Common, John Legend, and More Stars Whose Real Names May Surprise You
Common, John Legend, and More Stars Whose Real Names May Surprise You
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images    

Celebrity

Common, John Legend, and More Stars Whose Real Names May Surprise You

by
Shares
Advertisement

Many fans who tuned into the 2015 Oscars last night were surprised when John Roger Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, Jr. were called to receive the award for Best Original Song for "Glory" from the flick Selma. That's because those two Academy Award winners are known to us as John Legend and Common, respectively.

While it's a well known fact that plenty of stars don't go by their given names, it can still be a what the what? moment when you learn what some of the world's most famous celebs are actually named.

So, in honor of John Legend and Common's momentarily confusing win, we've gathered 16 of our other favorite celeb monikers right here. The more you know!


Bruno Mars was born... Peter Gene Hernandez. He ditched his Hispanic last name because he found it made people want to put him in a musical box.

Charlie Sheen was born... Carlos Irwin Estevez. He actually used his birth name for the flick Machete Kills. And yes, this does mean his dad Martin Sheen was also not born with that name. His original moniker was Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez.

Demi Lovato was born... Demetria Devonne Lovato. "Demi" is a bit snappier!

Iggy Azalea was born... Amethyst Amelia Kelly. We're not sure which name is more out there!

Katy Perry was born... Katy Hudson. The pop star made the switch so she wouldn't be confused with Kate Hudson.

Ginnifer Goodwin was born... Jennifer Goodwin. The Once Upon a Time star was actually born Jennifer Goodwin, but because she was from Memphis, Tennessee, it was always pronounced with a "Gin" and not a "Jen" at the beginning. Once she moved north she changed the spelling so people would say it correctly!

Jessie J was born... Jessica Ellen Cornish. Not quite so "pop star" as the variation she picked.

Joaquin Phoenix was born... Joaquin Rafael Bottom. No, he did not just change his name because the original might have caused some teasing. Joaquin's family was part of a controversial religious group, the Children of God, and when they finally left the movement they changed their last name to "represent a new beginning."

Natalie Portman was born... Natalie Hershlag. Portman is her grandmother's maiden name.

Nicki Minaj was born... Onika Tanya Miraj. What a stunning name!

Nina Dobrev was born... Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva. A bit long for a stage name!

Paul Wesley was born... Paweł Wasilewski. Another Vampire Diaries name change, this star changed his name to make it easier to pronounce, and says it definitely helped his career.

Portia De Rossi was born... Amanda Lee Rogers. The actress legally changed her name at the age of 15, and has said, "In retrospect, I think it was largely due to my struggle about being gay. Everything just didn’t fit, and I was trying to find things I could identify myself with, and it started with my name." She got Portia from the Shakespeare play The Merchant of Venice.

Shay Mitchell was born... Shannon Mitchell. Why'd the Pretty Little Liars star change her name? It actually happened before she was an actress, back when she was working at a sports bar!

Tina Fey was born... Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. Hey, just like her famous character, Liz Lemon!

Whoopi Goldberg was born... Caryn Elaine Johnson. And yes, the "Whoopi" part of this stage name was inspired by whoopee cushions. As she put it: "When you’re performing on stage, you never really have time to go into the bathroom and close the door. So if you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go. So people used to say to me, You are like a whoopee cushion. And that’s where the name came from."

What's your favorite real celeb name? Let us know in the comments below!