13 Famous Women Whose Real Names Few People Know
Many celebrities make up stage names to promote their careers. They may do this because their real names aren’t memorable enough, they want to avoid sounding like other celebrities, or they want to draw a line between their working and personal lives.
At Bright Side, we found 13 famous women whose stage names are quite different from the ones you’d find on their passports.
Milla Jovovich — Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich
Milica Bogdanovna made her real name shorter, so it became Milla. But she decided to keep her father’s last name, who was of Montenegrin ancestry.
Michèle Mercier — Jocelyne Yvonne Renée Mercier
The real name of the actress who plays the magnificent Angelique is Jocelyne Yvonne Renée Mercier. Producers didn’t like it because it was too long and old-fashioned, in their opinion. That was why Jocelyne was replaced with Michèle. This was the name of her younger sister who died at the age of 5 from typhoid fever.
Catherine Deneuve — Catherine Fabienne Dorléac
Catherine Deneuve’s real name is Catherine Fabienne Dorléac. Deneuve was her mother’s maiden name, which she chose for her stage name in order to differentiate herself from her older sister, Françoise Dorléac, who was a famous actress at that time.
Greta Garbo — Greta Lovisa Gustafsson
Greta Garbo’s real last name was Lovisa Gustafsson. Lovisa was her mother’s surname, and Gustafsson was her father’s surname. However, the actress became famous with the bright stage name, Garbo.
Heidi Klum — Heidi Kaulitz
Heidi legally changed her last name from Klum to her husband’s surname. Since 2019, she has been married to Tokio Hotel guitarist Tom Kaulitz who is 16 years her junior.
Jessica Biel — Jessica Claire Timberlake
In 2012, Jessica Biel married the popular singer, Justin Timberlake. She legally changed her last name to Timberlake, and since then, she has gone by Jessica Timberlake in all her documents.
Maisie Williams — Margaret Constance Williams
The actress who played the role of Arya Stark in the popular TV series, Game of Thrones, uses the stage name, Maisie, instead of Margaret, which is her real name. Maisie is her nickname in the family because of her perceived likeness to the cartoon character from the UK newspaper comic strip, The Perishers.
Lauren Bacall — Betty Joan Perske
Lauren Bacall’s parents named their daughter Betty Joan Perske. When the actress was 5 years old, her father left them. This was one of the reasons why she took her grandmother’s name, Bacal, eventually adding the second “L” to make it easier to pronounce. Later she changed Betty to the more high-toned Lauren.
Jessica Simpson — Jessica Ann Johnson
Actress and singer Jessica Simpson is married to football player Eric Johnson. After their wedding in 2014, she took the last name of her husband.
Lily James — Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson
Lily James’ father, James Thomson, died from a serious disease in 2008. She took her father’s first name as her stage name when she learned there was already an actress named Lily Thomson.
Sophie Turner — Sophie Belinda Jonas
Sophie Turner, the leading actress from Game of Thrones, became Sophie Jonas after her marriage to the American musician, Joe Jonas. In 2020, Sophie gave birth to their daughter.
Audrey Hepburn — Audrey Kathleen Ruston
Audrey Kathleen Ruston is the real name of the famous actress from Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Although her father was born with the surname, Ruston, he later double-barrelled his name to the more “aristocratic” Hepburn-Ruston, as he mistakenly believed himself to be a descendant of James Hepburn, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Audrey took things even further and removed Ruston from her last name.
Billie Eilish — Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell
The famous singer has a double surname, Baird O’Connell, where Baird is her mother’s last name and O’Connell is her father’s last name. However, Billie chose to use her second name, Eilish, as her stage name.
What other celebrities with stage names would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below.