Would you ever change your name? Even if a lot of us don’t like our names, many of us would have a hard time changing it. Your name is a part of you and for many there is sentiment behind it; either it is a family name or you were named after your mother’s favorite flower or something like that – names are meaningful.
Your name is the first thing that defines you as a person; it is your identifier, which is why it is so weird that so many celebrities have changed their names completely. In a society that is borderline obsessed with celebrities, it comes as a shock that so many celebrities have dropped their birth names for their stage names.
Hollywood is a shallow world and I guess even your name can make it or break it. Those who want to make it in the big leagues have been modifying their names for years to make them easier for fans to say and remember, like Doris Day who was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff.
However, for some, changing their name all together is much more simple. The following celebrities are all well-known, extremely famous and talented people and yet most of their fans don’t know what their real names are. The next 13 celebrities not only changed their names, but the names they originally had were quite peculiar. Although some of the following legal names are unique and beautiful, we wonder if any of the next celebs would have ever been stars had they kept these unconventional names.
13. Demi Moore: Demetria Guynes
Demi Moore has been around for years but she has not always gone by this name. The actress was born Demetria Guynes in Roswell, New Mexico. Her biological father was named Charles Harmon, and he left her mother Virginia after two months of marriage. Moore wasn’t even born at the time of her biological father’s departure. When Demi was three moths old, her mother married Dan Guynes who Moore always considered her father.
Moore had a rough childhood, not only was her biological father absent her entire life, her mom had a long list of arrests including arson and drunk driving. Her rough childhood and lack of connection to her Greek roots led her to change her name from Demetria Guynes to Demi Moore. Her two ex-husbands have also changed their names; Bruce Willis was born Walter Willis and Ashton Kutcher born Christopher Kutcher.
12. Tina Fey: Elizabeth Stamatina Fey
Tina Fey is a hilarious and talented Greek-American comedian. The name “Stamatina” is very common in the greek culture and Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was her full name growing up. Tina grew up with the nickname Liz, just like the character she plays on 30 Rock. Many of us know Fey as a larger than life, happy go lucky person. However, what a lot of us don’t know is that at the young age of 5, Fey was in her front yard when a stranger came up to her and slashed her face with a knife. This incident has left Tina Fey with a scar on her face that has now become more a part of her than her own name.
11. Olivia Wilde: Olivia Jane Cockburn
Olivia Wilde is an incredibly stunning actress who was born in New York City. For most of us, everything about Wilde is perfect, including her incredibly cool name. However, Olivia Wilde chose her awesome last name because hers was not so awesome. Olivia Wilde was born Olivia Jane Cockburn – yes, Cockburn. There are countless jokes that come to mind when you hear this name and it comes as no surprise that she has openly stated that she was embarrassed of it. We can imagine how rough her childhood must have been for her with a name like that. Thankfully she was talented and beautiful and is now famous, so I guess her last name didn’t turn out so bad, it just kind of disappeared.
10. Nina Dobrev: Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva
Nina Dobrev is a stunning actress and model who grew up in Canada. She is best known for her television roles as Mia on Degrassi: The Next Generation and as Elena on the hit show The Vampire Diaries. What many of her fans don’t know is that Nina’s birth name is Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva. She is of Bulgarian descent and her real name is honest to her roots. Although Nikolina is a beautiful name, the actress thought she would have more success under the name Nina. Although she changed her name, Nina Dobrev is still connected to her Bulgarian roots.
9. Whoopi Goldberg: Caryn Elaine Johnson
Whoopi Goldberg is known as a lot of things – she is an actress, a political activist, a comedian, a writer, a producer and a television host. Whoopi Goldberg is a household name and has even been nominated for an Academy Award for the 1985 heart-wrenching film The Color Purple. Nowadays you can catch Whoopi on the day-time talk show The View which she co-hosts alongside some other fabulous women. What many people don’t know is that Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson, a fairly generic name compared to the one she chose for herself, and we think “Whoopi” is much more suitable for this awesome woman.
8. Shania Twain: Eilleen Regina Edwards
Shania Twain is a stunning Canadian singer and songwriter. She is both stunning and talented. Known as one of the best-selling artists of all time (sold over 75 million albums worldwide) she is also known as the best selling female artist in the history of country music, which is huge. Shania Twain has been referred to as “The Queen of Country Pop” and has received countless awards including five Grammys. However, many people don’t know that she wasn’t born with the name Shania. Shania Twain was actually born Eilleen Regina Edwards. Although Eilleen is her birth name we think she suits Shania much better.
7. Carmen Electra: Tara Leigh Patrick
Although no one has ever heard of Tara Leigh Patrick, almost everyone has heard of Carmen Electra. What most people don’t know is that they are the same person. Carmen Electra changed her name when she entered show biz because she thought it would give her an edge, and who are we to argue with her? She is known for so many things such as acting, modeling and being a television personality. Carmen gained her fame after posing in Playboy magazine and became even more popular when she became a cast member on Baywatch. Carmen Electra left Tara behind when she found fame and we don’t think she has ever looked back.
6. Katy Perry: Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson
Katy Perry is one of the biggest celebrities of our generation. She has a huge fanbase around the world and has even performed at the super bowl. Although Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson is a beautiful name, it was already taken in Hollywood. Yes, that’s right, Katy Perry and Kate Hudson have the same name (minus the Elizabeth). Perry thought it would not be beneficial to try and make it in Hollywood with the same name as someone who was born into Hollywood. Katy Perry ditched the name completely, however her family still refers to her as Kathryn Elizabeth.
5. Aloe Blacc: Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III
Aloe Blacc has one of the coolest names in the music industry, it’s a shame he was not born with it. Aloe Blacc was born Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, which is a name that has been passed down in his family. Although the name has a lot of sentimental value, he knew it would not cut it in the industry he wanted to work in. He renamed himself Aloe Blacc and gained a fan base rather quickly. Aloe Blacc has an incredible and soothing voice and is getting more and more popular as the years go on. However, we do secretly wish his stage name was Egbert…he looks like an Egbert!
4. Elton John: Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Elton John is one of the most treasured and valued artists in the world. Throughout the five decades of his career he has sold over 300 million records and has more than fifty top forty hits. In his awards collection he has five Brit Awards, six Grammy’s, a Golden Globe and even an Academy Award (amongst many other awards). It is safe to say that Sir Elton John is one of the best known singers on the planet and yet not many people know that his real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight. Elton John renamed himself and turned into a musical legend, which shows that sometimes our parents don’t always know what is best.
3. Stevie Wonder: Stevland Hardaway Judkins
Stevie Wonder is one of my personal favorite musicians. His soulful and pure voice is what made him such a huge success. Stevie Wonder is the definition of talent. This child prodigy is one of the most loved, creative and inspiring musicians of our time. What many know about Wonder is that he is blind, and has been blind since shortly after his birth. However, what many of you don’t know about Wonder is that his legal name is actually Stevland Hardway Judkins. Although Steveland is a unique name, Stevie Wonder is much more suitable for this wonderful talent.
2. Kelly Rowland: Kelendria Trene Rowland
Kelly Rowland is the second most popular of the girls from Destiny’s Child (Beyonce being the most popular of course). Kelly Rowland, born Kelendria Trene Rowland changed her name to Kelly because she thought it was easier and more likable than Kelly, but she kept her last name Rowland. Kelly Rowland has had success as a solo artist selling over 27 million records. Although the world knows her as Kelly, we actually think Kelendria is a very cool name and would have loved if she kept it. However, now that she is extremely famous, she should keep the name Kelly Rowland.
1. Nelly: Cornell Iral Haynes Jr.
Once upon a time Nelly was the coolest guy in the music industry. With his face full of Band-Aids, Nelly made himself a household name. When Nelly entered the music industry he wanted his stage name to be short and simple unlike his real name, Cornell Iral Haynes Junior. We are not too sure how he turned into Nelly but he made himself known as Nelly, plain and simple. This Saint Louis native has yet to settle down and have children but when he does, we can’t wait to see if he keeps the family name alive or he ends it with himself…only time will tell.