38 Celebrities You Never Knew Changed Their Names
Believe it or not, most matters of show business aren’t completely transparent. And while many did-they-or-didn't-they questions bubble to the surface, there’s one mysterious matter of celebrity that rarely reaches the public: their real names.
Many of today’s stars were born with completely different names—no, not like changing Emily to Emma (lookin’ at you, Miss Stone), but dramatic moniker makeovers like the one Vin Diesel underwent in college (just wait and see) or the classic middle to first name swap à la Meghan Markle and Reese Witherspoon.
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Some of these are nearly too good to be true, catapulting us into a chicken-or-egg line of thought: Does the name make the celebrity, or vice-versa?
While you meditate on that, check out our 38 favorite celebrity name changes in recent history.
Gigi was born Jelena Noura Hadid, however, Yolanda Foster started calling the supermodel Gigi when she was just a child.
Similarly to sister Gigi, Bella wasn't born, well, Bella either. Her full moniker? Isabella Khair Hadid.
Prince Harry's leading lady wasn't actually born a Meghan. That is the actress's middle name—her given moniker is really Rachel―the same name as her character on Suits.
Truth be told, John—the man, the myth, the LEGEND—did not bear such a show-stopping name at the time of his birth. The singer originally went by John Roger Stephens.
The comic's real name is Louis Székely—"C.K." is a strictly professional suffix.
Ryan's real name is quite the mouthful: Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra. We don't think that would have fit on the poster for You've Got Mail.
The first-name-as-a-last-name phenomenon is a gift bestowed upon the truly #blessed among us—but sometimes it isn't quite that easy. Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz (doesn't really roll off the tongue, huh?).
Much (read: all) of Hollywood's Audrey-Katharine confusion could've been avoided had Audrey stuck to her original last name: Ruston.
If you've been wondering what sort of parents would willingly name their child Vin... well, not this guy's! The Fast and the Furious star was born Mark Sinclair. The rise of Vin Diesel came from his days as an N.Y.C. bouncer—obvs, you don't mess with Vin.
The rapper's nom de plume is a truncated version of her original moniker, Onika Tanya Maraj.
Offstage, the DJ goes by Adam Richard Wiles. Taylor Swift drew attention to Harris's true name when she thanked her then "boyfriend Adam" at the 2016 iHeartRadio Awards last April.
In an attempt to distance his image from that of his famous uncle (Francis Ford Coppola), Nicolas abandoned his original surname for the simple yet memorable "Cage."
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star was born Linnethia Monique Johnson.
The actor simplified his name from the lengthier Carlos Irwin Estevez.
Ironic as it may seem, Diane's original last name was actually Hall—you know, like Annie.
No, she's not a long lost descendant of Oscar Wilde. Olivia entered into this world with a fairly unfortunate last name: Cockburn.
The celebrated comedian started out as Elizabeth Stamatina Fey, later shortening her middle name to form her current moniker.
The namesake designer was formerly known at Karl Anderson Jr.
The 60-year-old actress was born Margarita Ibrahimoff.
The famed director is no stranger to name change. He was born Allen Stewart Konigsberg, changed his name to Heywood Allen when he was 17, and later adopted Woody as a memorable alternative.
The popstar was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson.
The optimistically named Destiny Hope Cyrus legally switched to Miley (a reference to her childhood nickname, "Smiley") in 2008.
The Bulgarian-born actress shortened her name from Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva.
The Oscar-winner was born Eric Marlon Bishop.
Surprise, surprise, Lorde is not the New Zealander's birth name! Before she crooned her way to the top of the charts, the 20-year-old was known as Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor.
Meet William Bradley Pitt!
The actor was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom (you can't make this stuff up), but rose from the ashes of his unfortunate name to claim his showbiz suffix: Phoenix.
No, the singer's parents didn't raise him as an intergalactic black lab—at birth, Mars was named Peter Gene Hernandez.
The comedian was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam.
The punk icon was born Courtney Michelle Harrison.
The Mission Impossible star once bore a fancy roman numeral at the end of his name: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.
Less is Moore according to Demi (formerly known as Demetria Gene Guynes).
The Oscar-winner was born Caryn Elaine Johnson.
Before adopting the elegant last name Portman, the Oscar-winning actress was known as Natalie Hershlag.
The key to Alicia's success? Changing her name from Alicia Augello Cook (just kidding, her talent was definitely the ultimate factor).
Mila shortened her name from Milena Markovna Kunis.
Lana Del Rey
The singer was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant.
The actress's true name just proves that she's been royal from the start: Helen Lydia Mirren Hackford. How regal is that?
Everyone's favorite bookworm was born Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon.
Like Clueless's Cher, Winona Ryder's original last name was Horowitz.