20 Celebrities Who Don't Use Their Real Name (And For Good Reason)

When it comes to being a celebrity, there are certain standards that they must adhere to in order to become one of the greats. Meaning, they must change certain aspects of themselves to do this such as their look, their style or even their name.

Almost everyone in Hollywood has changed a part of their name, either because another celebrity has the same exact name, or they don’t want to be associated with a famous relative, or they feel their normal name is boring, too long, or hard to pronounce so they change it.

Regardless of why they do it, the point is that there are tons of actors, actresses, singers and other musicians over in Hollywood who are using stage names. Here are 20 of them…

20 Michael Keaton Changed His Name Because There Was An Actor Already With His Name

The Independent

When Michael Keaton decided he wanted to be an actor, he had no choice but to change his real name.

According to cheatsheet.com, Michael’s real name is Michael Douglas and since there was already an established actor with the name Michael Douglas and Keaton was up and coming, he was the one who had to change.

19 Nicolas Cage Wanted To Avoid Anyone Comparing Him To His Famous Uncle

Slash Film

Nicolas Cage changed his name in order to avoid being compared to his famous uncle who is a director.

According to cheatsheet.com, his real name is Nicolas Kim Coppola, while his uncle’s name is Francis Ford Coppola. Thankfully the change worked for him and very few people know that the two are even related.

18 Oprah Winfrey Changed Her Name Because No One Could Pronounce Her First Name


It’s hard to believe that the iconic Oprah Winfrey is using a fake name. But, to be fair, her real name isn’t that far off.

According to cheatsheet.com, Oprah was originally born Orpah. Many people had a hard time pronouncing it though and would just say “Oprah.” Eventually, the name stuck.

17 Jamie Foxx Changed His Name To A Unisex Name To Help With Popularity


Jamie Foxx actually made up both his first name and last name.

According to cheatsheet.com, Jamie was born Eric Marlon Bishop but changed it because when he started stand up comedy, he realized that female comedians were always asked to perform first. Hence, Jamie Foxx, since it sounded like a unisex name.

16 Andrew Lincoln's Agent Told Him To Change His Name Because Of How Goofy It Sounded

The Independent

When Andrew Lincoln joined the acting business, his agent was adamant that he changed his name.

According to cheatsheet.com, Lincoln was born Andrew James Clutterbuck, and his agent made him change it, not because there was another actor known with the name, but because it sounded goofy. He later admitted that his father was upset over it and his granddad refused to speak to him for a while.

15 Winona Ryder Changed Her Name As Tribute To Musician Mitch Ryder

Entertainment Weekly

Winona Ryder was actually born Winona Laura Horowitz.

According to cheatsheet.com, when she decided to start acting, she chose the stage name Winona Ryder as a tribute to the musician Mitch Ryder.

Charlie Sheen was there when she decided and actually takes credit for coming up for it, saying it was his idea.

14 Olivia Wilde's Mother Wanted Her To Have An Identity Outside Her Family


When Olivia Wilde decided she wanted to be an actress, her mother suggested that she change her name in order to have an identity outside the family.

According to cheatsheet.com, Olivia’s real name is Olivia Jane Cockburn. She later explained in an interview that she chose the name as a tribute to Oscar Wilde, whom she respects greatly.

13 Nicki Minaj Was Forced To Change Her Name


When Nicki Minaj first got signed, she had no say in her the changing of her name.

According to cheatsheet.com, Nicki was born Onika Tanya Maraj, but someone changed it to Nicki Minaj when she was signed to her first production deal. She fought tooth and nail but later was convinced to keep it. She still hates it to this day.

12 Alicia Keys Changed Her Name To Something That Suited The Stage More

Entertainment Weekly

Alicia Keys wanted a name better suited for the stage when she first started.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Alicia was actually born Alicia Augello-Cook. When she first was trying to decide on a name, she originally thought about going with Alicia Wild, but her mother thought it sounded to provocative, almost like a name a “dancer” would choose.

11 The Weeknd Hated His Real Name And Wanted Something Cooler


The Weeknd chose his name as a teenager after he left home.

According to harpersbazaar.com, The Weeknd was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye but decided to change it because he hated his real name. He also decided to remove the “e” in Weekend due to a Canadian band whose name is The Weekend.

10 Gigi Hadid's Real Name Is Just Too Confusing


Gigi Hadid changed her name after grade school due to another student having almost the same name.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Gigi was born Jelena Noura Hadid, but her mother always called her Gigi as a kid. After she entered grade school, there was another girl with the name Helena and the teacher kept getting confused, so in the end, she just started Gigi full-time.

9 Cardi B Was Born With A Long Name


Us fans know her as Cardi B, but her family and people from her past know her as Belcalis Almanzar.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Cardi B is actually short for Bacardi, like the drink. She got the nickname as a kid due to her sister being named Hennessy. Once she got older though, she shortened it to Cardi B.

8 Emma Stone Changed Her Name Because There Was Already An Actress With The Name

Baltimore Sun

Emma Stone is another celebrity who had to change her name due to someone already having the same name.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Emma was actually born Emily Jean Stone and when she got started in the business at 16, she had to change it because there was already an Emily Stone in Hollywood.

7 Natalie Portman's Family Changed Her Name After Moving To The US


When Natalie Portman’s parents gave birth to her over in Israel, they decided to give her a traditional Hebrew name.

According to harpersbazaar.com, the name they gave her was Neta-Lee Hershlag. After her family moved to the US in 1984, they decided to change their surname to Portman, which was Natalie’s maternal grandmother’s maiden name. She later changed her first name from Neta-Lee to Natalie.

6 Erykah Badu Believed Her First Name Was A Slave Name

Multichannel News

When Erykah was old enough, she decided that the original spelling of her name was too much of a “slave name.”

According to harpersbazaar.com, Erykah was born Erica Abi Wright but later changed it to Erykah Badu. She chose Badu for two reasons, it sounded like her favorite jazz scat sound and it was the African name for the 10th born child of the Akan people in Ghana.

5 Demi Moore Decided To Keep Her First Husband's Last Name


When Demi Moore was 17 years old, she married rock musician Freddy Moore.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Demi was born Deme Gene Guynes, but when she got married, she took her husband’s name. The marriage lasted almost five years before they called it quits, but even after the divorce, she decided to keep his surname as her stage name.

4 Calvin Harris Changed His Name So He Was More Racially Ambiguous

USA Today

When Taylor gave her boyfriend at the time, Calvin Harris, a shout-out at the iHeart Radio Music Awards, people were confused when she shouted-out Adam instead of Calvin.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Calvin was born Adam Richard Wiles, but changed it later in life in order to be more “racially ambiguous.”

3 Frank Ocean Thought His Original Name Wasn't Cool Enough


Frank Ocean didn’t feel his real name was cool enough, so he changed it back in 2010.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Frank was born Christopher Edwin Breaux and in 2010 he decided to go on LegalZoom and change it to Christopher Frank Ocean because it sounded cool.

He feels that if anyone doesn’t like their name, they should change it.

2 Julianne Moore Was Forced To Change Her Name Because There Was Already Two Others With Her Name

Jurassic World

Just like Emma Stone, Julianne Smith had to change her name because there was an actress within the Screen Actors Guild with the same name.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Julianne was born Julie Anne Smith but decided to go with a name from both parents, her dad’s surname Smith and her mother’s name Anne as a way to avoid hurting anyone feelings.

1 Lorde Didn't Feel Her Regular Name Was Anything Special


Her name is for the stage only.

According to harpersbazaar.com, Lorde’s real name is Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor. She prefers to be called Ella but felt her name wasn’t anything special, so she chose Lourde as her stage name, which she felt was a strong name. She always liked the idea of having a one-named alias.

Sources: cheatsheet.com, harpersbazaar.com

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