ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

You'll be very surprised to know that the names that celebrities have on their birth certificates often differ greatly from how you might know them on the big screen.

Whether for work purposes, personal reasons or simply to help avoid getting us in a complex tongue twist, A-listers have many causes to change their names.

Below, take a look at 15 of Hollywood's finest and discover what they were really called before they rose to stratospheric fame.

1. Whoopi Goldberg

Real name: Caryn Elaine Johnson

Apparently, the Sister Act actress chose the first part of her stage name from often being referred to as "a whoopee cushion" due to outbursts of frequent flatulence on stage.

2. Michael Caine

Real name: Maurice Joseph Micklewhite

Seeing as his full-name was quite the mouthful, it's no wonder that Maurice decided to change his on-screen name. Apparently, it was also to distinguish himself from his working-class background.

3. Demi Moore

Real name: Demetria Gene Guynes

Demi kept the name of her first husband when they divorced in 1984.

4. Katy Perry

Real name: Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson

Before she became a bonafide sex siren and pop queen, Katy was producing Christian music under her birth name Kathryn Hudson. To avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson, she adopted her mother's maiden name.

5. Carmen Electra

Real name: Tara Leigh Patrick

Carmen once explained the reasons for her name change:

"When I was coming out with my debut album, there was another artist named Tara on the charts. Prince gave me my name, called me into the studio the next day, where I recorded, Carmen On Top. That’s when the name really stuck."

6. Mila Kunis

Real name: Milena Markovna Kunis

When she was 7, Milena moved to the US from the Ukraine. After enrolling her into acting classes, her parents changed her name to Mila to avoid confusion when booking roles.

If you need reminding of how far she's come, take a look at her in action in the Jupiter Ascending trailer:

7. Elton John

Real name: Reginald Kenneth Dwight

Oh, and his middle name is also Hercules. No joke.

8. Eminem

Real name: Marshal Bruce Mathers III

A long name like that would have never even fit on the charts, so it's understandable he changed it.

9. Marilyn Monroe

Real name: Norma Jeane Baker

Despite being baptized Norma Jeane Baker, Marilyn's name on her birth certificate was actually Norma Jeana Mortenson. She didn't change her name legally until 1956 and when she married playwright Arthur Miller, she actually became Marilyn Monroe Miller, often using the initials MMM.

10. Tom Cruise

Real name: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV

Tom Cruise's papa was Thomas Mapother III, so naturally he was given the same birth name.

11. Vin Diesel

Real name: Mark Sinclair

Check out Vin putting the pedal to the metal in Furious 7:

12. Lana del Rey

Real name: Elizabeth Woolridge Grant

Here she is talking about how she came by her name herself:

13. Miley Cyrus

Real name: Destiny Hope Cyrus

In honor of her nickname "Smiley," Miley legally changed her name in 2008.

14. Olivia Wilde

Real name: Olivia Jane Cockburn

Born Cockburn, the actress changed her name to Wilde after playing in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest when she was at school.

15. Nicki Minaj

Real name: Onika Tanya Maraj

Back when she was Onika, the voluptuous lady actually strove to be an actress rather than a rapper. A name change was necessary if she was to make it in the music business.



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