It’s always fascinating to learn celebrities’ real names—in part because there are so many examples of stage name switch-ups. After all, the road to stardom isn’t as simple as moving to Los Angeles, getting an agent, and booking your first job. There are a lot of steps on the way to becoming a household name. One of those, for many famous people: selecting a new moniker to use professionally.
Celebrities’ changing their birth names has been happening since Hollywood’s earliest days. (Case in point: Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson.) Some celebrities’ real names are changed because the star wants a flashier stage persona. Lana Del Rey, for example, changed hers from Lizzy Grant in an effort to distance herself from a failed project. Others switch for practical reasons, like the fact that another actor has already registered with SAG under that name. A few just simply wanted to be called something else, or changed up their name long before they arrived in Hollywood.
Whatever the reasoning, you’ll find some surprising celebrities’ real names below.