Celebrities' real names revealed!

Celebrities’ real names revealed!

The names on stars’ birth certificates are often different than those on the marquees.

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John Legend

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.

(Reuters)

john-legend

Macklemore

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. 

(Reuters)

macklemore

Common

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. 

(Reuters)

common

Katy Perry

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.

(Reuters)

katy-perry

Christie Brinkley

The supermodel and Billy Joel’s ex was born Christie Lee Hudson. That still has a nice all-American girl ring to it.

(Reuters)

christie-brinkley

Natalie Portman

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.

(Reuters)

natalie-portman

Jason Aldean

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.

(Reuters)

jason-aldean

Reese Witherspoon

Once upon a time this Southern girl was known as Laura Jeanne. Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon, to be precise.

(Reuters)

reese-witherspoon

Shania Twain

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.” 

(Reuters)

shania-twain

Helen Mirren

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? 

(Reuters)

helen-mirren

Elle Macpherson

The gorgeous model turned actress was Eleanor Nancy Gow before gracing billboards worldwide, according to “The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2015.”

(Reuters)

elle-macpherson

Nicki Minaj

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!

(Reuters)

nicki-minaj

Oprah

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. 

(Reuters)

oprah

Barry Manilow

Manilow was Barry Alan Pincus before he started singing about “Mandy.” He also wrote jingles for television and radio before making it big.

(AP)

barry-manilow

Pat Benatar

The rock star was born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski. Names are a battlefield.

(Reuters)

pat-benatar

Alison Brie

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.”

(Reuters)

alison-brie

Louis C.K.

The comedian’s real last name doesn’t begin with a ‘C’ or a ‘K.’ Its Szekely.

(Reuters)

louis-c.k.

Jessica Chastain

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.

(Reuters)

jessica-chastain

Lana Del Rey

The singer was born Elizabeth Grant. Not quite the same vibe.

(Reuters)

lana-del-rey

Elizabeth Banks

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.

(Reuters)

elizabeth-banks

Akon

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!

(Reuters)

akon

Michael Caine

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.”

(AP )

michael-caine

Dido

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.”

(AP)

dido

Fred Astaire

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.

(AP)

fred-astaire

Jodie Foster

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.

(Reuters)

jodie-foster

Jane Seymour

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.

(Reuters)

jane-seymour

Steve Wonder

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.

(Reuters)

steve-wonder

Meg Ryan

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.

(Reuters)

meg-ryan

Bruno Mars

Fans may know his as Bruno Mars, but his real name is Peter Gene Hernandez.

(Reuters)

bruno-mars

Ralph Lauren

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.

(Reuters)

ralph-lauren

Dakota Fanning

Dakota is her middle name. The child star’s real name is Hannah Fanning. Close…

(AP)

dakota-fanning

Wolfgang Puck

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.

(Reuters)

wolfgang-puck

Mel Brooks

The producer, writer and actor was born Melvin Kaminsky. But we’ll always think of him as the 2,000-Year-Old-Man.

(Reuters)

mel-brooks

Elton John

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the singer reportedly chose the name “Elton John” in homage to Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.

(Reuters)

elton-john

Spike Lee

The famous director went by Shelton Jackson Lee before he was famous.

(AP)

spike-lee

Tina Fey

Tina was Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. Nothing funny about that!

(AP)

tina-fey

Churck Noris

The action star was known as Carlos Ray Norris.

(AP)

churck-noris

Christopher Walken

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.

(AP)

christopher-walken

Jamie Foxx

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.

(Reuters)

jamie-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

(AP)

jonathan-rhys-meyers

Liv Tyler

Liv Tyler

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.

(AP)

(AP)

liv-tyler

Chevy Chase

The comedian was named Cornelius Crane Chase after his adoptive grandfather. Chevy was a nickname bestowed by his grandmother.

(Reuters)

chevy-chase

Stevie Nicks

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. 

(AP)

stevie-nicks

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.

(Reuters)

sir-ben-kingsley

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews was originally Julia Elizabeth Wells before discovering that her biological father had the surname Andrews.

(AP)

julie-andrews

Antonio Banderas

Before he was lending his voice to ‘Puss in Boots’ for “Shrek,” Banderas was José Antonio Dominguez Bandera.

(AP)

antonio-banderas

Jenna Jameson

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.

(AP )

jenna-jameson

Clay Aiken

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.

(AP)

clay-aiken

Demi Moore

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.

(AP)

demi-moore

Ozzy Osbourne

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.

(AP)

ozzy-osbourne

David Copperfield

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.

(AP)

david-copperfield

Diane Keaton

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.

(AP)

diane-keaton

Fergie

The Black Eyed Peas singer was raised in a devout Roman Catholic home and answered to Stacy Ann Ferguson.

(AP)

fergie

Chace Crawford

Before being cast as pretty boy Nate Archibald on “Gossip Girl,” the actor went by Christopher Chace Crawford.

(AP)

chace-crawford

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels sounds way more “rock n roll” than Bret Michael Sychak.

(AP)

bret-michaels

Cher

Before she became half of “Sonny and Cher,” the diva was known as Cherilyn Sarksian.

(Reuters)

cher

Flavor Flav

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.

(AP)

flavor-flav

Alicia Keys

The songstress was Alicia Augello Cook before almost making her stage name “Alicia Wilde.” Her manager suggested Keys after a dream he had.

(Reuters)

alicia-keys

Pink

“Pink” was a nickname given to Alecia Beth Moore by her friends, due to her habit of blushing when embarrassed.

(Reuters)

pink

Lady Gaga

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!

(AP)

lady-gaga

Ice-T

Before he was a rapper or an actor on “Law & Order: SVU,” the star was known as Tracy Morrow.

(AP)

ice-t-

Bob Dylan

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.”

(AP)

bob-dylan

Tina Turner

The singer was born Anna Mae Bullock, and her stage name was “Little Ann,” until ex Ike Turner changed her name to Tina.

(AP)

tina-turner

Steve-O

The former “Jackass” star started life as Stephen Gilchrist Glover, the son of a Pepsi-Cola president.

(AP)

steve-o

Della Reese

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.”

(AP)

della-reese

Alan Alda

The actor was born Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo. His adopted surname, “Alda,” is a portmanteau of ALphonso and D’Abruzzo. 

(AP)

alan-alda

Courtney Love

The rocker’s birth name is Courtney Michelle Harrison but she chose the stage surname Love while working as an exotic dancer.

(AP)

courtney-love

Ashton Kutcher

Before this guy hit Hollywood, he was Christopher Ashton Kutcher.

(AP )

ashton-kutcher

Carmen Electra

In 1991, Tara Leigh Patrick moved to California and met Prince. Soon after, she signed a record deal as Carmen Electra.

(AP)

carmen-electra

Tom Cruise

Birth name: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. That wouldn’t look so good on a billboard.

(Reuters)

tom-cruise

Charlie Sheen

Carlos Irwin Estévez adopted his dad Martin’s stage name of Sheen. His brother, Emilio Estévez, did not.

(Reuters)

charlie-sheen

Rachel Zoe

The stylist’s given name is Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig. But today she uses her middle name as her surname.

(AP)

rachel-zoe

Wynonna Judd

Wynonna Ellen Judd was born Christina Claire Ciminella. 

(Reuters)

wynonna-judd

Nikki Sixx

The rocker is actually Frank Carlton Ferrana, Jr. Doesn’t have quite the same ring.

(AP)

nikki-sixx

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.”

(Reuters)

portia-de-rossi

Woody Allen

Woody is really Allen Stewart Konigsberg. At the age of 17 the director legally changed his name to Heywood Allen. 

(Reuters)

woody-allen

Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony

J. Lo’s ex is legally Marco Antonio Muñiz. The singer’s Puerto Rican parents named him after Mexican singer… Marco Antonio Muñiz.

(REUTERS)

(Reuters)

marc-anthony

Sigourney Weaver

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.”

(AP)

sigourney-weaver

Bono

It is said that Paul David Hewson was nicknamed “Bono Vox” (Latin for “good voice”) by a friend, which was later shortened to “Bono.”

(Reuters)

bono

Macy Gray

The singer was born Natalie Renee McIntyre and has also been credited as Natalie Hinds. 

(AP)

macy-gray

Seal

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!”

(Reuters)

seal

Larry King

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.

(Reuters)

larry-king

Winona Ryder

Winona Laura Horowitz doesn’t have the same ring.

(AP)

winona-ryder

Bo Derek

Bo was born Mary Cathleen Collins. Not very Hollywood.

(AP)

bo-derek

Jon Stewart

The former “Daily Show” host was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz.

(Reuters)

jon-stewart

Miley Cyrus

The story goes that the teen star changed her name from Destiny Hope to Miley because of a childhood nickname.

(NBC)

miley-cyrus

Whoopi Goldberg

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!

(Reuters)

whoopi-goldberg

Eric Bana

The Aussie actor was born Eric Banadinović.

(AP)

eric-bana

Prince

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.”

(Reuters)

prince

Nicolas Cage

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.

(AP)

nicolas-cage

Tiger Woods

Eldrick Tont Woods goes by his childhood nickname, Tiger.

(Reuters)

tiger-woods

Kirk Douglas

The acting legend was born Issur Danielovitch. 

(AP)

kirk-douglas

Charo

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.

(Reuters)

charo

Marilyn Manson

Would Brian Hugh Warner scare teenagers’ parents and wear black lipstick? Probably not.

(AP)

marilyn-manson

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.”

(Reuters)

lil-bow-wow

Morgan Fairchild

The actress was born with the decidedly unglamorous name Patsy Ann McClenny. 

(AP)

morgan-fairchild

Joey Lawrence

Joseph Lawrence Mignogna, Jr.’s family (including his former child star brothers) surname was changed to “Lawrence” during his childhood.

(AP)

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