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Why 12 Celebrities Secretly Changed Their Names

Why 12 of Hollywood's biggest celebrities changed their names.

You will be shocked to know that the names of household celebrities are often differ greatly from the names they were born with. Whether for career purposes, personal reasons or simply to help avoid getting in a complex tongue twist, A-list actors have many reasons to change their names. Here is a list of 12 of Hollywood's biggest celebrities their original names and why they changed their names.

12. Whoopi Goldberg (Caryn Elaine Johnson)

Her stage name, Whoopi, was taken from a whoopee cushion; she has stated that "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from."
People would ask me in a roundabout way, 'So are you?' And I would say 'What?' And they'd say 'What does your name mean?' And I would say 'Do you mean Whoopi?' And they'd say 'No, the other name.' And then they would say 'Come on, are you Jewish?' And I always say 'Would you ask me that if I was white? I bet not.'" The name is wonderful for starting conversations." "My mother did not name me Whoopi, but Goldberg is my name, it's part of my family, part of my heritage. Just like being black."
One rumor argues that her mother, Emma Johnson, thought that the family's original surname was "not Jewish enough" for her daughter to become a star in Hollywood.

11. Michael Caine (Maurice Joseph Micklewhite)

Michael Caine changed his name because it would allow for him to stand out from his other "Micklewhites" because that last name was considered a "working-class" group of people.

10. Demi Moore (Demtria Gene Guynes)

Demi Moore kept the name of her first husband when they divorced in 1984.

9. Katy Perry (Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson)

Before Katy Perry was a chart topping artist, Katy was producing Christian music under her real name. To avoid confusion with the actress Kate Hudson, she adopted her mother's maiden name.

8. Carmen Electra (Tara Leigh Patrick)

Carmen once explained the reasons for her name change in a interview:
"When I was coming out with my debut album, there was another artist named Tara on the charts. Prince gave me my name, called me into the studio the next day, where I recorded, Carmen On Top. That’s when the name really stuck."

7. Mila Kunis (Milena Markovna Kunis)

When Mila Kunis was 7, she moved to the US from the Ukraine. After starting acting classes, her parents changed her name to avoid casting directors from mispronouncing her name.

6. Eminem (Marshall Bruce Mathers III)

At age 14, he began rapping with high-school friend Mike Ruby; they adopted the names "Manix" and "M&M," which evolved into "Eminem".

5. Tom Cruise (Thomas Cruise Mapother IV)

Tom Cruise was beaten by his father, who Cruise has said was a bully and coward.
He was the kind of person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life—how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang! For me, it was like, 'There's something wrong with this guy. Don't trust him. Be careful around him.'
It is rumored that Tom Cruise dropped his original last name to separate himself from his father.

4. Vin Diesel (Mark Sinclair)

Vin Diesel never knew his real father. He was raised in New York City by his Caucasian mother and African-American stepfather, Irving H. Vincent, an acting instructor and theater manager.

3. Miley Cyrus (Destiny Hope Cyrus)

In honor of her nickname "Smiley," Miley later legally changed her real name in 2008.

2. Olivia Wilde (Olivia Jane Cockburn)

Olivia Wilde changed her name to Wilde after plaing in Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest' stage play when she was in school.

1. Nicki Minaj (Onika Tanya Maraj)

Back when Nicki Minaj was simply known as Onika, the aspiring actress changed her name so she could be more recognizable in the film industry. The name later caught on while she pursued a music career. Sources: ebaumsworld.com What do you think? Discuss this story with fellow Project Casting fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @projectcasting.

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