Many celebrities change their legal names after getting married, but only some of them actually change their stage name.
Here are 20 celebs who changed their legal names but kept their stage names:
She revealed the name change in her "On the J.Lo" newsletter, signing off with "With love, Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck."
She actually joked about changing her name when she and Ben dated for the first time 20 years ago. In a resurfaced clip, she said that her name after marriage would be "Jennifer Lopez, but [her] name will be Jennifer Affleck, obviously."
She added, "J.Af doesn’t have quite the same ring to it."
2. However, she isn't the first Jennifer Affleck in Hollywood. Jennifer Garner reportedly changed her name to Jennifer Affleck during her marriage to Ben, which lasted from 2005–2018.
She also reportedly went by Jennifer Foley privately during her marriage to Scott Foley from 2000–2004.
3. Kelly Clarkson legally changed her name to Kelly Brianne — effectively dropping her last name — in early 2022.
In a court petition, she said, "My new name more fully reflects who I am."
She told People (The TV Show!) that she decided to change her name because she "had to drop [her] married last name" after divorcing Brandon Blackstock.
She said, "I'm still Kelly Clarkson [professionally]...I don't think I can change Clarkson at this point. I'm 20 years in!"
4. Lisa Bonet still acts under the name she was given at birth. However, she changed her legal name to Lilakoi Moon in 1995.
The name changed followed her divorce from Lenny Kravitz.
Less than a week after her wedding, she joked about her new name while getting ready for the Met Gala. In a video for Louis Vuitton, she said, "So I know a lot of people have been waiting to find out my new name, my name reveal, and so I am really excited to be able to share it with you guys now. ... My new name is Sophie Vuitton. Sansa Fierce. Louis Turner."
6. Miley Cyrus changed her name to Miley Hemsworth during her marriage to Liam Hemsworth, which spanned 2018–2020.
After their wedding, Liam told Live with Kelly and Ryan, "She will still be, obviously, known as Miley Cyrus, but she took my name, which is great. I think that was honestly one of the best things about it. I didn’t ask her to take my name, and then she was like, 'No, of course I’m taking your name.' I’m like, '[Gasp] that’s awesome!'"
Of course, this wasn't Miley's first name change. She legally changed her name from Destiny Hope to Miley Ray — the name she already went by professionally and personally — in 2008.
7. Fergie was born Stacy Ann Ferguson, but after her 2009 wedding with Josh Duhamel, she changed her name to Fergie Duhamel.
8. Portia de Rossi legally changed her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres in 2010 — two years after she married Ellen DeGeneres.
In a statement, Portia said, "I am thrilled to legally adopt my wife's name. I will continue to use Portia de Rossi for professional purposes."
When she was 15, the actor changed her name from Amanda Lee Rogers to Portia de Rossi because she thought it sounded more "exotic." She later reportedly said that the decision stemmed from her struggle with her sexuality.
9. Ciara performs under her first name, but she was born Ciara Harris. However, after marrying Russell Wilson in 2016, she changed her name to Ciara Wilson.
As a newlywed, Russell told US Weekly, "Her last name’s Wilson now, so that’s kind of cool. I like that, Mrs. Wilson."
10. Sarah Michelle Gellar changed her legal name to Sarah Michelle Prinze as a fifth anniversary gift to Freddie Prinze Jr.
She told Bullett Magazine, "It helps with what I do, specifically, because it does give you the feeling of being separate, of having had this other life — and you can go to work and have this stage name, and then go home and be someone else."
She continued, "If people wouldn’t laugh at me, I would probably change my last name professionally, but people always give you a hard time when you change your name. It’s kind of late to change it now. And I’m used to being called by my initials anyway. People usually call me SMG or SMP. I call Freddie FPJ a lot, too."
However, having two different names has caused problems for her when it comes to her ID. She told Harry, "Airports are a particular place of problem because interestingly enough that internet thing is not an acceptable form of ID. So if I get to the airport and someone has printed my pass as Sarah Michelle Gellar but I only have ID as Sarah Michelle Prinze, I can’t get on my flight."
"I remember one time I was going to the Warner Bros. lot and they had put it down as Sarah Michelle Gellar and I had no ID...they wouldn’t let me on and there was a big billboard of me like right above and I kept pointing and I’m like, 'That’s me.' Nope, I wound up having to park, it was a thing," she said.
11. Cher picked up quite the collection of last names throughout her life, but when she became Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman, she decided that enough was enough.
Her last names came from her birth father (John Sarkisian), her stepfather (Gilbert LaPiere), her first husband (Sonny Bono), and her second husband (Gregg Allman).
12. Angelina Jolie's name was originally her stage name, but she dropped her surname Voight in 2002.
The press linked her decision to her estrangement from her father, Jon Voight.
She changed her name again when she married Brad Pitt in 2014, becoming Angelina Jolie Pitt.
13. Priyanka Chopra legally changed her name to Priyanka Chopra Jonas after marrying Nick Jonas in 2018.
She told The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, "I always wanted to add his last name to mine because I feel like we're becoming family. ... I don't take away my identity. He gets added to who I am."
Though she's still mostly credited as Priyanka Chopra, she added "Jonas" to her Instagram for a while — and accidentally caused an online uproar when she removed it.
Discussing the incident with Vanity Fair, she said, "Because of the noise of social media, because of the prevalence that it has in our lives, I think it seems a lot larger than it is. I think that we give it a lot more credence in real life, and I don’t think it needs that."
14. Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson but baptized as Norma Jeane Baker. Then, when she married James Dougherty in 1942, she legally changed her name to Norma Jeane Dougherty.
She rose to fame under the stage name Marilyn Monroe in 1946 — the same year she divorced James. However, she didn't legally adopt her stage name until 1956.
She also went by Marilyn Monroe Miller during her marriage to Arthur Miller, which lasted from 1956–1961.
15. Jessica Simpson changed her name to Jessica Johnson following her 2014 wedding with Eric Johnson.
However, she continued to embrace her identity as Jessica Simpson as well, which culminated in her decision to buy back her eponymous billion-dollar fashion brand in 2022.
She told Bloomberg, "My name was on it. I don’t ever move away from my name. ... [My mom and I are] ready to go into the trenches. ... Pay it all back and earn it ourselves."
16. Cheryl — who rose to fame as a member of Girls Aloud — was born Cheryl Tweedy. However, she legally changed her last name to Cole when she married Ashley Cole in 2006. They divorced in 2010.
Then, in 2014, she married Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini and legally changed her name to Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
However, in 2016, they divorced, so she changed her name back to Cheryl Tweedy.
17. Mo'Nique's legal name was Monique Imes until 2006, when she married Sidney Hicks.
She changed it to Monique Hicks, adopting the last name of the man she's been best friends with since they were both 14.
18. Jessica Biel changed her legal name to Jessica Timberlake 11 months after her wedding with Justin Timberlake.
She told People, "My professional name will still be the same, but for life, yes, I think it sounds great. I think I really won the jackpot of names."
19. Jenna Dewan changed her legal name to Jenna Dewan Tatum after marrying Channing Tatum in 2009 — but she was hesitant to do it.
She told Live with Kelly and Ryan, "It was a little bit of an issue. ... Channing is very traditional. I'm kind of not. My family was very liberal and that wasn't a thing, but to him it was very important."
She continued, "He's still kind of miffed that I didn't just take Tatum. ... For some reason, it was really hard for me to let go of my given name."
After divorcing Channing in early 2020, Jenna officially removed "Tatum" from her name, going back to being Jenna Dewan.
20. And finally, Salma Hayek uses part of her birth name — Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez — as a stage name. She legally changed her name to Salma Hayek Pinault after her 2009 wedding with François-Henri Pinault, but she didn't actually plan to change her name until their then-2-year-old daughter asked her to.
Salma told InStyle, "We were shooting a film, and she saw my chair with my name on it. She said, 'What does it say there?' And I said, 'Salma Hayek.' And she said, 'What about Pinault? Why not Pinault?' Because [in Paris] people say 'Madame Pinault.'"
She continued, "I said to myself, 'This is who I am now. I'm starting a whole new life. I've never been happier. Why shouldn't I share it with the people who have been supporting me my whole career, who have been with me since the beginning?'"
While keeping their professional and personal names separate is what works best for these celebs, others prefer to be professionally credited with their new last name.
Here are 12 celebs who changed both their legal and stage names:
21. After marrying Travis Baker in 2022, Kourtney Kardashian changed her name to Kourtney Barker. However, she kept her original last name as her middle name, making her officially Kourtney Kardashian Barker.
She told Bustle, "I remember when I was going to change it, I asked my dad if he was going to be upset and he was like, 'No! I don't care. We love you. It's all good. Everyone still knows you're a Baldwin!' And it's true!"
23. After Victoria Adams married David Beckham in 1999, she changed her name to Victoria Beckham.
Before their relationship, she was widely known as Posh Spice, leading the media to dub the couple "Posh and Becks."
In 2022, he married Nicola Peltz and changed his name to Brooklyn Peltz Beckham.
26. Similarly, when Alexa Vega married Carlos Peña Jr. in 2014, she combined their last names, becoming Alexa PenaVega.
27. Carlos also switched over to the combined last name, becoming Carlos PenaVega.
He told People, "We were literally at the county office in Ventura signing all the paperwork and the woman was like, 'Whose last name?' I said, 'Let's see if this works. Carlos and Alexa PenaVega. Just one word.'"
28. After Kim Kardashian married Kanye West in 2014, she added his last name to hers, becoming Kim Kardashian West.
She launched a brand under her new name — KKW Beauty.
Kim filed for divorce in early 2021, but she reportedly didn't plan on dropping "West" from her name.
However, by the end of the year, she'd filed to restore her previous name. When the divorce was finalized, she went back to being Kim Kardashian.
29. Courteney Cox married David Arquette in 1999 and changed her name to Courteney Cox-Arquette.
In the opening credits of the first Friends episode to credit her with her new name ("The One After Vegas"), "Arquette" was added to all of the cast members' names.
The episode's dedication read, "To Courteney and David, who did get married."
However, after their divorce in 2013, she went back to being Courteney Cox.
30. Similarly, after Kaley Cuoco married Ryan Sweeting in 2013, she changed her name to Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting.
The first time The Big Bang Theory aired with her new name in the credits, she shared a picture of it on Instagram.
31. When Vanessa Minnillo married Nick Lachey in 2011, she changed her name to Vanessa Lachey.
She told Access Hollywood Live, "We talked about it and he was so sweet. He said, 'You know, if you don’t really want it, I understand.' But I said, 'Would it mean a lot to you if I took it? Because I’m old fashioned and I want to.'"
32. And finally, Jada Pinkett was concerned about criticism she might face for taking Will Smith's name after she married him in 1997. So, she decided to add his last name to hers — becoming Jada Pinkett Smith — rather than change it completely.
On Facebook, she posted, "The dilemma you face whether to change your last name to your husband's is a timely one. I have always believed that an empowered woman is one that can stand on her own two feet and has the strength to trust her personal code of womanhood and not necessarily the code that a collective creates as the standard to which an independent woman must adhere to, to actually be identified as...independent.''
She continued, "Each woman carries a different code so that she may never be replicated and is assured her individuality and freedom. As long as your decision reflects your personal code towards building the woman you want to be in this world...congrats...job well done."