ex Ike Turner changed her name to Tina.
The former "Jackass" star started life as Stephen Gilchrist Glover, the son of a Pepsi-Cola president.
When Delloreese Patricia Early began singing in clubs, she realized her name was too long for the marquee and went with the more succinct "Della Reese."
The actor was born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo. His adopted surname, "Alda," is a portmanteau of ALphonso and D'Abruzzo.
The rocker's birth name is Courtney Michelle Harrison but she chose the stage surname Love while working as an exotic dancer.
Before this guy hit Hollywood, he was Christopher Ashton Kutcher.
In 1991, Tara Leigh Patrick moved to California and met Prince. Soon after, she signed a record deal as Carmen Electra.
Birth name: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. That wouldn't look so good on a billboard.
Carlos Irwin Estévez adopted his dad Martin's stage name of Sheen. His brother, Emilio Estévez, did not.
The stylist's given name is Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig. But today she uses her middle name as her surname.
Wynonna Ellen Judd was born Christina Claire Ciminella.
The rocker is actually Frank Carlton Ferrana, Jr. Doesn't have quite the same ring.
Portia de Rossi
Amanda Lee Rogers adopted the more exotic name of Portia at a young age. "When I was 15, I changed my name legally," she says. "In retrospect, I it was largely due to my struggle about being gay.... I was trying to find things I could identify myself with, and it started with my name. I picked Portia because I was a Shakespeare fan. De Rossi because I was Australian and I thought that an exotic Italian name would somehow suit me more than Amanda Rogers."
Woody is really Allen Stewart Konigsberg. At the age of 17 the director legally changed his name to Heywood Allen.
J. Lo's ex is legally Marco Antonio Muñiz. The singer's Puerto Rican parents named him after Mexican singer... Marco Antonio Muñiz.
Susan Alexandra Weaver began using the the first name "Sigourney" at aged fourteen, after a minor character (Sigourney Howard) in the novel "The Great Gatsby."
It is said that Paul David Hewson was nicknamed "Bono Vox" (Latin for "good voice") by a friend, which was later shortened to "Bono."
The singer was born Natalie Renee McIntyre and has also been credited as Natalie Hinds.
The singer's real name (reflecting his Nigerian background) is quite lengthy: Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel. We can see why he shortened his stage name to just "Seal!"
The talk show host was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger. He reportedly acquired his new name after a radio boss said that Zeiger was too ethnic and difficult to remember. Minutes before air, Larry chose the surname King from a newspaper ad for King's Wholesale Liquor.
Winona Laura Horowitz doesn't have the same ring.
Bo was born Mary Cathleen Collins. Not very Hollywood.
The former "Daily Show" host was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz.
The story goes that the teen star changed her name from Destiny Hope to Miley because of a childhood nickname.
The former Caryn Elaine Johnson explains the stage name Whoopi: "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from." She adopted the surname Goldberg because her mother reportedly felt Johnson was not "Jewish enough" to make her a star. Oddly, that’s the complete opposite reason most of the other celebs on this list changed their names!
The Aussie actor was born Eric Banadinović.
Prince's real name actually is Prince! Well, Prince Rogers Nelson. The musician was also known as a symbol, "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" (often abbreviated to "TAFKAP"), and simply "The Artist."
In order to avoid the appearance of nepotism as the nephew of Frances Ford Coppola, Nic changed his name from Nicolas Kim Coppola to Nicolas Cage, inspired in part by the comic superhero Luke Cage.
Eldrick Tont Woods goes by his childhood nickname, Tiger.
The acting legend was born Issur Danielovitch.
Born María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, the entertainer's official name is María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Moquiere de les Esperades Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Najosa Rasten.
Would Brian Hugh Warner scare teenagers' parents and wear black lipstick? Probably not.
Lil Bow Wow
In 1993, Shad Gregory Moss performed at a concert in Los Angeles, and was noticed by rapper Snoop Dogg, who dubbed him, "Bow Wow."
The actress was born with the decidedly unglamorous name Patsy Ann McClenny.
Joseph Lawrence Mignogna, Jr.'s family (including his former child star brothers) surname was changed to "Lawrence" during his childhood.