Celebrities can change their name or take on a stage name for a number of reasons- sometimes they want something short and catchy or they don’t like their real name. But a lot of it comes to the IMDB and Screen Actors Guild which have rules saying that no two actors can have exactly the same name. While these reasons cover the thought process behind a lot of celebrity name changes, there are few who have such embarrassing real names that they probably just couldn’t handle everyone knowing it (take Joaquin Phoenix’s real name, for example!).
Shania Twain’s real name is Eilleen Regina Edwards. We just can’t imagine that she’d have been such a successful country star if she were called Eilleen.
Jay Z’s real name is Shawn Corey Carter. Would the power couple be so hugely famous if their names were Beyonce and Shawn Carter?
Nina Dobrev was born Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva. While her name now isn’t a world away from her real name, it’s definitely less of a mouthful.
Whoopi Goldberg’s real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson. Who knew that Whoopi isn’t actually a real name?
Carmen Electra was previously known as Tara Leigh Patrick. Electra is definitely a cooler last name and Tara was encouraged to change her name by mentor Prince.
Meg Ryan was born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra. Meg Ryan definitely has a ring to it, whereas her previous name is a bit too long to fit on the case of a DVD.
Tom Cruise’s real name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. Tom decided to go with just his two first names, missing out the Mapother.
Demi Moore was born Demetria Gene Guynes. Both first names are pretty but Moore sounds slightly better than Guynes.
Katy Perry is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. Katy definitely seems more fun loving than her previous alter ego Katheryn.
Miley Cyrus’s real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus. We can’t help thinking that Destiny Hope is actually a better choice than Miley.
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. If you thought the singer’s real name was Lana then think again!
Calvin Harris used to be known as Adam Richard Wiles. We haven’t got much to say about this, Calvin Harris definitely sounds better.
Aloe Blacc was previously Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III. We can’t get over this one, what a posh sounding previous name!
Lorde is actually called Ella Yelich-O’Connor. It hadn’t really occurred to us that Lorde might have a real first and last name.
Helen Mirren was named as Ilyena Lydia Mironoff. Who knows why Ilyena decided to change her name to something less exotic sounding, but it definitely hasn’t hindered her career.
Ricky Martin’s real name is José Enrique Martin Morales. The latin singer definitely has a real latin name to accompany his style.
Jamie Foxx is Eric Marlon Bishop. We’re so glad Jamie Foxx picked such a cool new name, Bishop wouldn’t have done him any favours.
Kit Harington’s real name is Christopher Catesby Harington. Nothing wrong with Kit’s previous name, but maybe he shortened it to make it quicker to write.
Stevie Wonder is actually called Stevland Hardaway Judkins. Who knew that the famous singer’s first name is really Stevland? Stevie has a much more casual ring to it.
Lady Gaga was previously known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Both names have a ring to them that go well with the singer’s style.
Avicii’s real name is Tim Bergling. You might not have known this!
Charlie Sheen was born Carlos Irwin Estévez. With all his bad publicity, maybe he should consider changing his name back.
Iggy Azalea’s real name is actually Amethyst Amelia Kelly. To be honest we love the real name more, what even is Iggy?
Rihanna is really called Robyn Rihanna Fenty. You wouldn’t be wrong if you thought Rihanna was her real name, but she was known as Robyn Fenty before she shot to fame.
Joaquin Phoenix’s real name Joaquin Rafael Bottom. Surprisingly, Joaquin is actually a real first name. But we can’t lie, we completely understand this name change. No one wants to be known to the world as Mr Bottom.