Skip To Content

    17 Celebrities Who Have Slightly Changed Their Names And It's So Small, Yet So Jarring

    Michael J. Fox is a lie.

    1. Michael J. Fox was born Michael A. Fox.

    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

    It was all a lie. Michael ANDREW Fox had to change his name because two people can't be registered under the same name in the Screen Actors Guild. (There was someone already registered as Michael Fox, so that's why he added his middle initial in the first place.) He didn't like the name "Michael A. Fox" because it sounds literally like "Michael, a fox," so he went with Michael J. Fox, in tribute to actor Michael J. Pollard.

    2. Meryl Streep was born Mary Streep.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    Her birth name was Mary. Her father "made up" the name "Meryl," so she went by that that. Meryl apparently hated her father's nickname and wanted to be called Patty or Cathy.

    3. Emma Stone was born Emily Stone.

    Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

    Emily Stone changed her name to Emma Stone when she joined the Screen Actors Guild. Like Michael J. Fox, when she went to register for the guild, there was already someone — a model from Australia's Next Top Model — registered under Emily Stone. And so Emily Stone had to change her name to Emma Stone.

    4. Tea Leoni was born Tea Panteleoni.

    Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

    Tea PanteLEONI. Get it?

    5. Barbra Streisand was born Barbara Streisand.

    Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

    Barbra Streisand originally had another "a" in her name. She changed it when she was 18 because she wanted to be "unique."

    6. Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Winfrey.

    Mike Windle / Getty Images

    Yes, it's true, Oprah's birth name is Orpah. Her name evolved into Oprah, she said, because "people didn't know how to pronounce Orpah, so they put the 'P' before the 'R' in every place else other than the birth certificate."

    7. Jennifer Aniston was born Jennifer Anastassakis.

    Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

    Well, not exactly. Her father's last name was Anastassakis, but according to this Jennifer Aniston fan site, it was changed when her family moved from Greece. Go figure.

    8. Eric Bana was born Eric Banadinovich.

    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

    He never legally changed his name (his passport still says Banadinovich), but he goes professionally by "Bana" because it was his nickname during his standup days.

    9. Warren Beatty was born Warren Beaty.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    He added a "T" for some reason.

    10. Toni Basil was born Antonia Basilotta.

    Chrysalis

    AnTONIa BASILotta = Toni Basil. See what she she did there.

    11. Garth Brooks was born Troyal Garth Brooks.

    Pool / Getty Images

    Yes, Troyal is his birth name. Garth is his middle name.

    12. Missy Elliot was born Melissa Elliot.

    Bryan R. Smith / AFP / Getty Images

    Pretty close to the real thing, but slightly different.

    13. Mila Kunis was born Milena Kunis.

    Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images

    Slightly shorter.

    14. Zayn Malik was born Zain Malik.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    It isn't really known why he changed the "i" to a "y," but the Zayn Fandon wiki claims the media was still spelling it "Zain" until 2010.

    15. David Duchovny was originally David Ducovny.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    David's father took the "h" out of his last name because he was tired of it being mispronounced. David's mother added it back in when she divorced his father.

    16. Liam Neeson was born William Neeson.

    Chung Sung-jun / Getty Images

    WilLIAM Neeson. Get it?

    17. Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Weaver.

    Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

    She changed her name to Sigourney when she was 14 after reading The Great Gatsby. She also hated being called Susie.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form