Being a famous star has all types of aspects to it beyond the music itself. Famous actors, musicians, and pop stars all have a publicist who decides their every move. Publicists determine what you say, what you eat, who you see in public, what you wear, and even what your stage name is! Many of the stars we know and love today all have their own private name as well as their stage name. We sought out to find out what the real names are of some of the world’s biggest pop stars.
Meghan Markle took the world by storm when she announced that she was engaged to Prince William. Her career before that was one of a simple actress, an all-American girl, with all American attributes. She is the first American to be married into the royal family, and she is already shaking up the system and making it her own. It’s interesting if she would have been able to do this all under her real name. Rachel Meghan Markle.
Christopher Catesby Harington came into the limelight following his iconic performance on the iconic hit show Game of Thrones. On GoT he plays one of the main heroes in the plot line by the name of John Snow. According to Kit, having an alternative name is typical in his family. His brother’s name is Jack, but his real name is John and Kit said: “that’s not fair, I want a different name too!”
Mindy Kaling, is an American actress, comedian, writer, and producer. From 2005 to 2013, she was best known for her role on the ultra-successful hit sitcom, “The Office.” Like many stars in showbiz, Mindy Kaling’s birth name was substituted in order to be more relatable to a broad audience. Her real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam.
Miley Cyrus is by far the most prominent female pop star of the 21st century. She has grown from being a young G-rated Disney star to being an international influencing female power. Cyrus sets daily trends from social behavior to fashion, and even spearheading activist causes. Her birth name is Destiny Hope Cyrus, (which is a pop star name in its own respects.) Her nickname as a child was “Smiley” so when choosing a pop star name that was shorter and more brand oriented, she wanted the name, Miley.
Reese Witherspoon is known for her many roles in movies from the early 90s to the mid-millennium. She has played in films such as legally blond and walk the line. Her real name is Spoon Withereese, just kidding it Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon.
Brad Pitt is known for his many roles as the bad boy in action movies across the spectrum of the genre. Whether he is the playing Achilles in the movie Troy, or a (spy version of himself basically,) in the film Mr. and Miss. Smith. Would he have had the same success under his real name William Bradley Pitt?
Nicki Minaj’s original, impactful energy on stage encaptivates her audience. Her performances have won her critical acclaim across the world, and her song lyrics and music videos are some of the most controversial of our time. Her original name is very different from her iconic stage name. Please welcome to the stage “Onika Tanya Maraj!”
Some stars have a great name, to begin with, but don’t really have an interest in saying their full name. Kesha Rose Sebert knew that her first name was just enough to stick. All she needed to do (Ke$ha) was write it differently and bam you have a pop star name!
Jelena Noura Hadid is an iconic model of the modern 21st century. According to Jelena, when her mother was young, she was nicknamed “Gigi,” so the nickname was passed down to Jelena as a child, and it was the perfect branding choice for her career name as a model.
Cardi B started her career as a gentleman’s club dancer and a female escort. Her real name is Belcalls Almanzar. Her sister’s name is Hennessey, so it earned her the nickname Bacardi growing up. So, it only makes sense that she would shorten that name to Cardi. Well, the proof is in the pudding, the name sticks!
When Julie Anne Smith started her acting career in Hollywood, there was already an actress named Julie Smith, and another actress by the name of Julie Anne Smith. So, her original name was not in the cards for her career. “My dad’s name was Peter Moore Smith, and my mother’s name was Anne Smith, and I used both their names, so I wouldn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.”
Okay so let’s be honest here. Rappers names are obviously mostly faked. It’s not like a child is born, and the parents look down on the baby with their eyes glimmering and say, “let’s call him Wiz Khalifa.” Khalifa’s real name, in fact, is Cameron Jibril Thomaz. Not a real rappers name that sticks if you ask me!
Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) is known to her fans or (monsters) as the second coming of the iconic 80s pop star Madonna. Gaga sports a new look every day with some looks like the “meat dress” setting a new standard for appropriate attire on the red carpet.
Katy Perry is best known for her singles “I Kissed a Girl,” “Eye of the Tiger,” and “Fireworks” and many more. Her real name is Katheryn Hudson, but when she is on stage inspiring young girls and boys to be strong a positive, she changes into her stage name Katy Perry.
Singer, producer and songwriter Bruno Mars began his career in pop performing with his family for tourists in the state of Hawaii at the young age of five! His name was changed from Peter Gene Hernandez to Bruno by his parents who nicknamed him after their favorite wrestler Bruno Sammartino.
Olivia Wilde is a critically acclaimed American actress, model, producer, director, and activist. She is known by many as the modern-day renaissance woman. She is best known for her role as Dr. Remy on the show House. Can you guess what her real name is though? I bet you can’t? It’s Olivia Cockburn. Not your average PG stage name.
Rihanna has dominated the hip-hop charts since her debut single “Pon de Replay” came out on May 2005. The star was actually found by American Idol judge Simon Cowell and has been a huge hit ever since. I wonder if it was his idea to change her name from Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
When Fergie (real name Stacy Ann Ferguson) was introduced to be the new member of the Black-Eyed Peas, the rest of the band was actually very against the idea. As history shows us, though, not letting her join the group would have been the biggest mistake in their careers. Fergie’s real name still shows up on the credits for the role she played in the 90s show “Kid’s Incorporated.”
Vin Diesel was born Mark Vincent but started using the name Vin while working as a bouncer in New York. Diesel was a nickname his friends had for him because of his boundless energy. He once explained that he took the name Vin Diesel because as a bouncer you don’t give out your real name. Well, what a way to start a career!
Portia de Rossi
Australian actress Portia de Rossi (full name Portia Lee James DeGeneres) got her stage name at the young age of 15 just as her modeling and acting career was beginning to pick up steam. She’s said she had the intention of reinventing herself and chose her new name from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Natalie Portman comes from a Jewish background, and since she understood very well the anti-Semitism in Hollywood was and is still very alive, she decided to keep her last name “Hershlag” private at the beginning of her career. Today there is nothing to hide as she has influenced women around the world to be strong, healthy, and happy.
So, let’s put all religion into the adult perspective for a second. All religions seem to have a lot of things in common and follow a storyline of a creator, a messiah, and heaven and hell. All have their own odd interpretations on the creation and reason for human existence, but the king of all ridiculous religions is, and Tom Cruise is the messiah of Scientology. I wonder they were the first to know that his real name is Thomas Mapother IV.
Queen Latifah started out as a New York hip hop artist in the 1980s and made her way into acting in the early millennium with movies like Taxi, Beauty Shop, and Hair Spray. She always seems to play the motherly figure with all the wisdom. Just like a Queen. Her real name though is Dana Elaine Owens.
Charlie Sheen is best known for his part as the main character in the movie Platoon that depicts the hardships and drama of the Vietnam war. His recent work was playing himself basically in the show Two and a Half Men. Could you have even imagined his real name being Carlos Esteves?
Pink is one of the first female pop-rock stars to make it big in the early 2000s. She portrays a message of strength and empowerment to her female audience and gives inspiration to girls around the world to be the best version of themselves they can think of! Even with her real name Alecia Beth Moore, she would have done just fine, but Pink is just way catchier.
Madonna changed the game in the 80s for what it meant to be a female pop idol. Her performances on stage were some of the most controversial and exciting performances in pop history. Her name is her real name, but she dropped the rest as her full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone.
Fo shizzle dizzle Snood Dog rizzle nizzle was Calvin Broadus. His real name growing up was Calvin Broadus. His stage name Snoop Dog was much more of a catch for his style. Beyond that he also recently attempted to change his name to Snoop Lion and declared himself the reincarnation of Bob Marley, he was then respectfully asked by the Rastafari community to change it back to Snoop Dog.
Sir Elton John
Long before he was Knighted by the Queen of England. Sir Elton John was just an ordinary chap like you and me. That’s until he decided he wanted a change to his identity and took the names of his band members and decided to change his name from Reginald Kenneth Dwight. Well, look at him now!
Caryn Johnson is a lovely name don’t get me wrong, but it does not capture the energy, love, and devotion to society that is Whoopi Goldberg. Best known today for her role as one of the hosts on the talk show “The View” Goldberg has been around making us smile and giving us comfort on television since the early 80s.
Bono is one of the most iconic rock stars of the 20th century. He was the lead singer on the band U2 and usually had the crowd roaring as he climbed around set in festivals and shows across the globe. The Australian rock artist had brought the mullet hair cut all the way from Australia with him to California and has not looked back since. I wonder if his fate would have changed if he would have kept the name, Paul David Hewson.
Adele is one of the most beautiful voices of modern pop music of the 21st century. Just like many other artists on the list. Adele is actually her real name. She just failed to mention to us that her full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins.
George Michael is best known for his hits Careless Whisper, Freedom! ’90, Father Figure, One More Time, and much much more! His name before he rose to stardom was not George Michael though. It’s actually Georgios Panayiotou. He could have been a Greek icon with that name!
At 16, the Oscar-winning actress was asked to rebrand and choose a new name seeing how there was already an Emily Stone in Hollywood. She wanted Riley, but couldn’t get used to it, so she opted for a name that was closer to her given name. Stone claims though that people in her inner circle just call her “M.”
Alicia Keys’ real name is actually Alicia Augello-Cook. Although she wanted to change her name to Alicia Wild, her mother knew she was way more than just a wild girl, and the two settled on her stage name being Alicia Keys.
Remember Charlie Sheen? Well after some drama on the set of Two and a Half Men. Model/Actor Ashton Kutcher swiped the lead role and took on the part of playing a more immature boyish version of himself as well. Unlike other stars on the list, Kutcher Left out his first name and kept the rest. His full name is Christopher Ashton Kutcher.
In a 2009 interview with Shortlist, the DJ Calvin Harris or (Adam Richard Wiles) explained that he adopted his stage name in order to sound more relatable to a diverse audience. Also let’s be Honest Adam Richard Wiles is a bit of a long DJ name.
American singer-songwriter and actress Amanda Leigh “Mandy” Moore signed with Epic Records and came to fame with the release of her debut single “Candy,” which peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. Amanda is a beautiful name too! She could have kept it the way it is.
Shawn Corey Carter, known professionally as Jay-Z, is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. Considered among the best rappers of all time. He is also married to the Queen Bee, only the most powerful woman in the world!
We all know Drake from growing up watching the hit Canadian Disney show Degrassi. Somewhere along the way, the young Jewish Canadian boy decided that it was time for him to stop being Aubrey Drake Graham and start the life of his true calling as Drake the hip-hop rapper.
Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel, known professionally as Seal, is a British singer-songwriter. He has sold over 20 million records worldwide, with his first international hit song, “Crazy,” released in 1991. I thought he just really like Seal’s and that’s why he changed his name. But let’s face it, Henry Olusegun Adeola is too long of a name.