Stage Name: Nicki Minaj
Real Name: Onika Tanya Maraj
Oddly enough, Onika Maraj doesn’t love being called Nicki Minaj. The name was forced onto her by an early producer and it stuck. Minaj is no stranger to alternate identities: She often played different characters at home to escape domestic drama, and even now develops new personas—she identifies herself as Chun-Li on Twitter.
Stage Name: Ice Cube
Real Name: O’Shea Jackson
As one of the pioneers of gangster rap, O’Shea Jackson took a nickname just like everyone else in N.W.A., his hip-hop group that also launched the careers of Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. The name came from his older brother, who threatened to turn O’Shea into an ice cube for hitting on girls that were coming to the house to visit him.
Stage Name: Meg Ryan
Real Name: Margaret Hyra
Meg Ryan has been playing the “girl next door” for most of her career, but when she was truly the girl next door, her name was Margaret Hyra. She used her maternal grandmother’s maiden name to change her stage surname to Ryan and shortened Margaret to Meg.
Stage Name: Elton John
Real Name: Reginald Kenneth Dwight
The singer of “Rocket Man” and “Benny & The Jets” started his life as Reginald Kenneth Dwight. In 1967, he changed his name to Elton John; a combination of the names of the saxophone player and lead singer of his band at the time, Bluesology.
Stage Name: Elizabeth Banks
Real Name: Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell
Elizabeth Banks has become a bankable movie star after stints in “The Hunger Games” and “Pitch Perfect” franchises, but she only became a Banks because the name “Elizabeth Mitchell” was already registered with the Screen Actors Guild. As it turns out, “Lost” star Elizabeth Mitchell beat her name-twin to the punch, forcing the former Liz Mitchell to become Elizabeth Banks.
Stage Name: Faith Hill
Real Name: Audrey Faith Perry
The artist born Audrey Perry adopted her middle name for the stage, appropriate for a country music star who occasionally sings about her own faith. Hill's last name came from her first marriage, and the singer held onto even it after the marriage ended. Now she’s married to Tim McGraw, who was born as Samuel Smith.
Stage Name: Stevie Wonder
Real Name: Stevland Hardaway Judkins
When the young R&B prodigy was just starting out at age 11, Motown records impresario Berry Gordy christened him as Little Stevie Wonder. He’s since dropped the “Little,” but Stevie Wonder has never returned to being Stevland Judkins.
Stage Name: Charlie Sheen
Real Name: Carlos Irwin Estévez
Charlie Sheen is a second-generation name-changer. His father, Martin Sheen, was born as Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez and Charlie followed suit. Interestingly, Sheen’s brother Emilio Estévez kept his birth name and still found success as an actor.
Portia de Rossi
Stage Name: Portia de Rossi
Real Name: Amanda Lee Rogers
Actress Portia de Rossi was born in Australia as Amanda Lee Rogers. In an attempt to stand out at auditions, she took the first name of her favorite Shakespeare character and added “de Rossi” because she believed it sounded exotic. Today, she has a new official name: After marrying Ellen Degeneres and taking her wife’s last name, de Rossi is now legally known as Portia Lee James DeGeneres.
Stage Name: Ringo Starr
Real Name: Richard Starkey
The only member of The Beatles to change his name was Ringo Starr, who changed it while playing in his first professional band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Storm suggested the name based on Ringo’s penchant for wearing rings, but his wife still calls him Ritchie.2018 All rights reserved.