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Surprising Real Names of Celebrities

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various topics including celebrities and entertainment.

Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump

I am fascinated with names and their origins. When I learned that Ivanka is not the real name of President Donald Trump's daughter, I thought it was interesting enough to share because most people think Ivanka is the name given to her at birth. There are many celebrities who use stage names for different reasons.

1. Ivanka Trump

Donald Trump's first wife was Ivana Trump. They named their oldest son Donald John Trump Jr. after his father. Likewise, they named their only daughter Ivana Marie Trump after her mother.

Ivanka once tweeted that her actual name is Ivana just like her mother's. In Czech, Ivanka is an endearing nickname for Ivana, like Bobby is for Robert. It was better to call Ivanka by her nickname to distinguish it from her mother's name when both of them were together.

Ivanka served as senior advisor to Trump during his presidency. She is married to Jared Kushner, who also served as senior advisor to his father-in-law. Ivanka and Jared are parents to three young children, a daughter and two sons.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie

2. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry's first name is not Harry. Even though royals don't usually have nicknames, Prince Harry does because his real name is Henry.

Prince Harry married someone whose first name is not Meghan. His wife's name is actually Rachel Meghan Markle. She doesn't use a nickname. Instead, she uses her middle name. Interestingly, when she starred in the legal drama Suits, her character's name was Rachel.

The third member of the famous family does not have a nickname. His name is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. He is known as just Archie.

Sasha Obama

Sasha Obama

3. Sasha Obama

Sasha is not the real name of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama's youngest daughter. When the parents filed taxes when they were in the White House, it came to the public's attention that Sasha's birth name is actually Natasha.

Why Do Celebrities Change Their Names?

Sometimes celebrities change their names voluntarily. Sometimes their agents change their name for more appeal and to make them easier to pronounce and spell. Long names are shortened, and sometimes first names are eliminated and celebrities go by their middle names.

If a name has a negative connotation or unintentional humor, the name is changed to a more pleasant-sounding one. If a star has the same name as another famous person, then his middle initial is used. For example, actor Michael B. Jordan's name is used to make the distinction from the basketball icon Michael Jordan.

4. Whoopi Goldberg

A well-known actress and television personality's first and last names were changed for a creative reason. Whoopi Goldberg's legal name is Caryn Elaine Johnson. She is known as Whoopi because of her need to use the whoopee cushion when she was younger because of a gas problem.

When Whoopi went into show business, her mother Emma Johnson thought the family's original surname was "not Jewish enough" for her daughter to become a star. So her last name was changed to Goldberg. Her mother might have been right because Whoopi is so successful that she is a member of an exclusive club of only 15 people—including only two black people: Whoopi and John Legend—who are known by the acronym EGOT. That means they have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

John Legend

John Legend

5. John Legend

Speaking of Legend, his legal name is John Roger Stephens, and he used that name until 1999. He was working as a management consultant while trying to become a musician by playing nightclub gigs and knocking on doors trying to get a record deal under his real name without being successful.

His friends started to call him "Legend" because of his old-school sound. John says the name grew on his even though he would not have chosen it for himself. The rest is "legendary" history.

There are many celebrities who changed their names. If you are ever in doubt about someone's real name, just look them up on Wikipedia and you will see their birth name along with the reason it was changed.


Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 09, 2020:

So interesting. I had no idea.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 09, 2020:

Tim, I enjoy knowing about names. I have come across some interesting ones. At my church, there are twins named William Ralph and Ralph William. Another set of twin women are both named Mary with a different middle name.

I once had a client named Basil (pronounced like the condiment) and his son was named Basil (pronounced a different way). I had a student named Alonza and another named Alonzo in the same class. I had to think carefully about whether to use the "a" or the "o" because they were offended if I mispronounced their names.

My daughter is named Terri and my teenage granddaughter is named Tori. Whenever we are together, I find myself saying Tori while looking at Terri and vice-versa. When Tori was younger, she said I had to give her a dollar every time I called her Terri.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on February 09, 2020:

I was surprised by Evanka's real name, but not surprised so many people change there names. Great and interesting article. Gratitude.