37 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Using a Stage Name

It's a common practice for celebrities to go by stage names that differ from the moniker given to them at birth, but while we know that stars like Lorde weren't bestowed with such a royal name by their parents, not every stage name is as obvious. There are a ton of reasons why a celebrity would want to change their name on their way to making it big, even if the stage name they end up choosing isn't particularly glamorous. Click through to read about the celebs who switched out their monikers once they hit star-status.

by Kaitlin Reilly

Katy Perry

The “Dark Horse” singer was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson — she used her mother’s maiden name to avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson.

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Michael Keaton

The Birdman actor could have shared a name with another famous actor — he was born Michael Douglas.

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Natalie Portman

They called for Natalie Portman when she accepted the Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan, but her birth name is actually Natalie Hershlag.

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Miley Cyrus

Cyrus’ birth name actually sounds like more of a stage name than Miley does. Her parents named her Destiny Hope Cyrus, but her nickname “Smiley Miley” caught on, so much so that she legally changed her name to Miley Ray Cyrus at 15.

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Lana Del Rey

The “West Coast” singer’s real name is Elizabeth Grant, but that’s not nearly as chic as Lana, right?

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Michael J. Fox

Fox was born with the same first and last name that he uses publicly — it’s only his middle initial that changed. Fox was actually born Michael Andrew Fox, but, according to Cracked, switched out the initial because the Screen Actors Guild didn’t allow duplicate names.

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Demi Moore

The eternally-youthful actress’ face may never change, but her name did — her real name is Demetria Guynes. She changed it to Moore when she married singer Freddy Moore and kept his name after the divorce.

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Diane Keaton

Like Fox, Keaton changed her name because of an actor with her same name in the Screen Actor’s Guild. The Annie Hall actress’ original moniker was actually Diane Hall.

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Blake Lively

The new mom was born Blake Ellender Brown but adopted her mom’s last name when she started acting.

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Louis C.K.

The Louie actor’s real name is Louis Szekely and is pronounced exactly like his stage name. Clever, right?

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Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix’s cool first name is totally legit, but his last name is not. He was originally born Joaquin Rafael Bottom.

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Olivia Wilde

The Drinking Buddies actress dropped her last name Cockburn and decided to go by Wilde (of Oscar Wilde) to honor the writers in her family.

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Jamie Foxx

The Django Unchained actor’s real name is Eric Marlon Bishop. He changed his name to the gender-ambiguous Jamie in order to get a better set time when he was doing stand up, as women were often called first. Foxx is a reference to one of his favorite sitcom stars, Sanford & Son’s Red Foxx.

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Elizabeth Banks

The Hunger Games actress was born Elizabeth MItchell.

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Nicki Minaj

The “Starships” singer was born Onika Tanya Maraj — hey, at least Nicki Minaj has most of the same letters.

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Nicolas Cage

You have to admire the guy for not coasting on his famous last name — which was originally Coppola.

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Tina Fey

She really is just like Liz Lemon — at least, name-wise. Fey’s birth name is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey.

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Vin Diesel

The Fast and the Furious star’s real name is actually quite lovely — it’s Mark Sinclair Vincent.

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Eric Bana

The Time Traveler’s Wife star didn’t change his name as much as he chopped it. His real name is Eric Banadinovich.

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Elvis Costello

The “Less Than Zero” singer’s birth name isn’t quite as reminiscent of rock royalty. His given name is Declan Patrick McManus.

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Winona Ryder

The Heathers actress shared a last name with Cher from Clueless — she was born Winona Horowitz.

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Tim Allen

Allen dropped his last name — Dick — and decided to go by his middle name, Allen, instead.

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Julianne Moore

She was born Julie Anne Smith — guess she liked first two names smushed together more.

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Michael Caine

The Dark Knight actor was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite. He got the last name Caine from the 1954 Humphrey Bogart film The Caine Mutiny.

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Charlie Sheen

Maybe you’ve seen reports of Sheen going by the name Carlos Estevez. It’s not as odd as you might think — that’s actually his birth name.

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Portia De Rossi

The Arrested Development actress’ stage name has a little more flair than the one she was born with, which is Amanda Lee Rogers.

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Kim Cattrall

The Liverpool-born actress (she speaks with a slight accent!) had a very British birth name — she was born Clare Woodgate.

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Brad Pitt

The actor may have one of the simplest names in Hollywood, but it wasn’t always so. He was actually born William Bradley Pitt.

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Lea Michele

According to the Glee actress, teasing in school made her drop her last name of Sarfati and start using her middle name, Michele, instead.

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Shirley MacLaine

The actress is the older sister of Warren Beatty, which most people forget because they don’t share a last name. They used to — MacLaine’s full name was originally Shirley MacLean Beaty.

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Warren Beatty

MacLaine’s brother happened to prefer his real last name — Beaty, like his sister — with an added T.

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Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is a pretty great stage name, but then again, so is his original moniker. Wonder was born Steveland Hardaway Judkins.

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Emma Stone

The Help actress changed her name to Emma from Emily Jean because of her obsession with the Spice Girls — Baby Spice’s real name is Emma Lee Bunton.

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Meg Ryan

The Sleepless in Seattle actress originally went by Margaret Hyra.

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Whoopi Goldberg

Why did The View panelist change her name from Caryn Johnson? She told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that the reason was because, well, she’s a “farter.”

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Jon Stewart

The Daily Show host was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, but decided to go by the stage name Stewart instead. He later legally changed his name to his self-given moniker.

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Gene Simmons

Simmons may go by a not-particularly-glamorous name (especially considering all the makeup KISS wore back in the day), but it’s not the one he was born with. Simmons was actually born in Israel and named Chaim Witz.

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