These Celebrities Don’t Use Their Real Names
1 Reese Whiterspoon
Her real name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon.
She chose the first name Reese because it is, in fact, her mother’s maiden name.
2 Whoopi Goldberg
Her real name is Caryn Johnson.
During her appearance on the set of The Graham Norton Show, the actress explained, “No one christened me that. I am Karen, but I was a bit of a farter. […] The theatres I was performing in were very small so if you were gassy you had to walk away farting and people would say I was like a Whoopee cushion. I was sometimes quite noisy, never offensive.”
3 Emma Stone
Her real name is Emily Jean Stone.
The actress explained to W Magazine that when she entered showbiz at the age of 16, she had to change her first name because there was already an Emily Stone in Hollywood.
4 Gigi Hadid
Her real name is Jelena Noura Hadid.
Hadid recounts that as a child, her mother was nicknamed Gigi by her close family, and so was the model when she was young. Then she explained, “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.”
5 Lana Del Rey
Her real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant.
Lana Del Rey is the alter ego that the singer created at the age of 25 for the release of her feature debut album.
6 Spike Lee
His real name is Shelton Lee.
The director chose that first name because apparently, he was a tough baby, so his mother nicknamed him Spike and it stuck.
7 Marilyn Monroe
Her real name is Norma Jeane Mortenson.
The legendary singer chose the surname Monroe because it was an existing name in her mother’s family, and 20th Century Fox Studio suggested Marilyn as a first name because she reminded him of the 1920s Broadway star Marilyn Miller.
8 Joaquin Phoenix
His real name is Joaquín Rafael Bottom.
In his early years, the actor lived with his family in a religious cult called Children of God, hence his surname Bottom. When his parents decided to leave this group, they chose Phoenix as their new family surname.
9 Kit Harington
His real name is Christopher Catesby Harington.
The actor revealed to Glamour that he learned that his real name was actually Christopher only at the age of 11. He explained, “I think they could see that I wanted to be Kit, but Christopher was a bit of a tradition. […] 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.”
Her real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
The singer chose this first name because she is so used to hearing her middle name that she hardly reacts to it anymore. That’s why her friends and family, when they want to get her attention, still call her by her first name, Robyn.
11 Demi Moore
Her real name is Deme Gene Guynes.
When the actress was only 17, she married rock musician Freddy Moore, taking his last name. After their divorce four and a half years later, she decided to keep this name as her stage name.
12 Brad Pitt
His real name is William Bradley Pitt.
The iconic actor prefers to use his middle name in the showbiz world, but according to Page Six, he would present himself under his first name William when flirting with women.
13 Alicia Keys
Her real name is Alicia Augello-Cook.
The singer told Newsweek that she wanted a last name that would be more suitable for the stage. “It’s like the piano keys. And it can open so many doors,” she explained. Keys, however, was not her first choice. She had first thought of Wild, but her mother disagreed, saying it sounded more like a stripper’s name.
14 Natalie Portman
Her real name is Neta-Lee Hershlag.
The actress, born in Israel, was given a traditional Hebrew name at birth, but upon immigrating to the United States, her family changed their last name to Portman, the maiden name of her maternal grandmother. Then Neta-Lee became Natalie.
15 Cardi B
Her real name is Belcalis Almanzar.
Cardi B is actually the short version for Bacardi, like the rum brand. She explained in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, “My sister’s name is Hennessy, so everyone used to call me Bacardi, and I started calling myself Bacardi”.
16 Helen Mirren
Her real name is Ilyena Lydia Mironoff.
In the 50s, the actress’ father decided to change their last name from Mironoff to Mirren. Helen then came as a simplified version of Ilynea when her acting career began.
17 Lady Gaga
Her real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
This stage name that the singer has chosen is inspired by Queen’s 1984 song “Radio Ga Ga”.
18 Jennifer Aniston
Her real name is Jennifer Joanna Aniston.
When she was born, the actress’ father had just adopted the surname Aniston. Originally, their family name was Anastassakis, but it was too difficult for most people to pronounce.
19 Miley Cyrus
Her real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus.
Miley comes from a nickname the singer had as a child. As the girl was always grinning, her family called her Smiley.
20 Meghan Markle
Her real name is Rachel Meghan Markle.
While the now Duchess got rid of her first name, she had to take it again for her role in the TV series Suits, which she starred in for 7 seasons.
21 The Weeknd
His real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye.
During a Reddit Ask Me Anything, he explained that he chose this name after leaving home as a teenager. He explained, “I left home when I was about 17 dropped out of high school and convinced Lamar [a member of his crew] to do the same lol. […] We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friends shitty van and left one weekend and never came back home. It was gonna be the title of HOB [House of Balloons]. I hated my name at the time though so I tried it as a stage name. It sounded cool. I took out the “e” because there was already a Canadian band named the weekend (copyright issues).”