Off-Stage Personas: Celebrities And Their Real Names
Even before any investment money was spent developing equipment, such as cameras and microphones, many people have already had a fascination for various fields of art. This, of course, includes performing in front of an audience, whether as an actor, storyteller, or singer – or perhaps all at once. Suffice to say, that hasn’t changed a bit.
The entertainment industry is filled with numerous actors, singers, filmmakers, and composers, among other star-studded figures. Now, it’s safe to say we all know more than a few of these celebrities and can probably come up with five names right from the top of our heads. The thing is, though, it wouldn’t be too surprising to discover that some of these celebrities go by different names under the spotlight. Well, if you’re interested in finding which one of your favorite stars has a stage name, do stick around because for this article, we’ll be taking a look at the celebrities who have stage names that greatly differ from their real names. Some of them even have more than two names.
Drake | Aubrey Drake Graham
Fans of hip hop and rap undoubtedly know Drake. Before he joined the ranks of the music industry’s well-known artists, the rapper did all that he could to cover whatever personal loans he and his family had, which led to him starting an acting career when he was fifteen years old. Thanks to some help from one of his friends, he landed the part of Jimmy Brooks in the TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation. By this point, he still went by the name Aubrey Graham.
Born Aubrey Drake Graham, the Degrassi star also worked on starting his music career in between filming for the series. While producing catchy tracks is a must in becoming a popular singer, he also needed to think of a name that’s easier to remember: Aubrey Drake Graham is surely too long. As a result, he went with his middle name, Drake.
Cardi B. | Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar
Although there are plenty of established names in the music industry, there’s no denying that new artists still have a shot at garnering an incredible degree of praise and recognition under the spotlight. Well, such was the case for Cardi B. Initially becoming a well-known figure on the social media platforms Instagram and Vine, she received even more recognition when she established herself as a rapper.
Fans who follow the rapper/songwriter on social media probably know the reason behind her name. Born Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, the rapper’s stage name is linked to her childhood nickname. This was because the Bodak Yellow singer’s sister’s name is Hennessy, so the people she grew up with decided to call her Bacardi. Now, remove the first syllable, and there you have it. For the “B” that comes after, Almánzar claims it can mean a variety of things depending on the day – it could be her real name, or it could be short for adjectives like “beautiful.”
Bono | Paul David Hewson
Many hits in the music scene undoubtedly hail from the rock genre. The industry has had more than a few iconic rock bands through the years and won’t seem to run out of them for generations to come. With that said, one such name that just about everyone has heard of would be U2, led by vocalist Paul David Hewson, though he’s often referred to by a different name.
Even before starting a band, Hewson already received credit from his friends and family for having a good singing voice. One of the groups he joined had a habit of giving each member a nickname, with Hewson’s being Bono Vox. He disliked it at first but decided to stick with it after realizing it literally meant “good voice.” Well, from that point onward, just about everyone knows him simply as Bono, including some of his family members.
Demi Moore | Demetria Gene Guynes
For her start in the entertainment industry, Demi Moore began as a model during her teenage years. While landing modeling gigs here and there, she became interested in taking drama classes, thanks to her at-the-time neighbor, Nastassja Kinski. A few years later, she finally found her way into the acting scene.
Born Demi Gene Guynes, the actress was once married to Freddy Moore, the singer of The Nu Kats. Since then, she has used his surname for her stage name. With that said, there’s no denying that Moore has become quite a well-known figure in the entertainment industry. Besides starring in projects such as Mr. Brooks, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Rough Night, and GI Jane, she has also made investments in other endeavors. For one, she released a memoir back in 2019 entitled Inside Out, wherein she received plenty of praise from both critics and readers.
Dakota Fanning | Hannah Dakota Fanning
A career under the spotlight can start at any point in one’s life. For Dakota Fanning, this began before terms such as investment planning even became a part of her daily vocabulary. With that said, Fanning’s first acting gigs were as a stage actress. By the time she was five years old, she had got her first professional project, appearing in a commercial, followed by a guest-starring role in ER.
Most – if not all – celebrities have long first names, so it’s no surprise that they often only stick with their first or second name and surname for their stage name. Such was the case for the I Am Sam actress, who was born Hannah Dakota Fanning. With that out of the way, Fanning has made quite a name for herself as a child actress who has transitioned to more mature roles. From starring in Coraline, Charlotte’s Web, and War of the Worlds, her more recent projects include films such as Night Moves and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Ellie Goulding | Elena Jane Goulding
By the looks of it, Ellie Goulding already had the makings of a musician during her childhood years. Her first instrument is the clarinet, which she learned when she was nine years old. Five years later, at fourteen years old, she started learning the guitar, and composing songs came a year later.
Born Elena Jane Goulding, the singer now goes by the stage name Ellie Goulding – Ellie perhaps being a nickname. With that said, she started her career in the music industry back in 2009 and debuted her extended play, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding. Her debut album Lights came the following year. Since then, she has garnered an impressive degree of recognition for creating songs such as Burn, Anything Could Happen, and her rendition of Elton John’s Your Song. Some of her tracks have also been used in movies and shows such as Spring Breakers, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, and Divergent.
Billie Eilish | Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell
If we’re talking about new singers in the industry, it would be a disservice not to credit how popular Billie Eilish has become since beginning her career back in 2015. Getting her first big shot to fame with her debut single, Ocean Eyes, she has since become most known for songs such as Bad Guy, Everything I Wanted, and Your Power. Plus, she also had the chance to sing the theme song for the 2021 James Bond flick, No Time to Die.
Using one’s first name and surname is often the usual way celebrities make their stage name. For Eilish, though, it sure looks like she had plenty of choices. For one, her real name is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell. If you were wondering why she has Pirate for a name, you could thank her brother, the singer-songwriter Finneas. He suggested naming his younger sister Pirate before Billie became the final decision.
Bruno Mars | Peter Gene Hernandez
Well, it sure looks like music undoubtedly runs in this family. With his parents having met during a performance, where his mother was a dancer and his dad a percussionist, it’s no surprise Bruno Mars grew up to have an incredible degree of fascination and talent for music. Today, Mars has garnered plenty of recognition for creating catchy tunes such as Locked Out of Heaven, Just the Way You Are, That’s What I Like, and Leave the Door Open.
It would be pretty cool to find someone who actually has Mars as their surname. Sadly, that’s just a part of the 24K Magic singer’s stage name. Born Peter Gene Hernandez, “Bruno” is the nickname his father gave him, referencing the singer’s resemblance to the late wrestler Bruno Sammartino. How about “Mars,” you ask? Well, as it turns out, it came from people frequently describing him as out of this world.
Charlie Sheen / Martin Sheen | Carlos Irwin Estevez / Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez
It’s no secret that the entertainment industry has its fair share of celebrity families. One such surname that has become pretty popular through the years would be Sheen, thanks to actors such as Charlie and Martin Sheen.
Now, who would’ve thought changing one’s name could be considered a notable investment for one’s business? Well, by the looks of it, he thought so. Although his official name is still Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez, the Apocalypse Now actor also uses his stage name for other non-acting endeavors, such as booking appointments. It’s apparently easier to recognize him with that name than the other. He got his first name from a casting director’s surname and “Sheen” from a televangelist’s surname. His son, Charlie, born Carlos Irwin Estevez, followed suit when he made his way into the acting business. Along with adopting the Sheen surname for his stage name, he opted to go with the English form of “Carlos,” which is “Charlie.”
Ben Kingsley | Krishna Pandit Bhanji
A movie or show can garner plenty of recognition by promoting its filmmaker and stars. With that said, one such actor who has his foot steady on the gas pedal, always guaranteeing a great performance, no matter what role he gets, is Ben Kingsley.
Beginning his career on stage, Kingsley eventually made his way to more on-screen projects, with his film debut being 1972’s Fear Is the Key. By 1982, he garnered even more recognition for his portrayal of the titular character in the biopic Gandhi, earning him an Oscar for Best Actor. Since then, Kingsley has worked on other projects such as Schindler’s List, Shutter Island, The Dictator, and Iron Man 3. Outside the spotlight, the actor was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji. He got his stage name from his father and grandfather’s nicknames: his father’s was Ben, and King Clove his grandfather’s.
Christopher Walken | Ronald Walken
It’s no secret that celebrities are often most recognized by how they present themselves in public. Well, besides being at their most charismatic, there’s no denying that many stars have garnered a plenty of popularity just from their voice alone. Many names definitely come to mind, and one of them is undoubtedly Christopher Walken.
During the earlier years of his career, Walken went by a different stage name, one that was closer to his real name: Ronnie Walken. Born as Ronald Walken, the actor also once had a stint as a dancer at a club. For the transition from Ronnie to Christopher, the credit undoubtedly goes to his colleague at the time, Monique van Vooren, who suggested that the latter name fits better with his surname than the former. With that said, the actor has since become well-known for starring in films such as Click, Seven Psychopaths, and Batman Returns.
Ben Affleck | Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt
Ben Affleck’s love for acting stems from his childhood. During those years, he and his brother, the actor Casey, often watched stage plays with their mother. Born as Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt, he got his professional gig at seven years old and continued acting for his school’s stage productions. Suffice to say, these first few stints undoubtedly helped him prepare for his eventual career in the entertainment industry.
Since then, Affleck has made quite a name for himself starring in numerous projects. After garnering a skyrocketing degree of recognition for starring in Good Will Hunting, which he co-wrote with friend and co-star Matt Damon, Affleck has worked on movies such as Armageddon, Gone Girl, The Way Back, and Argo. He has also cemented his place in the comic book community, thanks to his work in both the Marvel and DC franchises, having portrayed the titular hero in Daredevil and Batman in the DCEU.
Elton John | Reginald Kenneth Dwight
We are all aware of his investments in the music industry. However, many music fans do not know that Elton John is not his real name. Despite being close friends with the Beatles, he did not take part of his name from one of them.
According to the biofilm Rocketman, he was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight. He later changed his name to Elton John partly because he spotted a photo of John Lennon in his musical publisher’s office and believed that his first name would also be a good last name. After he garnered attention for his remarkable musical ear, the young guy started playing in local bands. One of those bands, Bluesology, included a saxophonist named Elton Dean. The name John originates from the band’s frontman, John Baldry. “Reginald Dwight” aspired to be a solo artist, and he reasoned, rightly, that” Elton John” would be a more appropriate stage name.
Emma Stone | Emily Jean Stone
Emma Stone’s real name isn’t “Emma.” She had to change it to advance her acting career. She was born Emily Jean Stone and she was 16 years old at the time when she realized that there was another actress with the same name in the Screen Actors Guild. She then chose to change her first name to stand out from the crowd.
Stone claims a different story behind the invention of her stage name, and it’s right in line with her personality. Her obsession with the Spice Girls influenced the name she would use professionally for the rest of her life. She was incredibly blonde growing up, and her real name was Emily, but she wanted to be nicknamed Emma because of Baby Spice. Moreover, Stone is a major Spice Girls fan, and she talks about the band more than her credits these days and believes they taught her everything she knows about “female strength.”
Frank Ocean | Christopher Edwin Breaux
Frank Ocean is, without a doubt, one of our generation’s geniuses. We were all in the palm of his withholding hands while we waited for Boys Don’t Cry. However, he was not always so oceanic. The enigmatic musician has changed his name, but why is that? The answer has to do with a degree of personal power.
Ocean was born Christopher Edwin Breaux, but he later changed his name to Frank Ocean to reflect his true identity as the hermit with the floating falsetto voice. She had filed the official documents for the name change back in March 2014. He was given his request and transformed into his final form nearly a year later. The obvious follow-up question is, “But why Frank Ocean?” His name was mainly inspired by Ocean’s 11, which starred Frank Sinatra. That made it easier for him to croon in a nightclub in one of those opulent Vegas casinos.
G-Eazy | Gerald Earl Gillum
You’re familiar with G-Eazy as a hip-hop superstar with credits like No Limit and Him & I. However, there’s no way G-true Eazy’s name is G-Eazy. While many people have amazing parents, we can’t imagine his parents being cool enough to write that on his birth certificate. His stage name, we promise, is a lot easier to pronounce than his real name.
Gerald Earl Gillum is his real name, which is tough for us to repeat ten times fast. With so much going on, it’s understandable that he chose the stage moniker G-Eazy. Now that we know his real name, how did he go by his stage name? G-Eazy is from his initials. He went by the moniker “G.E.” because his middle name begins with “E.” When it came time for a rap moniker, he needed a name that suited his songs and raps.
Halsey | Ashley Nicolette Frangipane
Halsey’s journey to stardom was not without its setbacks, but she persevered and earned her prominent degree. Fans interested in learning more about the singer with the distinctive voice may be shocked to realize that she has experienced a lot. Halsey’s name is derived from a time in her life that impacted her that it became her stage name.
She was born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane and grew up in New Jersey. She first rose to prominence for, among other things, a song parody about Taylor Swift dating Harry Styles. The attention given to The Haylor Song back in 2012 did not result in a surge of interest in the vocalist. She put the song Ghost on SoundCloud in 2014, and eventually signed with Astralwerks. But why Halsey? The singer lived in a loft off of Halsey Street in Brooklyn, and Halsey is also an anagram of Ashley.
Iggy Azalea | Amethyst Amelia Kelly
Iggy Azalea is a name you’ve most likely heard before! She climbed to an astronomical degree of success in a brief period! With her song Fancy, the artist topped the Billboard Hot 100 and established herself as one of the most sought-after rappers. Iggy has subsequently collaborated with many prominent personalities in the music industry.
While many fans are familiar with Iggy, many newbies are unaware that she has a stage name! Iggy Azalea isn’t the rapper’s real name. She was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly. Where did she get the name Iggy, you ask? She utilized the traditional method of using the name of their first pet and the street where they grew up. She got her first name from her first pet named Iggy, and she grew up on Azalea Street, so it seemed only natural that she would call herself Iggy Azalea.
Jamie Foxx | Eric Marlon Bishop
Any fans who know Jamie Foxx are still startled to learn that he changed his name earlier in his life. The actor’s real name is Eric Marlon Bishop, and the name change was a career decision. He opted to go under a different name back in 1990. Back then, he performed at local comedy clubs. He landed his first credit in the sketch comedy TV series In Living Color shortly after taking this move, but why did he change his name in the first place?
He had a hard time getting on stage at the start of his career. He noted that few comedians were female — and that they always got a spot – at some point. The budding celebrity began using androgynous stage identities. He eventually settled on “Jamie,” a gender-neutral moniker, and “Foxx,” a nod to his favorite stand-up comic, John Elroy Sanford, or Redd Foxx.
Joaquin Phoenix | Joaquin Rafael Bottom/Leaf Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix is one of Hollywood’s most admired actors. His acting career started in the early ‘80s, but he didn’t break out as a leading man until the early 2000s, after a succession of supporting solid investments.
Phoenix was born with an entirely different last name despite his well-known namesake. He was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom. Joaquin asked to be called Leaf when he was four years old. He wanted to be more like his elder brothers, River and Rain, who had nature-inspired names. His parents chose to take on a new surname as they moved on to the next stage of their lives. The Bottoms chose Phoenix as their last name because they wanted a nickname representing their rebirth. He went by the moniker Leaf Phoenix until 1991, when he changed his name to the one we all know and love today.
Jodie Foster | Alicia Christian Foster
Jodie Foster was born Alicia Christian Foster. With a part as the Coppertone Girl in a television commercial for the legendary brand of suntan lotion, the future Academy Award winner began her acting career at the early age of three years old.
Despite never having taken an acting class, she jumped into show business back in 1968 with her first television show, Mayberry R.F.D. Foster later would have a busy career as a child actress, with Brandy Foster by her side, serving as both manager and mother. Foster transitioned from child star to mature actress, appearing in a series of primarily unremarkable films through the mid-‘80s. Her next well-received appearance in another dramatic and brutal film earned her an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. It cemented her degree and reputation as one of Hollywood’s most respected serious actors.
John Legend | John Rogers Stephens
Thanks to his smooth, soulful voice and incredibly moving lyrics, John Legend is a modern musical legend. In any case… legend. With credits like All Of Me, the singer of those swoon-inducing love ballads seems to have the appropriate name for the world of the show industry. The singer’s real name isn’t John Legend, though. His real name is something far less unusual.
He was born John Roger Stephens and learned to play the piano at a young age. He then refined his incredible voice in the church choir as a child. He was also conducting a singing group at the University of Pennsylvania, and he met another future legend, Kanye West. Finally, West made a move that convinced Legend that he had to morph into John Legend, and it was then that a stage name was born, complete with a moniker.
Julianne Moore | Julie Anne Smith
Unless you’ve been living on a deserted island without access to notable credits since the mid-’90s, Julianne Moore is a name you’re familiar with. What if we informed you that the Julianne Moore we know isn’t, in fact, Julianne Moore? (Please don’t return to your island; we’ll explain.)
When she was trying to join SAG, there was a Julie Smith and a Julie Anne Smith, which compelled her to choose another name. So, how did Moore come up with her stage name? Her father’s name was Peter Moore Smith, and her mother’s name was Anne Smith. She used both of their names to avoid offending anyone. However, the actress claims she exclusively uses Julianne Moore for business purposes, and everyone calls her Julie. So, if you’re ever fortunate enough to befriend her, keep in mind that her name is Julie.
Katy Perry | Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson
With its daring and catchy tunes, Katy Perry’s music investments have defined the last two decades. She made her in the music industry at the turn of the century with the release of Katy Hudson, a Christian rock album. However, seven years later, she released One of the Boys. She’s also had sold-out world tours, six studio albums, two documentaries on her incredible tour life, and performed as a judge on American Idol. However, some fans are unaware that her stage name is not her actual name, and now you ask, how did Perry come up with that moniker?
Perry’s real name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, but she chose to change her last name first because she was scared her name was too close to that of well-known actress Kate Hudson. She opted to change her name to Katheryn Perry before settling on Katy Perry. The rest, as they say, is history.
Kit Harington | Christopher Catesby Harington
The TV show Game of Thrones has produced a slew of celebrities, but Kit Harington is the most well-known. Harington earned his degree of popularity as HBO’s heroic Jon Snow. In addition to his acting career, Harington has volunteered for several humanitarian organizations.
Most Game of Thrones fans aren’t aware that Kit Harington isn’t his real first name. We’ve all been given a lie, and the actor was no exception since he didn’t learn his true name until he was 11 years old. His full name is Christopher Catesby Harington, but he didn’t know this because his family only nicknamed him Kit. However, things changed when he took a test at school and wrote his name as Kit Harington. His teachers were quick to point out that that wasn’t his name. Kit — that would have been an excellent name, but Kit Harington works.
Lady Gaga | Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Lady Gaga made a splash back in 2008 with her smash credit Just Dance. She can turn heads in a meat dress or as a red-carpet movie star, and it all seems to fit her ever-changing persona. She has experimented with several monikers for her alter identities, including Yüyi and Jo Calderone, but it’s always some form of Lady Gaga when it comes to expressing herself. One thing is sure: she is not your typical pop star as she pushes boundaries every day as if it were her work.
How did Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta transform into Lady Gaga? Her ex-boyfriend, Rob Fusari, likened her harmonies to Freddie Mercury. He started singing their hit song Radio Ga Ga to her. Fusari would sing the song every time he saw her, and he started to call her Gaga. Eventually, her friends had picked up on the moniker.
Lana Del Rey | Elizabeth Woolridge Grant
Lana Del Rey’s musical career has been one of the most fascinating in recent memory. She has proven herself through a stunning upward trajectory, from her debut album to the tremendous success of her recent investments.
Fans may not know that Lana Del Rey is not her real name. It may seem apparent — and, admittedly, many people know since she’s so outspoken about it. However, none of her three names appear in her birth name. Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was practically gone when Lana Del Rey was born. Why did she make the change, you ask? She changed her name to make her work more cohesive. She is a perfect example of how she wanted her name to represent the music she wanted to make. Del Rey is dependable, and her brand has been established for over a decade.
Lizzo – Melissa Jefferson
Born in 1988, Lizzo has been able to put together quite a successful career as a singer and rapper. Besides singing and other lyrical skills, she’s also an exceptional songwriter and flutist. Interestingly, her real name is Melissa Jefferson, which she coined after forming a rap group together with her classmates at the age of 14 years old. You could say that this young music star was destined for greatness right from the start!
According to an interview, Lizzo’s friends shortened her first name thus initially giving her the nickname Lissa. However, she changed it to Lizzo due to the popularity of Jay-Z’s song titled “Izzo” at the time. With this in mind, we’ll give credit to Jay-Z as he directly influenced a young girl to follow in his footsteps and become successful in the music and entertainment industry.
Lil Nas X – Montero Lamar Hill
Lil Nas X is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable artists in the music industry today. Interestingly, his stage name “Lil Nas X” has been his internet alias for quite some time now. He says that the X wasn’t initially included, and he chose Lil Nas just because other rapper in the music business had a name that started with “Lil.” Eventually, Lil Nas X followed suit, and he eventually stuck with the name.
In case you’re wondering, Lil Nas X’s real name is Montero Lamar Hill. Another interesting fact about Montero’s stage name is that he decided to add the X after he felt like taking the music business more seriously. He also felt that he was able to achieve a particular degree of success and fame, and adding an “X” to “Lil Nas” would make him more memorable to his fans.
Ludacris – Christopher Brian Bridges
Ludacris has unquestionably been one of the most recognizable celebrities over the past couple of decades. Interestingly, Luda’s real name is Christopher Brian Bridges, and Christopher has certainly been able to make a successful career for himself. Bridges isn’t just known for his success as a hiphop star, but he’s also well-known as an actor, appearing in numerous films, including in the critically acclaimed Fast & Furious franchise.
When it comes to talking about his stage name, Bridges says that he likes to treat his stage name as his split personality. Interestingly, the nickname “Ludacris” was just something he made up, and he felt like the nickname had an unbeatable degree of calmness and coolness to it. This nickname isn’t the only nickname that Bridges has had throughout his career. Before he started rapping, he was known as “Chris Luva Luva.”
Lorde – Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor
Lorde is one of the most celebrated artists in the music industry today, and her real name is quite a long one. This music star’s real name is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, and it comes from her Croatian and Irish descent. Interestingly, she goes by the nickname “Ella” whenever she’s with her friends, and that “Lorde” was just something she thought of as a cool stage name. In addition, she also says that her stage name is meant for theatrical purposes only and it doesn’t have any religious connotations.
This music superstar details that she had already thought of the stage name “Lorde” during her younger years. She thought that it had the perfect degree of rad and masculinity, and it’s a stage name that was inspired by royals and aristocracy. Furthermore, the only reason why her stage name has an “e” is because she wanted to add a feminine touch to it.
Maisie Williams – Margaret Constance Williams
Everyone who’s an avid fan of Game of Thrones certainly knows who Maisie Williams is. Interestingly, her real name isn’t Arya Stark, instead it’s Margaret Constance Williams. Margaret is the youngest of four children, and she said that her nickname originated from a newspaper cartoon strip called The Perishers.
Today, Williams is still 25 years of age, yet she’s already achieved a ton of success as an actress. She’s already been able to receive numerous recognitions for her credit role as Arya Stark, and some of her accolades includes two nominations for a Primetime Emmy. Besides Game of Thrones, Williams also appeared in a good number of films such as Doctor Who, Cyberbully, iBoy, and many more. As she’s still in her mid-20’s, we’re incredibly excited to watch her continue to evolve as a well-known actress and as a person.
Macklemore – Benjamin Haggerty
There’s no doubt that Macklemore is one of the biggest superstars in the music industry today. Macklemore’s real name is Benjamin Haggerty, and interestingly, he came up with his stage name for his high school art project. The challenge was to come up with a superhero name, and Haggerty thought that the nickname “Macklemore” had a ton of potential. The name certainly realized its potential, but not as a superhero, instead as a successful rapper.
Another interesting fact about Haggerty is that his name wasn’t the only stage name he’s had in his career. Upon releasing his first EP back in 2000, he went by the name “Professor Macklemore.” It’s not clear why he initially added “Professor” into his current stage name back then, but it’s certainly a good start. Today, he easily takes credit as one of the most successful artists, and he’s been able to win several music awards.
Meatloaf – Marvin Lee Aday
Meat Loaf is an incredibly successful American singer, and he’s known for his powerful, wide-ranging voice. His real name is Marvin Lee Aday, and there’s certainly no question that there’s a certain degree of intrigue in his nickname. According to him, his nickname was indirectly given to him back in eighth grade by his football coach after stepping on his foot. According to him, his coach wasn’t pleased with all, and he called him a “hunk of meatloaf.”
The nickname eventually stuck with him, and he went on to put together an incredibly successful music career. Aday is currently on the list of best-selling music artists, and he’s released iconic albums such as Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell: Back into Hell. Moreover, Bat Out of Hell stayed on the music charts for over nine years, and it still sells around 200,000 copies annually.
Meryl Streep – Mary Louise Streep
One could argue that Meryl Streep is one of the most legendary actresses of all time, and interestingly, she isn’t the only one named “Meryl” in her family. This Oscar-winning actress’s grandmother and mother were also both named Meryl. However, Meryl Streep is just her stage name, and her real name is actually Mary Louise Streep.
As an actress in the film industry, Streep has been able to receive several accolades and achievements throughout her tenured career. Some of her achievements as an actress include over 21 Academy nominations, winning three of them, and a whopping 32 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight of them. She may share the same name with her mother and grandmother, but there’s absolutely no doubt who takes the credit not just as the best actress in the family, but in the entire history of Hollywood.
Meg Ryan – Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra
Meg Ryan was born in a small town in Fairfield, Connecticut to her parents named Susan Jordan and Harry Hyra. Her real name is Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra, and you could say that she’s one of the celebrities with the longest name. Interestingly, Margaret changed her name to “Meg Ryan” after dropping out of New York University. She dropped out with only one semester before acquiring her degree just to pursue a career as an actress.
You could say that Ryan’s decision to drop out of college paid off for her in the long run. She’s certainly been able to put together a successful career for herself which is filled with countless film appearances and awards. Some of Ryan’s most notable film appearances came in romantic comedies such as French Kiss, Kate & Leopold, You’ve Got Mail, and many, many more.
Michael Keaton – Michael John Douglas
Michael Keaton is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He holds acting credits in numerous Hollywood classics, including in the 1989 film Batman. Besides Batman, the actor also appeared in other films, including films such as Herbie Fully Loaded, The Other Guys, Jacky Brown, and many, many more. Accordingly, this Hollywood great has also won several awards as an actor, including an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
It’s definitely interesting to learn that Keaton’s real name is Michael John Douglas. He details that he decided to change his name early in his acting career in order to avoid being confused with another actor named Michael Douglas. The name change has certainly allowed him to avoid that confusion, and it’s one that allowed him to cement his name as one of the greatest actors in the entertainment business.
Michael Caine – Maurice Joseph Micklewhite
There’s no question that Michael Caine has been one of the most beloved actors in the film industry for several decades. As an actor, Caine has been able to appear in several films throughout his career, including Interstellar, the Dark Knight trilogy, Now You See Me, and many, many more. In fact, Caine holds over 160 acting credits in his career, and he has been able to put together a successful career that’s now spanned for over seven decades.
Caine was born back in March of 1933, and his birth name was Maurice Joseph Micklewhite. He then re-named himself after Humphrey Bogart’s character in the iconic film The Caine Mutiny. Caine details that he considered Bogart as his hero, and naming something that pays homage to him was something he was willing to do as a fan.
Miley Cyrus – Destiny Hope Cyrus
It goes without saying that Miley Cyrus is probably one of the most famous celebrities today. She is an incredibly talented singer, songwriter, and she’s also a well-established actress. As a musician, she’s been able to combine various genres and mix them all into her own style. As a result, it doesn’t surprise us that she’s been able to attain the most top-five albums in the US Billboard 200 by a female artist.
What’s interesting is that the name “Miley Cyrus” is just her stage name. She goes by Destiny Hope Cyrus in real life, and you might be wondering how it relates to the name “Miley.” Interestingly, the name “Miley” originated from the nickname “Smiley,” which was given to her by her father in order to match her cheery persona. “Smiley” eventually got shortened to some degree, and she was able to use it to jumpstart her successful career in entertainment.
Mindy Kaling – Vera Mindy Chokalingam
Mindy Kaling is an incredibly talented actress, and she’s best known for her credit role as “Kelly Kapoor” in the iconic NBC sitcom The Office. Besides The Office, Kaling has also appaeared in other television shows such as The Mindy Project, Champions, Never Have I Ever, and many more. Besides acting, Mindy is also a successful screenwriter, producer, author, and director.
Mindy’s real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam, and she details that no one has ever called her Vera. She also details that her parents drew inspiration from an ABC sitcom when they named her. She’s always been Mindy ever since, and you could say that she doesn’t find it hard to adjust whenever she’s not on set. Today, Kaling is already in her 40s, and she continues to be incredibly successful in Hollywood. We’re certainly excited to be able to watch her continue to evolve as an actress, producer, and director!
Natalie Portman – Neta-Lee Herschlag
There’s no question that Natalie Portman is one of the most decorated and most recognizable actresses in Hollywood today. She was born in Israel back in 1981 to an American mother and an Israeli father. She started acting when she was young, and since then, she’s gone on to cultivate an extensive acting career. Some of her most notable acting credits came in several films, including Star Wars Episode II, Thor, No Strings Attached, Black Swan, and many more.
It’s definitely interesting to learn that Portman’s real name is quite different from her stage name. Her real name is Neta-Lee Herschlag, and she got her last name from her father, Avner Hershlag. Interestingly, her mother is named Shelley Stevens who comes from a family of immigrants originating from Russia and Austria. As a result, Portman holds dual Israeli and American citizenship.
Mila Kunis – Milena Markovna Kunis
Anyone who’s a fan of the American sitcom That 70’s Show certainly knows who Mila Kunis is. She is a well-known American actress, and she’s best known for her credit role as “Jackie Burkhart” on the show. Besides That 70’s Show, Kunis has also been able to appear in other television shows such as Family Guy, and she’s been able to succeed as a film actress. Some of her most notable film appearances came in films such as Max Payne, The Book of Eli, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Kunis certainly had an interesting path on the way to stardom. They first moved to Los Angeles, California from Ukraine when she was only seven. Moving to Los Angeles certainly opened a lot of opportunities for the actress when it comes to acting. After being enrolled in acting classes at a young age, Kunis has been able to land role after role, and she’s been able to sustain her success as an actress.
Ne-Yo | Schaffer Chimere Smith Jr.
When it comes to contemporary R&B music, one artist comes to mind: Ne-Yo. He has pervaded the music industry back in 2004 with the song Let Me Love You. His degree of artistry impressed the head of Def Jam that they instantly collaborated with the singer. Born from a family of musicians, his consistent exposure to music piqued his interest in singing and songwriting since he was young. Before becoming a solo artist, he used to play music with his band, Envy. Unfortunately, they parted ways in 2000—this led him to pursue a solo career that would gain the singer worldwide recognition.
Born as Schaffer Chimere Smith Jr., one would likely wonder where “Ne-Yo” came from. After presenting a song he wrote, he was told by producer Deon Evans, in passing, that he was like the “Neo” of the music industry. Since then, he has used the Matrix reference as his artist name.
Nicki Minaj | Onika Tanya Maraj
Best recognized for her unusual singing voice which is often topped with aggressive, fast-flow lyrics, Nicki Minaj has attained a high degree of fame in the world of pop music. Outside of the music scene, she has established herself as an exceptional television host and an icon for women empowerment. Possessing a strong and relentless personality, the singer takes pride in her appearance by wearing radiant makeup, appalling hairstyles, and costumes that can be deemed unusual—this unique personality coupled with a powerful voice has placed her among the most notable singers in the industry.
The singer, who was born as Onika Maraj, actually detests her screen name, which was forced to her by one of the earliest production companies she signed with.
Nicolas Cage | Nicolas Kim Coppola
As one of the most famous actors to have ever stepped foot in Hollywood, it would be impossible not to know actor Nicolas Cage. Apart from being the pioneer of method acting, the 58-year-old star’s sheer versatility as an actor is seen in movies The Cotton Club, Birdy, and Moonstruck. Prior to becoming a big Hollywood star, the young Nicolas dropped out of high school to start his acting career. Among his earliest credits are in teenage movies Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Valley Girl.
Cage’s real name is Nicolas Kim Coppola, and he is related to legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. However, he decided to have his name changed to avoid hiding behind the shadow of his uncle’s fame. True enough, he had climbed the ladder of success on his own, and his most notable appearances are in movies Con Air, City of Angels, and National Treasure, among others.
Olivia Wilde | Olivia Jane Cockburn
While she is often recognized for her appearances in The O.C., The Black Donnellys, and Tron: Legacy, Olivia Wilde is also equally skilled as a producer and director. Capitalizing on her notable features—cat-like eyebrows, sleek figure, and profound voice—she has developed her acting skills that allowed her to be recognized worldwide. She has acting credits in films like Cowboys & Aliens, In Time, and People Like Us, making her prominent on the silver screen.
Originally born as Olivia Jane Cockburn, the actress has resorted to using a screen name. Coming from a family of journalists, it seemed like a no-brainer for the actress to do the same. Olivia particularly went with “Wilde” since the words of author Oscar Wilde inspired her.
Pedro Pascal | José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal
The TV series Game of Thrones is definitely a must-see for fantasy, adventure, and drama fans. Inspired by the masterpiece written by George R.R. Martin, HBO takes credit for bringing the lore to life. One of the most notable characters in the show is Oberyn Martell, portrayed by José Pascal. Aside from his aforementioned role, he has also appeared in other TV series, such as Narcos and The Mandalorian. Outside the small screen, the actor has prominent appearances in The Great Wall, Kingsman The Golden Circle, and The Equalizer 2.
Born José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal, the actor decided to have his name changed for two reasons: first, as a tribute to his deceased mother, and second, to make its pronunciation easier, especially for Americans.
Portia de Rossi | Amanda Lee Rogers
While she is often noted as Ellen DeGeneres’ wife, it is worth mentioning that Portia de Rossi is a notable actress in her own right. She has credits in the movie Sirens opposite Hugh Grant. Apart from films, the actress has also established a career on the small screen by appearing in TV movies and series, such as Too Something, Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher, Arrested Development, and Better Off Ted, among others. However, she is most famous for her role as Nelle Porter in the show Ally McBeal.
In an interview, the stellar actress disclosed the history of her name change. It occurred in 2015 after she came out as gay. Born Amanda Lee Rogers, she chose “Portia” to reference Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and “de Rossi” because it sounded glamorous.
Reese Witherspoon | Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
When a romantic comedy movie has Reese Witherspoon in it, it goes without saying that the film would be good. As one of the most recognized actresses in the industry, the 46-year-old star learned the craft during her teenage years. While she is a versatile actress, her fame was catalyzed by romcoms like Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, and Four Christmases. Alternatively, she has also delivered breathtaking performances in drama films like Walk the Line, Wild, and Vanity Fair.
Outside of the entertainment industry, Witherspoon uses the degree of her influence to advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Another fact about this actress is that she uses her mother’s maiden name as her first name. She was born Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon before people started to know her by her name today.
Rihanna | Robyn Rihanna Fenty
Without Rihanna, humanity would not be blessed with chart-topping hits such as Pon de Replay, SOS, Umbrella, and Take a Bow. Having sold more than 40 million albums and 150 million tracks worldwide, the artist has achieved a high degree of success while still in the prime of her youth. However, behind her superb achievements, the pop star’s roots were quite unfortunate. It was through music that she was able to cope with her problems. During her high school days, she started a musical group that producer Evan Rodgers eventually discovered.
Rihanna is actually the singer’s middle name. In a 2011 interview, she seemed to be dazed when people called her by her screen name. “When I hear Robyn, I pay attention,” the actress revealed.
Snoop Dogg | Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.
The 1990s has seen the meteoric rise of rappers like Snoop Dogg. Born as Calvin Broadus, Jr., his mother often joked that he looked similar to the iconic Peanuts, the dog in Snoopy, growing up. As a misplaced teenager, the media personality experienced a series of unfortunate circumstances in life. These negative experiences served as the foundation of the rapper’s music, eventually attaining a degree of success. Snoop Dogg went into the limelight with the help of rapper Dr. Dre, who produced his debut album Doggystyle. His artistry was emphasized in tracks like Who Am I? and Gin and Juice. Snoop Dogg has dropped more albums throughout the years and has even appeared in several movies and made a number of TV guestings.
Spike Jonze | Adam Spiegel
Born Adam Spiegel, Spike Jonze has established his foothold in Hollywood as a remarkable director, producer, musician, photographer, and actor. He started taking photos of BMX riders and skateboarders for extreme sports magazines. Subsequently, he ventured into filmmaking; focusing on skateboarding films. Later on, he received credits for the 1991 compilation of videos, Videos Days. Jonze’s unique eye for angles and details paved the way for numerous music video collaborations with bands such as Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, and Weezer. In the latter part of his career, he parlayed his success into directing films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Her.
When asked why the filmmaker changed his name, he revealed that his former co-workers at a BMX store noted that he would “come to work without showering,” leaving his hair sticking up; thus, Spike.
The Weeknd | Abel Makkonen Tesfaye
With over a billion viewers worldwide, The Weeknd had most likely got lucky when he decided to post his songs on YouTube. The singer commenced his career by releasing free mixtapes entitled House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, leading to the formation of a loyal fan base worldwide. Growing up as a shy and insecure child, the singer trained himself to veer away from any degree of publicity early in his career. As his songs were gradually brought to the limelight, he began to confront his insecurities. He now has notable collaborations with prominent personalities like Kanye West, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake.
Many might be wondering where the singer’s screen name originated. Born as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, the record producer used to dislike his name since it reminded him of his absent father—he left home one weekend, which gave birth to his moniker.
Tom Hardy | Edward Thomas Hardy
Tom Hardy is best recognized for his degree of artistry in movies such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception, and The Revenant, capitalizing on his sharp looks, distinctive personality, and intellectual performances in independent and mainstream films. The actor discovered his love for acting during his teenage years. Unfortunately, a few obstacles hindered him from pursuing his dreams. Eventually, he improved himself and debuted on the TV show Band of Brothers and the movie Black Hawk Down. He had subsequent appearances in TV shows such as The Virgin Queen, Wuthering Heights, and Peaky Blinders.
Since he was named after his novelist father—Edward—the former model wanted to detach himself from him. Since then, he has used his middle name and made it a little hip.
Vin Diesel | Mark Sinclair
Despite the array of roles that Vin Diesel takes credit for, he is synonymous with his portrayal of Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious franchise. Since he was a teenager, he had been drawn to the ins and outs of acting; he was often involved with a theater in New York. He developed himself further by studying creative writing in college, which fuelled his desire to write screenplays. He debuted in the film industry in the movie Multi-Facial which he wrote, directed, acted in, and produced. However, his breakthrough came in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan before becoming a household name.
In an interview with Conan O’ Brien, the actor disclosed the history of his screen name. Originally born as Mark Sinclair, “Vin” is derived from his step-father’s last name, Irving Vincent, while “Diesel” was a nickname given to him by friends because of his overwhelming energy.
Whoopi Goldberg | Caryn Elaine Johnson
Whoopi Goldberg is among the black actresses in Hollywood who has had a stellar career. She is an exceptional actress among the few celebrities recognized by the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. She is set apart from her contemporaries. Her degree of success is overwhelming in almost all forms of entertainment. Goldberg has been lauded as a comedian, actress, singer-songwriter, author, and talk show host for over three decades.
During the prime of her career, it can’t be denied that her schedule was always cramped. In an interview, Goldberg shared the struggles of being a stage performer and not having time to go to the bathroom. “You are like a whoopee cushion,” people told her. The trapped gas in her stomach eventually became her nickname.
Jennifer Aniston | Jennifer Joanna Aniston
Apart from being one of the most recognized celebrities in Hollywood, Jennifer Aniston is a noteworthy film producer, investor, and philanthropist. However, success did not come easy for her; it took over six years of hard work before she got the credit for Rachel Green in the critically-acclaimed sitcom Friends. The said role catalyzed her success as a celebrity. Her succeeding role was as an unglamorous cashier attendant in the TV series Good Girl which redefined her image. Outside of the entertainment industry, Aniston has poured investments into her own perfume line and advocates for the rights of the LGBT community.
If the actress’ father hadn’t decided to change his last name, Anistassakis, to Aniston, she would be presently known as Jennifer Anistassakis, which does not seem to sound right. However, she was born Jennifer Joanna Aniston.
Shania Twain |Eileen ReginaEdwards
For many country music fans, Shania Twain is pretty much a legend. Throughout her almost 40-year career, she has sold more than 100 million copies and won countless awards. This makes her one of the most successful music artists of all time. Among her iconic songs include Man! I Feel Like a Woman!, Ka-Ching!, and Any Man of Mine.
Even though she has achieved global success for decades, many people may not know that her name is not even her real name. Her well-known name is just a stage name, and the real one is Eileen Regina Edwards. According to her, she credits her name to her grandmother, who was also named Eileen. Eventually, when she started her music career during the 1980s, she adopted the name Shania because she did not want to be called her grandma’s name onstage. She took the name from a person she met named Shania.
Jimmy Nail |James Michael Aloysius Bradford
Many can remember Jimmy Nail back in the 1990s, thanks to his credit role as Agustin in the movie Evita. His performance in the film gained him international renown. Prior to that, he became well-known for his role as Oz in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Aside from acting, Nail has a successful music career, with his most famous song being Ain’t No Doubt, released in 1992 and became a number-one single at the time.
While many know him through his current name, his real name is much longer. His real name is James Michael Aloysius Bradford. Given that his full name is quite a mouthful, it is pretty much a given that he had to adopt a much shorter name. He got his last name, Nail, from an incident involving a spike while working at a glass factory in the past.
Calvin Harris |Adam Richard Wiles
Calvin Harris gets credits as one of the most well-known DJs since the 2010s. Initially recording music from his bedroom while saving a large amount of money for his equipment, he became quite popular on MySpace, thanks to the various songs he uploaded on his account. He got his big break when he released his debut album, I Created Disco, in 2007. His succeeding albums became widely successful. His third LP, 18 Months, is regarded as his most successful and one of the most commonly known EDM albums out there.
While many know him as Calvin Harris, it may surprise some that his real name is actually Adam Richard Wiles. He started using his current name while creating his first singletrack. According to him, the track was quite similar to soul music, and he chose Calvin Harris because the name sounded quite racially ambiguous.
Hulk Hogan |Terry Jean Bollea
If one name among wrestling stars stands out, it is certain to be Hulk Hogan. Throughout his career, he has been pretty much synonymous with wrestling. He gets credits for making wrestling quite popular in the US during the 1980s. When he became affiliated with WWF, now known as WWE, he became the face of the brand and has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Aside from wrestling, he has established a successful acting career, with appearances in Rocky III, Mr. Nanny, and No Holds Barred.
Even though many people know him as Hulk Hogan, it is clear that it is not his real name. His real name is Terry Jean Bollea, and like many wrestlers, he adopted the name Hulk Hogan as his career name. His name has two origins. Hulk’s name came when he was interviewed along with Lou Ferrigno, who is famous for portraying Hulk, and it was remarked that he was larger than Ferrigno. The name Hogan came from Vince McMahon Sr. after asking the wrestler to take on an Irish personality in 1979.
Judy Garland |Frances EthelGumm
Regarded as one of the most legendary actresses in Hollywood, Judy Garland left a big mark in the history of acting, thanks to her sheer versatility and raw talent. Many know her for her credit as Dorothy Gale in the iconic movie The Wizard of Oz. Her movie performance, especially her song Over the Rainbow, won her an Oscar and cemented her status as a legend. Aside from that, her notable performances include A Star Is Born, Judgment at Nuremberg, and Meet Me in St. Louis.
Despite many people knowing her as Judy Garland, this was not the legendary actress’s name. Her real name was Frances Ethel Gumm. She and her two elder sisters started using Garland as their stage surname when they began their careers in the 1930s. Many theories have emerged about the name’s origins, including deriving from the word garland. What is certain, however, is that the actress’s stage first name came from a popular song by Hoagy Carmichael.
Helen Mirren |Ilynea Lydia Mironoff
Helen Mirren has been one of the most accomplished actresses of all time, with massive success and renown in her native Britain and America. She is well-known for her performances in The Queen, The Last Station, and The Madness of King George. While she has defined herself in award-winning roles, she is no stranger to taking more mainstream roles. These credits include Hobbs & Shaw, Red, and The Fate of the Furious. She is the only actress to have ever won the Triple Crown of Acting throughout her career in both Britain and America.
While many know her by her current name, this was not her original one. The actress was born Ilynea Lydia Mironoff to an English mother and a Russian father. She is a descendant of Russian nobility from her father’s side but found themselves in exile after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Her family changed the surname from Mironoff to Mirren through deed poll, possibly as a way to Anglicize their name.
Stormzy |Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr.
After starting on YouTube, Stormzy has been seeing massive success in recent years. His song Shut Up was first released on YouTube and eventually released as a single and reached the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart in 2015. He became closely associated with the grime genre, especially in 2017, with his album Gang Signs & Prayer. He achieved his number one single with Vossi Pop in 2019.
While many know him by his stage name, it is clear that it is not his real name. His name when he is away from the stage and cameras is Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. He was born to parents who originally came from Ghana. While he has not shared where his name came from, it is certain that he started using it to credit his works on in Britain’s underground music scene.
Stevie Wonder |Stevland Hardaway Morris
Among the list of trailblazers in music, Stevie Wonder is pretty much very high on any list. He can be given a lot of credit for pioneering and influencing a lot of genres over the years, including pop, R&B, and jazz. Already a child prodigy, he is regarded by many as a one-man band, despite his blindness. His most iconic songs include Fingertips, Ebony and Ivory, and Superstition. Over the years, he has collaborated with several musicians, including Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and Babyface.
While many have known him as Stevie Wonder, it can be quite a surprise to learn that the man’s real name is Steveland Judkins. During childhood, Wonder dropped Judkins as a surname and replaced it with Morris because his mother changed it. Thanks to producer Clarence Paul, he acquired his well-known name, as he caused to call him Little Stevie Wonder.
Bruce Willis | Walter Bruce Willis
While he has unfortunately announced his retirement from acting recently, it is no denying that Bruce Willis has been one of the most talented actors of his generation. He first became well-known throughout the 1980s, thanks to his role in Moonlighting and his iconic character of John McClane in the Die Hard movie series. He found greater success by the turn of the 1990s, with his roles in The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, and The Fifth Element, making him a fixture of popular culture in the succeeding years.
While audiences and fans know him as Bruce Willis, his name is different. His full name is Walter Bruce Willis. He started using his current name by dropping Walter from his name when he began his career. During childhood, he was nicknamed Buck-Buck by his schoolmates due to his stutter. His venture into acting can get credits for reducing much of his stutter.
Meghan Markle |Rachel Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle has been quite well-known to many today for being the wife of Prince Harry. She was a former actress who made a name in the TV series Suits, where she played Rachel Zane. In addition, she established a large social media presence and had investments in fashion. She became associated with Prince Harry in 2016. A year after their engagement, the two quickly became a sensation. Their 2018 marriage was one of the most viewed marriages of all time. Despite largely stepping back from official royal duties, the two are still largely followed by the media.
While Markle now goes by her title of the Duchess of Sussex, her real name is Rachel Meghan Markle. She was born with the name in 1981 but only used her second and last name in her professional career. Coincidentally, her character Rachel in Suits shares her first name.
Cilla Black |Priscilla Maria Veronica White
Cillia Black had a successful career in music and TV. She started singing in 1963, with the singles You’re My World and Anyone Who Had a Heart. These songs reached number one in Britain in 1964. She then ventured into TV, hosting her own show from 1968 to 1976. She then established herself as a TV presenter in her later years, with her most notable shows being The Moment of Truth, Surprise Surprise, and Blind Date. In 2013, she marked her 50 years in the industry on a one-off entertainment special.
While many got to know her as Cilla Black, her professional name came about due to a mistake. Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White, she used her real name early on in her career. However, an article in the Liverpool newspaper Mersey Beat mistakenly called her Cilla Black. Despite the error, she eventually took on the name and gave credit to the newspaper for her stage name.
Tom Jones |Thomas Jones Woodward
Tom Jones has achieved success in his career of nearly 60 years. Noted for his robust baritone voice, he found success after success during the mid-1960s with a starting of top 10 hits. He has been noted for being quite flexible in performing, having performed in various genres over the years. Aside from music, he has occasionally dabbled into acting, with his first acting credit being Pleasure Cove in 1979. He got a Golden Globe nomination in 1970 for his hosting of This is Tom Jones. Currently, he is known as a judge and coach on The Voice UK.
Though many know him as Tom Jones, his real name is Thomas Jones Woodward. He started using Tom Jones when he began his career in the 1960s. However, he still retains his real name, as indicated by his two children, who inherited his surname.
Denise Welch |Jacqueline Denise Welch
Denise Welch has found success as a TV personality for decades. Many know her for her roles as Natalie Barnes on Coronation Street, Trish Minniver in Hollyoaks, and Steph Haydock in Waterloo Road. In addition to her numerous acting credits, she has appeared in many TV shows either as a host or panelist. She has been a staple panelist on the chat show Loose Women since 2005. Currently, she has been presenting the show British Adventures since 2021. Outside of her career, she has been quite vocal about her personal life and has supported various causes, including women’s rights and mental health awareness.
While many may know her as Denise Welch, her full name is Jacqueline Denise Welch. She perhaps started to use her current name by dropping Jacqueline from her name when she began her career during the 1980s.
Rylan Clark-Neal |Ross Richard Clark
Many know Rylan Clark-Neal through his participation in The X-Factor. He joined the show during its ninth season and finished fifth place overall. Banking on this success, he started appearing in numerous TV shows in Britain. Notably, he appeared in the 11th season of Celebrity Big Brother and The Xtra Factor. In addition, he has some hosting credits, having hosted Supermarket Sweep and Ready Steady Cook. Currently, he hosts the shows aired on BBC and ITV.
While many know him as Rylan, this is not his real name. The TV personality was born Ross Richard Clark. He started using Rylan, thanks to a search of baby names via the R section at WH Smiths. However, Clark-Neal is not a stranger to unique names. In his early years, he went by the name Kielan while modeling. Apparently, he likes to add another unique name in the future.
Liam Gallagher |William John Paul Gallagher
Liam Gallagher may have a very polarizing reputation among many, but it is undeniable that he has been quite successful in his music career. He is known for being the lead vocalist of the rock band Oasis from 1991 until 2009. After leaving the group, he fronted Beady Eye from 2009 to 2014. In recent years, he began his solo career. While his talent is not doubted, his brash and abrasive personality can get credit for his turbulent public image during the 1990s and 2000s.
While many know him for his stage name, his full name is William John Paul Gallagher. His first name is a shortened form of William and is quite common in Ireland. Ever the abrasive one, he responded to fans who only knew about his full name for the first time in nearly all-caps.
Sting | Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner
Famous for being an English musician, Sting, whose real name is Goron Matthew Thomas Sumner, is also an actor and a singer. He was the frontman, basis, and songwriter for the rock band Police. This gig lasted from 1977 to 1984. At this point, he realized he could launch his own career, which he did in 1985. He combined worldbeat, reggae, new-age, rock, and jazz elements in his music. Sting is a multi-awarded singer, having received 17 Grammy Awards. He even won Song of the Year.
Among his other accomplishments is receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As part of Police and as a solo musician, Sting sold more than 100 million records. That made him one of the richest and most influential musicians. The singer also gets credit for introducing the North African music genre raï to Western audiences through the popular song Desert Rose. He collaborated on this song with Cheb Mami.
Tess Daly | Helen Elizabeth Daly
Who knew that eating at a McDonald’s could lead to having a contract in modeling? That is what happened to Tess Daly, born Helen Elizabeth Daly, who was eating at the fast-food restaurant while waiting for her sister from Manchester. When she started modelling, there was already someone named Helen Daly, so her handlers asked her to reconsider her name. They were inspired by the name “Tess” from the movie of the same name, and so they decided to have Daly adopt the name.
After she became of legal age, she made her modeling debut in Tokyo. She later shifted gears and became a TV presenter—also almost by coincidence. She was in New York when a friend asked her to interview the celebrity attendees. She eventually sent a video reel to one of the networks, which jump-started her career on TV. Daly is currently given credit for hosting the dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.
Robson Green | Robson Golightly Green
Robson Green has been using his name and has not changed a thing—except for not adding his middle name, “Golightly,” in his screen name. Lawyers checking the Registry of Deeds in the UK could not find a name change but would probably find it funny that his middle name is Golightly. Yes, don’t go heavy on him; tread lightly. For sure, it can be a good conversation starter. Apart from his name, Green can also talk about his career as a presenter, actor, and singer-songwriter.
As an actor, he played the character Dr. Tony Hill in the drama series Wire in the Blood. Earlier, he also appeared as Jimmy Powell in the BBC drama show, Casualty. Green is a man of vocal political stands, and one of them is that he favors taxing the rich more, which can be a controversial point of discussion. Another topic that could start some rather passionate talks is him being a fan of the Newcastle United FC.
Natalie Wood | Natalie Zacharenko
Having been nominated for the Academy Awards three times, Natalie Wood was certainly one of Hollywood’s most-remembered names. Add four Golden Globes to that, and she was able to cement her legacy. Interestingly, her real name is not even Wood, but rather Natalie Zacharenko, of Russian descent. She started acting when she was just four years old, and by the time she was 8, she was given a co-starring role in Miracle on 34th Street way back in 1947. Critics said that her movies were coming out both for the actress and Hollywood cinema in general to a great degree. She was one of the few who took both child roles and women roles later on.
In the 1970s, Wood went on a hiatus to start building a family. She then had two daughters. The actress had a relationship with several men, including Jerry Brown, who later became California’s governor. FBI Agent Donald Wilson also revealed in 2013 that he and Wood were together for four years.
Audrey Hepburn | Audrey Kathleen Ruston
Classical Hollywood cinema would not be complete without the mention of Audrey Hepburn. She was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston. She had several name changes, and mainly these were done to protect her from harm. At one time, she was also called Edda Van Heemstra when attending school in Holland to hide her British roots, which could mean danger at the time.
Hepburn had been given due credit as both a fashion and film icon as a career woman. Many women, even from contemporary times, admire her beauty. The American Film Institute even ranked her as the third-best female screen legend. Some of her iconic films were Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady. Her excellent acting performances earned her three BAFTA Awards, a Special Tony Award and Academy Award, among others. The actress entered semi-retirement after 1967 and only appeared intermittently in the following decades before passing away in 1993.
Woody Allen | Allan Stewart Konigsberg
With multiple Academy Award wins and a career that spans more than six decades, we can confidently say that Woody Allen is a great Hollywood celebrity. He is a film director, actor, writer, and comedian who was known as Allan Stewart Konigsberg in his early days. He started his career in the 1950s writing for TV programs. When he performed as a comedian in the 1960s, he worked with other great ones like Elaine May, Joan Rivers, and Lenny Bruce.
Towards the mid-1960s, the actor started writing, focusing on slapstick comedy. One interesting fact about Allen is that in 1979, he started a relationship with Mia Farrow. Over the next decade of their partnership, they not only made investments in each other’s personal lives but also professionally, as they collaborated on 13 movies altogether. In more recent times, it was announced in 2020 that Grand Central Publishing would release Allen’s autobiography.
Chevy Chase | Cornelius Crane Chase
The name Cornelius brings back memories of an incompetent, power-hungry minister for Magic, right? Well, how about the name Cornelius Crane Chase? You probably would be surprised that this is the real name of Chevy Chase, a prominent actor, comedian, and writer. He started acting in National Lampoon and became a key cast member for Saturday Night Live. Chase was the one in charge of the Weekend Update segment of SNL.
Moving on from SNL, he appeared in a number of films, including his first leading role in Foul Play. His performance earned him two Golden Globe nominations. Speaking of that, Chase has hosted the Academy Awards twice. He even had his own talk show for a little bit of time in 1993. As a famous person, he likely has a good home security system, especially since Chase is known for having minor disagreements with other people.
Alan Alda | Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo
Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo is quite a mouthful, right? This is probably one reason why Alan Alda changed his name, taking the first two letters of each of his first and last names to be his new last name. That unique and easy-to-remember name has made numerous accomplishments in Hollywood. Alda has received critical recognition for performances in Same Time, Next Year, Flirting with Disaster, and Marriage Story.
While he has been the recipient of many acting awards, those are not the only types of recognition he got. He also received several honorary degrees from Fordham University, Long Island University, and Stony Brook University. These awards point to Alda being a respected member of the community that the academe has recognized. He has been known to promote various educational initiatives as well.