Celebrities have been changing their names for decades in order to give themselves more pizzazz, but their weird and wonderful reasons behind their stage names are fascinating!
Name: Lady Gaga Real name: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta Why: Her ex-boyfriend and music producer Rob Fusari used to call her Gaga after the Queen song 'Radio Ga Ga'. Also, Freddie Mercury is one of her heroes.
Name: Prince Harry Real name: Henry Charles Albert David Why: Harry is just a nickname!
Name: Meghan Markle Real name: Rachel Meghan Markle Why: Coincidentally, Meghan's birth name is the same as her character's name on Suits! She hasn't revealed why she chooses to go by her middle name, but at her wedding in 2019, the Queen blessed their marriage using the name Rachel.
Name: Miley Cyrus Real name: Destiny Hope Cyrus Why: The singer's stage name was inspired by her childhood nickname, Smiley — apparently she was constantly grinning as a baby. In 2008, she legally changed her name to Miley.
Name: Cardi B Real name: Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar Why: The rapper derived her stage name from Bacardi rum. "My sister's name is Hennessy," Cardi B explained to Jimmy Fallon. "So everyone used to call me Bacardi, and I started calling myself Bacardi, and then just shortened it to Cardi B."
Name: Jamie Foxx Real name: Eric Marlon Bishop Why: Jamie chose the name because he wanted to be mistaken for a woman! When he started performing at open mic nights in 1989, female comedians were routinely called to the stage ahead of the male comics and he didn't want to have to wait around!
Name: Blake Lively Real name: Blake Ellender Brown Why: She decided to take her mother's surname when she began acting.
Name: Halsey Real name: Ashley Frangipane Why: The singer got her stage name from a street in Brooklyn, Halsey Street, where her friend used to live. Halsey spent a lot of time there making music, so it seemed a fitting stage name. Plus, Halsey is an anagram of Ashley!
Name: Katy Perry Real name: Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson Why: She changed her last name to Perry (her mother's maiden name) to avoid being mistaken for Kate Hudson. Fair enough!
Name: Charlie Sheen Real name: Carlos Irwin Estevez Why: He changed it after deciding to become an actor and chose Charlie because it's the fun version of Charles, which is the English version of his actual name, Carlos. And Sheen is his father Martin Sheen's stage surname.
Name: Whoopi Goldberg Real name: Caryn Elaine Johnson Why: Ever the comedian, the actress changed her name to Whoopi, which was taken from a whoopee cushion! What?! She once told the New York Times, "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me 'You're like a whoopee cushion.'"
Name: Lorde Real name: Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor Why: Lorde is quite a regal stage name and the singer says that she chose it because she's always been really into royalty and aristocracy. So she opted for Lorde because she thought it was "super rad" and added an 'e' at the end to give it a more feminine spin. To be fair her real name would have been quite a mouthful!
Name: Reese Witherspoon Real name: Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon Why: She legally changed her first name to Reese, which was her mother's maiden name. She probably figured it had more of a ring to it than Laura.
Name: Iggy Azalea Real name: Amethyst Amelia Kelly Why: The first part of her name originated from her beloved dog Iggy — who she named after rock legend Iggy Pop. The second part came about after her grandfather told her she couldn't just have a one-word stage name. She ended up going with the name of the street where her family lived.
Name: Elton John Real name: Reginald Kenneth Dwight Why: The rock icon changed his name by deed poll in 1972. The moniker came from Elton Dean, a saxophonist, and Long John Baldry, a British blues musician. He's all about the music!
Name: Rihanna Real name: Robyn Fenty Why: There is already another singer called Robyn, so RiRi decided to use her middle name 'Rihanna' as her stage name. Simples.
Name: Bruno Mars Real name: Peter Hernandez Why: He was fed up being pigeonholed as just another Latino artist when he first moved to LA at 17 and he wanted to avoid being stereotyped. He was looking for something "out of this world", so he chose Mars.
Name: Fergie Duhamel Real name: Stacy Ann Ferguson Why: Back in 2013, four and a half years after marrying actor Josh Duhamel, the Black Eyed Peas star filed papers to officially change her name to Fergie Duhamel because she said this is how everyone now knows her.
Portia De Rossi
Name: Portia De Rossi Real name: Amanda Lee Rogers Why: Portia changed it legally when she was 15 and has said that, in retrospect, it had a lot to do with her struggle with being gay. She says she was trying to find things she could identify with, which started with changing her name. "I picked Portia because I was a Shakespeare fan [Portia is the character in The Merchant of Venice]. De Rossi because I was Australian and I thought that an exotic Italian name would somehow suit me more than Amanda Rogers," she said. "When you live in Australia, Europe is so far away and so fascinating, so stylish and cultured and sophisticated."