Pseudonyms aren’t very rare in Hollywood. Most celebrities, even the ones with normal-sounding names, use one. Whether it’s to protect their private life, the people around them or because they just have a name that doesn’t have a ring to it and their manager decided they needed something with a bit more “oomph” to it, most celebrities have decided at one point or another to change their original name into something else.
If you put the original name next to the pseudonym, it’s often very obvious to see the reason behind the name change. These people for example, changed their names simply to make it more pronounceable, American, short and/or recognizable:
Her real name is Neta-Lee Hershlag. It looks a lot weirder than it sounds, doesn’t it? Portman was the maiden name of her grandmother.
Yup, that’s not his real name. His actual name is William Bradley Pitt.
Jennifer’s real name is Jennifer Linn Anastassakis, which immediately reveals her Greek roots. Her family changed the name to Aniston when they moved to the US.
The Ukrainian Mila is actually named Milena Markovna Kunis.
What? Gigi isn’t a real name? Oh the humanity! Her real name is Jelena Noura Hadid. “Gigi” just sounds more memorable.
And then there’s these people, who has a perfectly fine name (well, perfect-ish) and decided to use a pseudonym as a real “artist name”. It’s not as much creating a new name as it is creating a marketing brand and an icon along with it.
Her real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor. See? Perfect-ish.
Despite naming himself as a wild animal from the jungle, his real name is actually Micheal Ray Stevenson.
You all know this one – it’s Dwayne Johnson.
Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Snoop Doggy Dogg’s real name is actually Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. Imagine being named Calvin Cordozar Broadus and thinking “my son should have the same name.” Gangsta-fact: Snoop Dogg’s mom called him “Snoopy”, that’s why he’s now Snoop D-O-Double G.
And in rare occasions, celebrities even change their names to avoid confusion with other people. If you’re trying to be famous, it probably helps if you don’t get confused with someone more famous than you (when you’re starting out, that is).
Her real name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, but as we all know, Kate Hudson is already a person.
Her real name is Julie Anne Smith, but when she started out in Hollywood there was already a Julie Smith and a Julie Anne Smith. Since she was last to start out, she had to change her name to avoid confusion.
I know what you’re thinking – there’s only one Michael Keaton. Yes, but there’s two Michael Douglases: Michael is actually named Michael John Douglas.