Walk of Fame The Real Names Behind Some of the World’s Most Famous Celebrities Published 1 week ago on Oct 8, 2018 By Asher Weber Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? According to some celebrities, no, they would not. Having a unique name that stands apart from all the rest and leaves a memorable impression is very important to most celebrities. It might surprise you to find out that some of your most beloved singers and actors have changed their names. Some of them are quite obvious, but others not so much. Read on to find out the real names behind some of the world’s biggest celebs and the reason behind the change. Some of them are sure to surprise you! 1. Olivia Wilde Actress Olivia Wilde was actually born as Olivia Jane Cockburn, she comes from a large family of writers, many of whom have used pen names throughout their lives. According to Wilde, she took her last name from Irish author Oscar Wilde. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Target “Oscar Wilde is someone who I respect for so many reasons—a revolutionary, a comedian, and a profound thinker. I had all these reasons,” the actress told The Observer. But when questioned about all the puns that could be made out of her stage name, she said “Oh, I know, Born to Be Wilde! Girls Gone Wilde! I really didn’t think it through.” 2. Reese Witherspoon Guess what, Reese Witherspoon’s real name isn’t Reese! That’s actually her mother’s maiden name. The Legally Blonde actress’ full name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon. Good thing she cut it down to only two names, four would certainly be a mouthfull. Jason Merritt/Getty Images Witherspoon, who is an actress and producer, is best known for her starring roles in the movies Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions and Sweet Home Alabama, as well as the hit miniseries Big Little Lies alongside Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley. Having grown up in Nashville Tennessee, she is known for her lovable Southern charm and down to earth nature. 3. Gigi Hadid Famed supermodel Gigi Hadid isn’t actually a ‘Gigi’ at all. The name Gigi is a nickname that her mother Yolanda gave her growing up. The model’s real name is Jelena Noura Hadid. Gigi was also her mother’s nickname growing up, but she was only called that at home. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Russell James “In first or second grade, there was a girl named Helena and it got confusing with the teacher who had to call out our names, and so the teacher asked my mom, ‘If I needed to call Jelena a nickname, what would it be?’ And my mom was like, ‘I call her Gigi sometimes,’ and the name stuck,” Hadid told Vogue. 4. Meghan Markle Those of you who tuned into the royal wedding might have been surprised to find out that Meghan Markle’s name isn’t really Meghan – it’s actually her middle name. Her official first name is Rachel. So no, Prince Harry didn’t say the wrong name at the altar… Jonathan Brady – WPA Pool/Getty Images Fans of the TV show Suits will be pleasantly surprised to find out that she shares the same name as her character on the show. The Duchess of Sussex hasn’t publicly commented on why the change happened but we can only assume Meghan was the name she was called as a kid growing up. 5. Katy Perry Singer Katy Perry changed her name, but not for the reason you might think. Some people change their names to something more memorable but the I Kissed a Girl singer changed hers to avoid confusion with another person. Perry’s birth name is actually Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images In an effort to avoid being confused with actress Kate Hudson, Perry changed her last name. The surname Perry is actually her mother’s maiden name. Another thing that you might not know about the singer is that she was raised in a devout Christian household and her debut album, entitled Katy Hudson, was a gospel album. 6. Natalie Portman It might surprise you to know that Natalie Portman changed her first and last name when she got into acting. The Black Swan actress was born Neta-Lee Hershlag in June of 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel. She eventually changed her name to a less foreign-sounding Natalie Portman. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images While her first name sounds pretty similar to her birth given name, you might be wondering where her last name comes from. As it turns out, the actress’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Portman. Young Natalie started acting at the young age of 13 and debuted in the film Leon: The Professional. 7. Winona Ryder Known actress Winona Ryder’s name came from her father when she started her acting career. He named her after soul and rock singer Mitch Ryder. The Stranger Things actress’ real full name is Winona Laura Horowitz. Just like Natalie Portman, she changed her name to have a better sounding stage name. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Ryder’s family’s original last name was Tomchin, but they changed it when they moved from Russia to the United States. She began her acting career very early in her childhood, debuting in the 1986 film Lucas and moving on to star in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and the cult classic Heathers. 8. Kit Harington It’s one thing to change your name, but it’s another to not even know your real name. Kit Harington found out when he was 11-years-old that his real name was actually Christopher Catesby Harington. That probably came as a bit of a shock! Ian Gavan/Getty Images When the actor was questioned as to why his parents didn’t tell him about his real name, he replied that he didn’t have a clue. “I think they could see that I wanted to be Kit, but Christopher was a bit of a tradition,” the actor explained to the Huffington Post. “My brother’s name is Jack, but his real name is John. Kit is traditionally an offshoot of Christopher, it’s just not used that often. 9. Marilyn Monroe The blonde bombshell from the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe was neither born Marilyn nor Monroe. The pop culture icon’s real birth name is actually Norma Jeane Mortenson. However, she didn’t change her name legally until 1956 but had been going by the name since 1946. Baron/Getty Images The name was given to Monroe by one of her business associates. Monroe was her mother’s maiden name and the associate thought that Marilyn made a nice sounding contrast. He also told Monroe that two m’s were lucky. And that’s how Marilyn Monroe was created in one day. 10. Julianne Moore World-renowned actress Julianne Moore’s real name isn’t as memorable or unique as the one she made for herself. Her real name is actually Julie Anne Smith. The problem with that? There are already actresses named Julie Smith and Julie Anne Smith, so she had to come up with something else. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images “My dad’s name was Peter Moore Smith, and my mother’s name was Anne Smith, and I used both their names so I wouldn’t hurt anybody’s feelings,” the actress told the Hollywood Reporter. But according to her the name is only for business, her friends and family still call her Julie. 11. Lady Gaga Obviously, her real name isn’t Lady Gaga… But do you know what her real name is? It’s Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. So where did her stage name come from? Well, that’s a little complicated. There are actually a few different versions of how she became Lady Gaga. Stuart C/Getty Images According to Gaga herself, her music producer Rob Fusari (and boyfriend at the time) started calling her Gaga because of her style and voice. Germanotta then came up with the rest of the name herself. She says that she made the change because she wanted to reinvent herself. 12. Emma Stone Emma Stone couldn’t use her real name because it was already taken and registered with the Screen Actor’s Guild. Stone’s real name is Emily Jean Stone. She even thought about using the moniker Emily J. Stone but thought that it was a little too much like Michael J. Fox, and that she wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Ben A/Getty Images Prior to landing on the name Emma, Stone tried out the name Riley. She used the name for six whole months until one day on the set of Malcolm in the Middle someone came up to her calling her Riley and Stone had no idea who she was talking to. From that point on, Stone knew that she just couldn’t be a Riley. 13. Jamie Foxx Jamie Foxx changed his name for a very interesting reason. He wanted to be called early to the stage for his comedy routine. At the time he noticed that female comedians were being called first, so he chose a name that was gender ambiguous. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for LACMA The actor/comedian’s real name is actually Eric Marlon Bishop. He changed his last name to Foxx in homage to the actor Red Foxx (also a moniker) who is best known for his role on the 70s sitcom Sanford and Sons. 14. Prince Harry We all know him as Prince Harry, but did you know that Harry isn’t really his name? Well, now you do. His majesty’s full name is Prince Henry Charles Albert David, not a Harry in sight. But nonetheless, he goes by his nickname, Prince Harry. Ben A/Getty Images At first, he was known as Harry to his just family and friends but then slowly the name stuck with him. Pretty soon, everyone was calling him Harry. The tradition comes all the way from the medieval period when King Henry VIII went by Harry. 15. Demi Moore Actress Demi Moore is neither a Demi nor a Moore technically. She was born Demetria Gene Guynes and uses the name Demi as a shortened version of her first name. Her last name, however, was picked up from her first husband. Rich Fury/Getty Images The actress married Freddy Moore in 1980, when she was only 17 years-old and started using his last name as her stage name. The two divorced in 1984 and it was finalized in 1985. Moore kept on using the last name ever since. 16. Brad Pitt Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, Brad Pitt was born as William Bradley Pitt. For some reason William Pitt just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Brad Pitt… And neither does Bill Pitt (Bill Pitt sounds like some type of rodeo event, don’t you think?) Paul Drinkwater- NBC Universal via Getty Images Shortly after young William Bradley was born, the Pitt family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where the actor grew up. Pitt was raised in a conservative family and has a younger brother and sister. Just two weeks before completing his journalism degree at the University of Missouri he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. 17. Cardi B Rapper Cardi B has a very interesting story behind her name. She was born Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, but started going by Bacardi at a young age because her sister’s name was Hennessy. “You know what, my sister’s name is Hennessy, so everybody used to call me Bacardi,” she said Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for BET “Then it was my Instagram name, Bacardi, Bacardi B. But for some reason, my Instagram kept getting deleted, and you know what, I think it was Bacardi that had something to do with it. So I just shortened it to Cardi B.” 18. Calvin Harris World famous Scottish DJ and singer-songwriter Calvin Harris’ real name is Adam Richard Wiles. But the reason behind the change is more interesting than the name itself. He wanted his name to match the type of music he was making. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for GQ Harris’ first single was a soul track and he wanted a name that would be more racially ambiguous than Adam Wiles. “I thought people might not know if I was black or not. After that, I was stuck with it,” Harris said. 19. Rihanna Rihanna is the singer’s middle name, her full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Her close friends and family still call her Robyn. According to the singer she has become ‘numb’ to the name Rihanna and only pays attention when called Robyn. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images The name Rihanna actually means ‘sweet basil’ in Arabic. The singer was born in the island country of Barbados in the Caribbean region of North America. The Barbadian singer started singing at the young age of seven and eventually dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music. 20. Ashton Kutcher Many celebrities end up going by their middle names, whether that be out of coincidence or something else. And Ashton Kutcher is no exception, his middle name being Ashton. The change came around when the That 70s Show alum started his modeling career. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Kutcher, originally named Christopher Ashton Kutcher, was forced to change his name as there was already a Chris at the modeling agency and he wanted to avoid any confusion between the two. From then on his close friends started calling him Ash or Ashton, and the rest of the world soon followed suit. 21. Lucy Hale Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale hasn’t been truthful about her first name. It’s not really Lucy at all! Well, the actress hasn’t exactly been keeping it a secret but her real first name is Karen, which sounds nothing like Lucy. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ASPCA However, the actress’ middle name is Lucille, making her full name Karen Lucille Hale. Do you now feel like your whole life has been a pretty little lie? Apart from acting, Hale is also a singer. She grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and had to take voice lessons to get rid of her sweet Southern accent. 22. Marilyn Manson This one will be a shocker. Any idea who Brian Hugh Warner is? Well, he is better known by his stage name, Marilyn Manson (not to be confused with the cult leader Charles Manson) His stage name was created by combining two big icons of the 1960s. Danny E/Getty Images Those two big 1960s icons were none other than Marilyn Monroe and the infamous Charles Manson himself. The shock rocker’s band was originally named Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, but they eventually dropped Spooky Kids for just Marilyn Manson. 23. Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus was born Destiny Hope Cyrus, but the name didn’t last very long. Her parents named her Destiny Hope because they believed that she was destined for great things. Growing up as an infant she earned the nickname Smiley due to her pleasant demeanor and constant smiling. Alberto E/Getty Images Soon enough the ‘S’ dropped from Smiley and Cyrus became Miley, the same first name as her TV personality Miley Stewart on the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana in 2006. She then changed her middle name to Ray after her grandfather Ronald Ray Cyrus. 24. Nicki Minaj Popstar singer Nicki Minaj was born in Trinidad and Tobago as Onika Tanya Maraj. From a very young age she started going by the nickname Nicki, which is a shortened version of Onika. As far as her last name goes, she just didn’t think that Nicki Maraj popped. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for BET Eventually, someone suggested that she use Minaj instead of Maraj, a suggestion that she didn’t love at first, but eventually she came around to the idea and took it as her stage name. Minaj attended LaGuardia HS in Manhattan and after graduating started working on her acting career. Needless to say, acting didn’t quite work out as planned but she certainly found herself a place in music. 25. Bruno Mars Award-winning singer-songwriter Bruno Mars’ real name is not even close to his stage name. His real name is Peter Gene Hernandez (that certainly doesn’t have the same ring to it). You didn’t think that his last name was actually Mars, did you? Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS According to Mars, Bruno was his childhood nickname and he changed his last name to “avoid being stereotyped.” Mars’ father gave him the nickname Bruno as a child because he thought the soon-to-be hitmaker resembled the pro wrestler Bruno Sammartino. 26. John Legend Legend is a great last name for a singer, it tells your status right there in your name. But of course, that isn’t the name that he was given by his mother. Legend was born John Roger Stephens, which is, agreeably, a rather bland name. Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Gucci So why the name Legend? Well, it wasn’t actually the singer that named himself that. It was a group of his close friends. “John Legend is a nickname that some friends started calling me, and it kind of grew into my stage name,” the singer said. 27. Frank Ocean Singer-songwriter Frank Ocean changed his name completely. His real name at birth was Christopher Edwin Breaux. Ocean’s name change became legal in 2014, after reportedly being held up due to driver’s license issues. In his own words, he said that it was one of the most empowering things he did that year. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Ocean started his music career as a ghostwriter and he has said that he could have continued and lived a comfortable anonymous life, but that it wasn’t what he set out to do. “There was a point where I was composing for other people, and it might have been comfy to continue to do that and enjoy that income stream and the anonymity. But that’s not why I moved away from school and away from family,” the singer said. 28. Joaquin Phoenix Actor Joaquin Rafael Phoenix was actually known as Leaf Phoenix up until the age of 15. He changed his own name out of a desire to have a nature-related name like his siblings, though Joaquin was his birth-given name. Also, his last name wasn’t always Phoenix, it was actually Bottom. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Phoenix’s mother changed their last name after leaving the religious cult, the Children of God in the 70s. The name was used to symbolize their rebirth from the ashes and a new beginning, just like the mythical phoenix. Phoenix made his acting debut on the TV series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, alongside his brother River. 29. Michael Caine James Bond actor Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite and later in his life he legally changed his name for a very simple reason. He kept getting held up at airport security. According to the actor himself, security would recognize him as Michael Caine, but he would then hand them a passport with a different name. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images The differently named passport would lead Caine to all types of security checks and questions. Generally resulting in being delayed for an hour just trying to get to his gate. So, he legally changed his name to match his moniker. 30. Lorde Yes, we all can figure out that Lorde is certainly not the singer’s real name. The New Zealand singer’s birth name is Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Conner. What a mouthful! She is of Irish and Croatian ancestry, and is a citizen of both New Zealand and Croatia. Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella According to the pop singer, the reason behind the change was inspired by her love of royals and aristocracy. At first she thought about going with the name ‘Lord’ but felt that it was too masculine for her image. So she added an ‘E’ at the end to make it more feminine. Source: elle.com Next: 5 Game of Thrones Fan Theories You Need to Know Before Season 8... 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