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In honor of National Get a Different Name Day (February 13), here is a list celebrating some of the celebrities who have changed their names and their surprising birth names.
10. Ricky Martin, born Enrique Martin Morales
Enrique decided to take up the nickname “Ricky” when he began feuding with his same-named father after his parents’ separation. The two apparently didn’t speak for 10 years, but have since reconciled in 1994.
9. Jennifer Aniston, born Jennifer Anastassakis
Jennifer decided that for her career she would change her Greek last name to the more easily pronounceable “Aniston,” just like her actor father Yannis Anastassakis did.
8. Dakota and Elle Fanning, born Hannah and Mary Fanning
The two sisters decided to go by their middle names instead of their first names. Apparently, their mother chose Dakota’s middle name and their father chose Elle’s.
7. Joaquin Phoenix, born Joaquin Rafael Bottom
After Joaquin’s family left a religious cult, they decided to change their last name to officially leave their old life behind (no pun intended). They eventually settled on the last name of Phoenix.
6. Nicole Richie, born Nicole Camille Escovedo
When Nicole was 9 years old, her parents felt that they could no longer care for her so they gave her up to friend and singer Lionel Richie. Nicole soon changed her name to match that of her adopted father.
5. Portia de Rossi, born Amanda Lee Rogers
Growing up, Portia de Rossi didn’t feel that her birth name Amanda Lee Rogers fit her. So at 15 she decided to take the plunge and change her first name to “Portia” based on the Shakespeare character and “de Rossi” because she liked the sound of an exotic Italian name.
4. Joan Rivers, born Joan Molinsky
After working at various jobs, like as a fashion consultant and writer for an advertising company, Joan was struggling to break into the acting business. Her agent Tony Rivers advised her to change her name so she decided on Joan Rivers
3. Woody Allen, born Allan Stewart Kongsberg
Before Woody Allen became famous, he was plain old Allan Stewart Kongsberg writing jokes for newspapers. He claims his first published joke was, “Woody Allen says he ate at a restaurant that had O.P.S. prices – over people's salaries.” After that, he decided to take on the name himself.
2. Bruno Mars, born Peter Hernandez
Bruno says that his father used to call him Bruno because when he was a baby he used to look like the wrestler Bruno Sammartino. As for the “Mars” part, Bruno says that girls used to tell him he was “out of this world” so he felt like Mars suited him.
1. Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
OK, so it's probably no surprise that the singer wasn’t born with the name Lady Gaga. But where did the stage name come from? According to the Gaga, she used to walk into the recording studio singing “Radio Ga Ga.” When her producer texted her one day, his text auto-corrected and “radio” become “lady.” She loved it so much that she texted back, “That’s it. Don’t ever call me Stefani again.”