As Billy Shakespeare – ahem, William – once asked, “What’s in a name?” It turns out the answer is a “whole lot” when it comes to the entertainment industry. It’s not a huge secret that some of our favorite celebrities use stage names. The practice has been going on for decades and each artist chooses one for different reasons.
For instance, Michael Keaton was born Michael Douglas but that name was already registered with the Screen Actor’s Guild. Another reason an artist uses a pseudonym is to eliminate confusion. David Bowie’s birth name was David Jones, but he didn’t want to be confused with another musician, Davy Jones.
Other times, a manager or agent may change an artist’s name as in the case of Archibald Leach, who had his name changed to Cary Grant by Paramount Pictures. Still, some just like a little good ol’ fashioned anonymity. Some celebrities have no qualms about sharing their real names, while others like their stage name so much that they legally change it to them. Check out 15 celebs who revealed their real names and the reasons for using a pseudonym…
1. Katy Perry
Born: Katheryn Hudson
The pop star told Harper’s Bazaar in 2010 that she adopted her mom’s maiden name to distinguish herself from actress Kate Hudson.
2. Natalie Portman
Born: Neta-Lee Hershlag
It’s been well documented that when she was younger and just breaking into showbiz, she started using her maternal grandmother’s last name, Portman, and spelling her name “Natalie” to be more marketable.
3. Bruno Mars
Born: Peter Gene Hernandez
Bruno Mars explained to Rap Up: “Bruno is after Bruno Sammartino, who was this big, fat wrestler. I was this chunky little baby, so my dad used to call me that as a nickname. Mars came up because a lot of girls say I’m out of this world!”