Celebrity 43 Celebrities You Never Knew Changed Their Names Vin Diesel, Gigi Hadid, and Alicia Keys are just a few. By Isabel Jones Isabel Jones Instagram Twitter Isabel is an Oregon-born and Brooklyn-based writer and editor with a special interest in pop culture. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on December 2, 2022 @ 10:00AM Pin Share Tweet Email Trending Videos Photo: Getty Images 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: the name they were given when they were born. 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. 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? 13 Celebrities You'd Never Guess Are Shy While you meditate on that, check out our 38 favorite celebrity name changes in recent history. 01 of 43 Gigi Hadid Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Gigi was born Jelena Noura Hadid, however, Yolanda Foster started calling the supermodel Gigi when she was just a child. 02 of 43 Bella Hadid Venturelli/Getty Similarly to sister Gigi, Bella wasn't born, well, Bella either. Her full moniker? Isabella Khair Hadid. 03 of 43 Meghan Markle Brad Barket/Getty 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. 04 of 43 John Legend Karwai Tang/Getty 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. 05 of 43 Louis C.K. Jim Spellman/Getty The comic's real name is Louis Székely — "C.K." is a strictly professional suffix. 06 of 43 Meg Ryan Jim Spellman/Getty 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. 07 of 43 Ralph Lauren Karwai Tang/Getty 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?). 08 of 43 Audrey Hepburn Hulton Archive/Getty Much (read: all) of Hollywood's Audrey-Katharine confusion could've been avoided had Audrey stuck to her original last name: Ruston. 09 of 43 Vin Diesel David Livingston/Getty 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. 10 of 43 Nicki Minaj Laura Cavanaugh/Getty The rapper's nom de plume is a truncated version of her original moniker, Onika Tanya Maraj. 11 of 43 Calvin Harris Mike Marsland/Getty 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 in April of that year. 12 of 43 Nicolas Cage Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty 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." 13 of 43 NeNe Leakes Tibrina Hobson/Getty The Real Housewives of Atlanta star was born Linnethia Monique Johnson. 14 of 43 Charlie Sheen Jason LaVeris/Getty The actor shortened his name from the lengthier Carlos Irwin Estevez. 15 of 43 Diane Keaton JB Lacroix/Getty Ironic as it may seem, Diane's original last name was actually Hall — you know, like Annie. 16 of 43 Olivia Wilde Paul Morigi/Getty No, she's not a long lost descendant of Oscar Wilde. Olivia entered into this world with a fairly unfortunate last name: Cockburn. 17 of 43 Tina Fey Monica Schipper/Getty The celebrated comedian started out as Elizabeth Stamatina Fey, later shortening her middle name to form her current moniker. 18 of 43 Michael Kors Paul Morigi/Getty The namesake designer was formerly known at Karl Anderson Jr. 19 of 43 Rita Wilson D Dipasupil/Getty The 60-year-old actress was born Margarita Ibrahimoff. 20 of 43 Woody Allen Venturelli/Getty 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. 21 of 43 Katy Perry Albert L. Ortega/Getty The popstar was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. 22 of 43 Miley Cyrus Rob Kim/Getty The optimistically named Destiny Hope Cyrus legally switched to Miley (a reference to her childhood nickname, "Smiley") in 2008. 23 of 43 Nina Dobrev Frazer Harrison/AMA2016/Getty The Bulgarian-born actress shortened her name from Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva. 24 of 43 Jamie Foxx Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty The Oscar-winner was born Eric Marlon Bishop. 25 of 43 Lorde Steve Granitz/Getty 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. 26 of 43 Brad Pitt Tim P. Whitby/Getty Meet William Bradley Pitt! 27 of 43 Joaquin Phoenix Steve Granitz/Getty The actor was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom, but rose from the ashes to claim his showbiz suffix: Phoenix. 28 of 43 Bruno Mars Slaven Vlasic/Getty No, the singer's parents didn't raise him as an intergalactic black lab — at birth, Mars was named Peter Gene Hernandez. 29 of 43 Mindy Kaling Jason LaVeris/Getty The comedian was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam. 30 of 43 Courtney Love Jason LaVeris/Getty The punk icon was born Courtney Michelle Harrison. 31 of 43 Tom Cruise Jeff Spicer/Getty The Mission Impossible star once bore a fancy roman numeral at the end of his name: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. 32 of 43 Demi Moore Karwai Tang/Getty Less is Moore according to Demi (formerly known as Demetria Gene Guynes). 33 of 43 Whoopi Goldberg Kevork Djansezian/Getty The Oscar-winner was born Caryn Elaine Johnson. 34 of 43 Natalie Portman Tommaso Boddi/Getty Before adopting the elegant last name Portman, the Oscar-winning actress was known as Natalie Hershlag. 35 of 43 Alicia Keys Mireya Acierto/Getty The key to Alicia's success in singing? Changing her name from Alicia Augello Cook (just kidding, her talent was definitely the ultimate factor). 36 of 43 Mila Kunis Karwai Tang/Getty Mila shortened her name from Milena Markovna Kunis. 37 of 43 Lana Del Rey Jason Merritt/Getty The singer was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. 38 of 43 Helen Mirren Jeff Spicer/Getty The actress's true name just proves that she's been royal from the start: Helen Lydia Mirren Hackford. How regal is that? 39 of 43 Reese Witherspoon Mike Windle/Getty Everyone's favorite bookworm was born Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon. 40 of 43 Winona Rider Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Like Clueless's Cher, Winona Ryder's original last name was Horowitz. 41 of 43 Shania Twain Getty Images Shania Twain was born Eileen Regina Edwards. She changed her name to Shania, meaning “I'm on my way,” as a nod to her stepfather's Ojibwa heritage. 42 of 43 Ice Cube Getty Images He was born O’Shea Jackson and adopted the stage name Ice Cube when his older brother commented that he was “too cool” for his age. 43 of 43 Antonio Banderas Getty Images He was José Antonio Banderas at birth and dropped the José to go by simply Antonio.