25 Celebrities Who Don't Use Their Real Names

Michele Marin | Mar 12, 2020 Celebrities
25 Celebrities Who Don't Use Their Real Names
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Reese Witherspoon
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Did you ever wonder why some celebrities have catchy names that make them hard to forget? Some names just don't have a ring to them, prompting these celebs to ditch their birth names for a more star-like moniker. After all, Olivia Jack Cockburn doesn't have quite the same ring to it as Olivia Wilde. 

You know their famous faces; now check out their pre-fame names. These 25 Hollywood stars took on stage names that made them far more autograph-worthy.


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  • Julia Roberts: Julie Roberts


    Image © Katy Winn/Corbis

    Julia Roberts didn't stray too far from her chosen name, Julie. But she did change it to Julia because early in her career, the star discovered there was already an actress name Julie Roberts. Looks like this Julie Roberts emerged as the true star.

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  • Blake Lively: Blake Brown


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    Gossip Girl star Blake Lively was born Blake Brown. But in a twist on tradition, her father actually took on his wife's maiden name, Lively. Hence, Blake Lively. 

  • Reese Witherspoon: Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon


    Image © Joe Martinez/Picture Lux/Splash/Corbis

    Miss Laura Jean is just about as Southern as it gets. The star took on her mother's maiden name, Reese, and turned it into her professional name. If you love the The Hot Pursuit star's name, it's still low on the popularity list, ranking #164 out of 1000 on the Nameberry List, so go ahead steal it if your preggers.

  • Lorde: Ella Marie Lani Yelich O'Conner


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    Incase you were wondering if someone actually names their daughter Lorde, the answer is no. Lorde was given the name Ella Marie Lani Yelich O'Conner. But because the "Pure Heroin" singer didn't see the name as destined for royalty, she found something much more regal.

  • Jenna Elfman: Jennifer Mary Butala


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    It's true that Jennifer Mary Butaladoesn't have as much of a ring as Jenna Elfman. The California native who starred in Dharma and Greg abandoned a ballet career for the big screen and her birth name for something more star-powered.

  • Mindy Kaling: Vera Mindy Chokalingam


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    It turns out the actress and producer never went by her birth name, Vera Mindy Chokalingam. Her Nigerian parents wanted a cute name, so they dubbed her Mindy. When Mindy began her stand-up career the MCs' couldn't pronounce her last name, so what's a gal to do but shorten it?

  • Gigi Hadid: Jelena Noura Hadid


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    The up-and-coming model's name was actually a nickname given to her by her mama, Real Housewives of Orange County star Yolanda Foster. Jelena Noura Hadid was her actual name, but her childhood nickname, Gigi, stuck with her.

  • Olivia Wilde: Olivia Jack Cockburn


    Image © LAN/Corbis

    Born Olivia Jack Cockburn, the actress' parents, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, are well-known international journalists. But Wilde reportedly decided to ditch her moniker after playing Gwendelon in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest in high school. Maybe she wanted to stand out on her own. The name is sort of catchy.

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  • Mila Kunis: Milena Markovna Kunis


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    Mrs. Ashton Kutcher didn't necessarily abandon her birth name, rather she more or less shortened it. Ukranian Milena Markovna Kunis simply chose to go by her nickname, Mila.

  • Jason Derulo: Jason Joel Desrouleaux


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    The "Talk Dirty" singer didn't want to overcomplicate things when it came to pronouncing his name, so Jason Joel Desrouleaux chose the stage name Jason Derulo. Derulo is actually just an alternate spelling of his last name, which shares the same pronunciation.

  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers: Jonathan Michal Francis O'Keefe


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    Sexy Dublin born Mission Impossible III actor just didn't think Jonathan Michal Francis O'Keefe was sexy enough. So he said beannacht to his Irish mother's maiden name and took off for LaLa Land.

  • Carmen Electra: Tara Leigh Patrick


    Image © Xavier Collin/Image Press/Splash/Corbis

    Because she can! And, it sounds MUCH more star-worthy than Tara Leigh Patrick. Actually, though, it was Prince who convinced her to change her name. The two dated for a while before the Playboy Playmate became a star.

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  • Demi Moore: Demetria Gene Guynes


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    Moore actually took on the last name of her first husband, Freddy Moore. The actress was born Demetria Gene Guynes. Now try saying that five times! 

  • Charlie Sheen: Carlos Irwin Estevez


    Imag e© Gus Ruelas/Corbis

    Opting for a more Americanized name, Carlos Irwin Estevez took on the name Charlie Sheen, and the rest is history. Sheen's brother, Emilio Estevez, however, kept his original Latin name.

  • David Tennant: David McDonald


    Image © James Higgins/Corbis

    Tennant's name change was due to a legal issue rather than a desire to simply pick a stage name. The acting union, Equity, actually made the Dr. Who star change his name because there was already a David McDonald registered with the union. The Scottish actor chose the name from one of his favorite singers, Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant.

  • Elle Macpherson: Eleanor Gow


    Image © WUF/Corbis

    Sexy supermodel Elle Macpherson decided that she would change her name to launch her career. The runway queen claims that unglamourous names are awash in the industry, and Eleanor Gow just wasn't living up to her fashion forte.

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  • Jennifer Aniston: Jennifer Anastassakis


    Our favorite Friends star and new wife to Justin Theroux changed her Greek name Jennifer Anastassakis to a more effortless Aniston. She may have taken the lead from her father, Days of Our Lives actor Yannis Anastasskis, aka John Aniston.

  • Vin Diesel: Mark Sinclair Vincent


    Imaage © Faye Sadau/UPA/Corbis

    The Fast and the Furious star actually adopted two of his nicknames to create his stage name Vin Diesel. Mark Sinclair Vincent's friends used to call him Vin, from his last name Vincent, and because he never ran out of energy some of his pals called him "Diesel." Hence, Vin Diesel.

  • Whoopi Goldberg: Caryn Elaine Johnson


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    Believe it or not funny gal Whoopi Goldberg chose her first name because her friends said she sounded like a whoopee cushion, and contrary to most people moving away from their ethnic names in Hollywood, Goldberg's mom didn't think Caryn Elaine Johnson sounded Jewish enough to make it in La La Land. And so, Whoopi Goldberg was born.

  • Jamie Foxx: Eric Bishop


    Image © Jenna Blake/Corbis

    The Oscar winner actually changed his name from Eric Bishop to Jamie Foxx to put him ahead of the line in stand-up comedy, where women are usually called up before men. Eric Bishop thought a gender-neutral name like Jamie would move him up a few spots at least. He chose Foxx as an ode to one of his favorite perfomers, Sanford & Son's Redd Foxx.

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  • Mariah Carey: Maria Nunez


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    Grammy-winning diva Mariah Carey was born Maria Nunez, but Carey adopted her Venezuelan grandfather's name, Carey, which he changed from Nunez after emigrating to the U.S. Mariah's first name is from the song, "They Call The Wind Maria," from the 1950s Broadway musical, Paint Your Wagon. At the time it was pronounced Mariah.

  • Bruno Mars: Peter Gene Hernandez


    Image @Parisa/Corbis

    Born Peter Gene Hernandez, the Honolulu-born singer didn't want to be stereotyped into just creating Latin music, so he came up with a stage name to skyrocket his career. The crooner took on his childhood nickname, Bruno, given to him because he was both strong-willed and a brute. Mars came about as the singer thought he was "out of this world."

  • Winona Ryder: Winona Laura Horowitz


    Image © Jenna Van Tine/Geisier Fotopres/Corbis

    After being spotted by director David Seltzer, Winona Laura Horowitz was cast in the '80s film Lucas. When Seltzer called the actress to ask her how she would like her name to appear in the credits, the 13-year-old said "Winona Ryder", as her father's favorite Mitch Ryder album was playing in the background. The rest is history.

  • Coco Rocha: Mikhaila Rocha


    Image © Splash News/Corbis

    Some models need fab names to sound uber sexy and launch their professional careers. Mikhaila Rocha was no exception. Coco is much more runway worthy.

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  • Alicia Keys: Alicia Augello Cook


    Image © LAN/Corbis

    The singer born Alicia Augello Cook took to the dictionary to choose her stage name. When Keys settled on Wild, her mom dissuaded her, saying it sounded too much like a stripper's name. After that she decided to use Keys because the name is "like the piano keys and can open many doors."


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