While you may hear about stars like Gigi Hadid and Jason Momoa on the daily now, you might be surprised to hear that those aren’t actually their real names. In fact, there are many celebrities whose real names will blow your mind.
There are many reasons why a celebrity would go by a different name. For some, it could just be because they wish to go by their nickname or their middle name, as is the case for those like Hadid and even the Duchess of Sussex, aka Rachel Meghan Markle. But, for others, there could be an even more surprising reason behind their stage name.
According to E! News, the reason behind their name changes could have a little something to do with rules set by the entertainment industry. In 2008, the publication spoke with Matt Fletcher, who’s represented actors such as Moises Arias, who said, "Sometimes it all comes down to the Screen Actors Guild and the IMDB." That’s because there are some rules that state that no two actors can register with the organization under the same name.
Given that one of the most famous royals of the moment goes by a totally different name than her given one, there’s probably a great chance that many other celebs out there go by some rather interesting monikers, too. So, who else has totally changed things up?
1. Meghan Markle
As mentioned, the world’s very own Duchess of Sussex actually has a different real name, which is Rachel. But, she’s widely known as Meghan and has even been referred to as such by the Queen on numerous occasions.
2. Jason Momoa
You might be surprised to learn that Jason Momoa’s real first name isn’t actually "Jason." (And no, Aquaman fans, it isn’t Arthur.) According to his bio on IMDb, his given first name is "Joseph," with Jason being one of his middle names.
3. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus’ parents had a different name in mind for her daughter when she was born. As her father, Billy Ray Cyrus noted during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2008, his daughter’s name was originally Destiny Hope for a very specific reason. He said, per Life & Style, "I had this vision that it was her destiny to bring hope to the world." But, thanks to her nickname of "Smiley," she quickly became known as the Miley everyone knows.
4. & 5. Gigi & Bella Hadid
Both of the Hadid sisters’ names may be a bit surprising. Gigi Hadid’s given first name is "Jelena," while Bella Hadid’s first name is — you guessed it — short for "Isabella."
6. Blake Lively
While her given first name, "Blake," has a wild backstory in and of itself, it’s Blake Lively’s real last name that might shock you. According to her IMDb biography, she was actually born, "Blake Ellender Brown," but has since changed her last name to "Lively," which is the last name her mother adopted for her stage name. Similarly, the rest of her family has since changed their last names, as well.
7. Mahershala Ali
You might know him as Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, but his given name is actually quite different. According to Time, his real full name is "Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore," with his first name being derived from the Bible. After he converted to Islam, he changed his last name to "Ali."
8. Kit Harington
According to Us Weekly, Kit Harington’s real first name is Christopher. and, wildly enough, he didn’t even know that until he was 11 years old. Yes, really. But, "Kit," which serves as a nickname for Christopher, is rather catchy (or… kitschy), no?
9. Olivia Munn
Olivia Munn’s first name is actually Lisa, but she changed her stage name to the slightly catchier "Olivia," which is her middle name.
10. Lily James
There’s a pretty emotional reason behind the Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again star changing her given name (Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson) to Lily James. As PopSugar noted, the actor’s father, James "Jamie" Thomson, passed away in 2008. So, she decided to honor her father by adopting his first name as her last for her stage name. How sweet is that?
Everyone’s favorite singer, Rihanna, might be known by only one name, but it’s a name that isn’t her first. Her given, full name will ring mighty familiar to anyone who’s a fan of the "Disturbia" singer’s beauty line. According to Vogue, Rihanna’s full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, with her middle name being Arabic and meaning "sweet basil."
12. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt is yet another star who has decided to use his middle name as a stage moniker, as his real full name is William Bradley Pitt.
13. & 14. Dakota & Elle Fanning
Both Dakota and Elle Fanning go by their middle names, with their actual first names being Hannah and Mary, respectively, per . Another couple of celebs going by their middle names; noticing a trend here?
15. Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello’s real first name is actually Karla. As she explained, in a behind-the-scenes clip for her "Havana" music video in 2017, “Karla is my first name, Camila is my middle name. Long story short, my family always called me Camila."
16. Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel’s actual name is very different than his stage one. The action star was born "Mark Sinclair," but obviously changed his name to the catchy moniker he’s known by today. I know that I can’t imagine him going by anything other than Vin Diesel.
17. Maisie Williams
As it turns out Maisie Williams’ first name is actually a nickname for her real first name of Margaret. The more you know.
18. Rooney Mara
Rooney is definitely an interesting moniker. Although, like many others on this list, it’s actually her middle name. Her given first name is Patricia.
19. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is known for her powerful singing voice and her undeniable musical talent. But, she’s not known by her given name of Alicia Cook. Her stage name of "Keys" ties in perfectly with her career, if I do say so myself.
20. Emma Stone
Emma Stone made a slight change when forming her stage name, as her actual first name is Emily. As for the reason behind the move, she explained to W Magazine in January 2017 that her given moniker, "Emily Stone" was "taken by another actress."
21. Nina Dobrev
Nina Dobrev shortened her given name when it came to choose one for acting purposes, as she was born Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva.
22. Bruno Mars
According to PopSugar, Bruno Mars was born Peter Gene Hernandez. The name Bruno was derived from a nickname he received when he was younger as his family felt that he resembled wrestler Bruno Sammartino.
So, the next time you hear the names of one of these celebs, you’ll now be in the know all about their not-so-secret, real moniker.
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