Celebrities are renowned globally by their stage names. Some of them have adopted names different from the ones their parents gave them in a bid to become memorable among people, while others have done so in order to make their names easier to pronounce. Let’s be honest here. A name is a huge representation of who you are, and if it is unorthodox, complicated, or sounds plain boring, it could potentially hinder your success. It is safe to admit that these 18 celebrities were right to change their names!
1. Miley Cyrus
With the successful country singer, Billy Ray Cyrus, as her father, Miley Cyrus had a silver spoon upbringing. Prominently known throughout the world for her outlandish choice of clothes and catchy tunes, Miley wasn’t born as Miley. She was initially identified as Destiny Hope Cyrus.
2. Ralph Lauren
Fashion mogul, Ralph Lauren, is a giant in the fashion industry. Known for his luxury premium clothing brands, Ralph has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal—5 billion dollars to be precise! If he had gone into the business with his birth name, Ralph Lipshitz, we doubt he would have been able to scale similar heights.
3. Natalie Portman
Contrary to popular opinion, Natalie Portman wasn’t always Natalie Portman. Before achieving success, Natalie went by her birth name, Neta-Lee Hershlag. Born in Jerusalem, Natalie is worth her salt as an actress and a student; she has even attended the esteemed Harvard University.
4. Whoopi Goldberg
There’s no denying that Whoopi Goldberg possesses phenomenal acting talent. Before the world knew her as Whoopi Goldberg, she had to settle with the name given to her by her parents. She was born Caryn Elaine Johnson. Whoopi Goldberg just has a better ring to it, doesn’t it?
5. Jamie Foxx
Blessed with exceptional acting prowess and with the voice of an angel, Jamie Foxx is a man of many trades. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Jamie. Back when he went with his birth name, Eric Morlon Bishop, he had a difficult period finding work as an actor. Ever since changing his name, Jamie has gone on to achieve a litany of accolades and awards for his acting chops and singing talent.
6. Elton John
Rightly considered a living legend in the music scene, Elton John’s record sales speak volumes about his global reach. He has sold over 300 million records and has had more than 50 Top 40 hits. We aren’t sure if he would have been as iconic as he is now if he had persisted with his birth name, Reginald Kenneth Dwight.
7. Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan, heavily regarded as one of the most influential musicians in the history of music, adopted a different name in order to strike a chord with the masses. The name he was given at birth was Robert Allen Zimmerman.
8. Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde has tasted a fair amount of success on both the small screen and the silver screen. Currently, she is romantically involved with the actor, Jason Sudeikis. If she had kept her original name, Olivia Jane Cockburn, she would have probably fared better in a different movie industry.
9. Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey has truly been blessed by The Almighty. She is one of the most streamed artists on Spotify. Her stage name fits perfectly with her cinematic musical style. Her songs just wouldn’t have had the same zing to it had she sung them with her name at birth, Elizabeth Woodridge Grant.
10. Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren is an accomplished actress. With a host of awards under her belt including the Oscars, the Emmys, and The Tonys, Helen is a household name in the movie industry. Who knows how her career would have panned out had she kept her birth name, Ilyena Lydia Mironoff.
11. Demi Moore
Demi Moore was at her prime in the 1990s. During the time, she was a sought-after actress and was known as the ultimate sex symbol. These days, she is publicly known for her past marriages to both Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher. Although she was satisfied with her first name from the beginning, she altered her last name from Guynes.
12. Woody Allen
Woody Allen manages to pull a rabbit out of his hat every time he takes the director’s seat. The influential filmmaker has been in the movie business for several decades. Some of his famous movies include Stardust Memories, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, and Match Point. When he was a toddler, he was known as Allan Stewart Konigsberg.
Rihanna has achieved monumental success in a relatively short period. Before churning out hits after hits and minting huge amount of money like it was chump change, Rihanna was known to her near and dear ones as Robyn Fenty.
14. Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder is an inspirational figure. The man did exceptionally well to overcome his disability as a blind man to achieve unparalleled success as an artist and songwriter. The man has won 25 Grammy Awards thus far. He was originally born as Stevland Hardaway Morris.
15. Vin Diesel
The action star, Vin Diesel, was born as Mark Sinclair. However, we must applaud his decision to change names because if hadn’t, we aren’t too sure if we would have welcomed Mark Sinclair with open arms as an action star. The name “Vin Diesel” fits him to a T.
16. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj has done well to establish herself in the hip-hop industry, an industry largely dominated by men. She has an uncanny ability to hog the spotlight and always belts out tunes that go well with a particular group of audience. When she was a child, people knew her as Onika Tanya Maraj.
17. Marilyn Monroe
We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but Marilyn Monroe is not Marilyn’s original name. She was actually born as Norma Jean Mortensen. Little did her parents predict that their daughter would go on to have a wonderful career as an actor and be regarded as the biggest sex symbol in history.
18. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen has made a name for himself with his antics off-screen. He holds the distinct honor of having the most famous public blowups in history. We wonder if he would have grown up differently had he stuck to his original name, Carlos Irwin Estevez. And yes, you guessed it right—he is related to the actor, Emilio Estevez.