Celebrities are celebrities because people know them. Whether they are actors, athletes, singers, dancers or anything, we largely know them by their name. But what if I was to tell you that a ton of these famous people aren’t really who they say they are? While they are the same person, they are using a different name than the one their parents gave them at birth. So read on and check out these 18 celebrities who changed their names (or simply use another name) for one reason or another. Just wait until you read number 5. Your jaw will drop!
#18 Miley Cyrus
#17 Ralph Lauren
If you know about or wear luxury clothing brands, you likely know about the brand Ralph Lauren, which is named after the founder of the company. The company is very successful and Lauren himself has a net worth of over 5 Billion dollars. But it’s likely that if he went by his birth name of Ralph Lipshitz, he would never have made this company.
#16 Natalie Portman
Despite being a world famous actor in largely American-made films, Portman was actually born in Jerusalem. She also attended Harvard, which is extremely impressive. Her name is one of the most elegant in Hollywood, but she was actually born as Neta-Lee Hershlag. Check out number 8 to see another world famous actress who doesn’t go by her birth name.
#15 Whoopi Goldberg
While she is a solid actress and personality, no doubt Goldberg’s name has a lot to do with her fame. But that was actually not her birth name, as her parents decided to name her Caryn Elaine Johnson. The person at the number four spot is also someone else who has become more famous because of the uniqueness of their name.
#14 Jamie Foxx
#13 Elton John
Elton John is without a doubt one of the most famous, polarizing, and successful singers and songwriters out there. He has sold hundreds of millions of records and has had 50+ Top 40 hits. But while his name is iconic, it’s not even his real name as he was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight. Talk about having 3 first names!
#12 Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is without a doubt one of the most influential singers and performers in the history of music. He has been active in music for decades and has always had very important messages in his work. His name he goes by is much simpler than the one he was given at birth, which was Robert Allen Zimmerman.
#11 Olivia Wilde
Wilde has been a successful actor in both TV and film over the last few years and has also been dating actor Jason Sudeikis, since 2011. Her name is one of the most beautiful in Hollywood and definitely rolls off the tongue better than her given name of Olivia Jane Cockburn. That last name sounds like it would be better suited for a different movie industry…
#10 Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey is a wildly successful musical act, who is actually one of the most streamed artists on all of Spotify. Her music has a very cinematic style that is unlike most music out there today. Her name is perfect for show business, much better than Elizabeth Woodridge Grant, which was her name at birth.
#9 Helen Mirren
Of all the actresses in Hollywood, few are more accomplished and legendary than Helen Mirren. Mirren has won a ton of different awards at the Emmys, the Oscars, The Tonys and many more shows as well. But who knows how her career would have gone if she kept her birth name of Ilyena Lydia Mironoff. You probably didn’t know this next celebrity’s name was changed…
#8 Demi Moore
Demi Moore was perhaps one of the most famous actresses in the 1990s and acted in a number of huge films. She is also known for her past marriages to both Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher. And while she kept her first name from birth, she changed her last name from Guynes. You’ll be shocked to find out this next celebrity changed their name…
#7 Woody Allen
While he is surrounded by some fairly strange personal issues, there is no doubting that Woody Allen is a hugely impressive and influential filmmaker. He has been behind a ton of comedically genius movies and has been in the business for years. However, Allen was actually born Allan Stewart Konigsberg, which has to be one of the few times a person uses their first name as their last name.
Rihanna only broke onto the scene a couple of years ago but is now without a doubt one of the most famous singers and performers on the planet. She has had several number one hits and will surely churn out more in the future. But her birth name was not Rihanna, it was actually Robyn Fenty.
#5 Stevie Wonder
While many know of Stevie Wonder because of the fact he is blind, Wonder is actually an amazingly successful artist and songwriter. In total, Wonder has taken 25 Grammy’s which is the most by a solo male artist. He was born as Stevland Hardaway Morris, which doesn’t sound as sexy, so we understand his choice to change names.
#4 Vin Diesel
While Vin Diesel is a certified action star, his name is definitely somewhat responsible for his celebrity, as it is amazing. There is no arguing it is probably the most badass name in the business. But unfortunately, it is not even his real name as he was born Mark Sinclair. We think “Vin Diesel” matches his look and personality much better.
#3 Nicki Minaj
In recent years, no female rapper has been more successful or popular than Nicki Minaj. Every song she appears on seems to become a hit, and she is no stranger to the spotlight. And while she would probably be popular with any name, but changing her name from Onika Tanya Maraj probably helped. This next one is probably the most shocking celebrity on this list…
#2 Marilyn Monroe
Her name and image is one of the most famous of all time and is one of the biggest sex symbols in history. But that legendary name was not even her real one, as she was named Norma Jean Mortensen. And while this was a big change, it is no match for the name change the last entry in this article went through.
#1 Charlie Sheen
That’s right, the man behind the most famous public blowup in history is not actually named Charlie Sheen. The popular and successful actor’s real name is actually Carlos Irwin Estevez. And yes, he is actually related to Emilio Estevez, they are brothers. This is probably the most surprising of any name change on this list.
So as you can see, a lot of your favorite celebrities aren’t really who you thought they were! Changing your name or even just using a different one than you were born with can be a risk and a huge change in your life. But to be honest, we’re not shocked that these 18 celebrities changed their name. Your name is a big representation of you, and if it is overly complicated, unorthodox or just simply boring, it could hinder your success. And while these are 18 great examples, there are also tons of other celebs who go by different names than the one they were given at birth.