They used to be named WHAT?! | Celebrity Name Changes

Witherspoon

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Reese Witherspoon

Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon chopped off the first part of her name to make it the short, fame-friendly Reese Witherspoon.  “Reese” is her mother’s maiden name.  Her son with Ryan Phillippe sports the moniker as his middle name, Deacon Reese Phillippe.

Peter Gene Hernandez, Bruno Mars

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Bruno Mars

Peter Gene Hernandez was nicknamed Bruno at only 2-years old.  His father gave him the nickname because of his resemblance to legendary professional wrestler, Bruno Sammartino.  Today, slim and short, Bruno looks nothing like the inspiration for his nickname.  Bruno added “Mars” to complete his stage name – he is quoted saying “..a lot of girls say I’m out of this world, so I was like I guess I’m from Mars.”

Lady Gaga, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta

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Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga was Born This Way…Not. She was actually born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Her stage name came from an auto-correct text error by her boyfriend at the time, music producer Rob Fusari.  He was texting her “Radio Ga Ga”, a Queen song that he calls Gaga’s entrance song, and it corrected to Lady Gaga.

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Carmen Electra

The name Tara Leigh Patrick definitely doesn’t have the same spark as Carmen Electra.  The glamourous model and former Baywatch actress changed her name to Carmen Electra in 1991 during an attempt at a singing career.  She was signed to Paisley Park records – Prince’s record label.

Vin Diesel, Mark Sinclair, Mark Vincent

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Vin Diesel

Here comes Mark Sinclair.  Here comes VIN DIESEL!  Vin Diesel sounds way more badass, which is the reason the American action film actor changed his name.  He made the name switch while working as a bouncer at a New York nightclub.  Vin is taken from his stepfather’s last name, Vincent.  Diesel is a nickname given by friends because of Vin’s non-stop energy.

Joan Rivers, Joan Alexandra Molinsky

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Joan Rivers

Before her face was nipped and tucked, Joan Rivers did some tweaking to her name.  Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky, she adopted her stage name, Joan Rivers, in the fifties.  Her agent, Tony Rivers, advised Joan to change her name.  He must have been pleased when she decided on his last name.

Jay-Z, Jay Z, Jaz-O, Shawn Carter

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Jay Z

Famous American rapper Jay Z was born with the name Shawn Corey Carter.  The nickname, Jay Z has well served  the most successful hip-hop artist in America.  There is a lot of meaning tied up in Jay Z’s stage name.  Growing up in the rough Bed-Stuy neighborhood of New York City, the young rapper was nicknamed Jazzy.  The subway stop in his neighborhood was called the J/Z.  Lastly, Jay Z’s musical mentor is rapper Jaz-O.  Jay Z and Jaz-O’s relationship turned sour after Jay Z started Roc-A-Fella Records, and Jaz-O refused to sign to the label.   Jay Z and Jaz-O often diss each other in songs.  In 2013, Jay Z removed the hyphen from his name (perhaps to remind himself less of Jaz-O).