14 Celebrities Who Had To Change Their Names Because Someone Else Was Already Using Theirs
Some stars use names that differ from their real name because they want something that would resonate with people and add a personal touch. However, others choose a stage name as obligatory because someone else is already operating under that name. For example, "the Batman" Michael Keaton has a real name, Michael John Douglas. He uses a stage name not to be confused with Michael Kirk Douglas (whose own father, Kirk Douglas, was born Issur Danielovitch).
That's just one of the 14 celebrities below who changed their names to avoid confusion with others. Check them out!
#1 The Weeknd aka Abel Makkonen Tesfaye
Source: Getty ImageAbel Makkonen Tesfaye known professionally as The Weeknd is a talented singer-songwriter and record producer. One of the factors that made him always marks in the hearts of fans is probably his unique stage name. In addition, this name is a milestone marked by his childhood rebellion.
The Weeknd had to drop the "e" from his stage name because of copyright issues with a Canadian band called The Weekend.
#2 Emma Stone aka Emily Jean "Emma" Stone
Source: Getty ImageShe is a familiar face to the audience because she often appears in many hit movies such as "Superbad" (2007), "Zombieland" (2009), "La La Land" (2016), "Battle of the Sexes" (2017), "Cruella",... When she registered at SGA, the name Riley Stone was already taken and she changed it to Riley Stone. However, six months later, she went back and changed it to Emma Stone instead of Emily because of Baby Spice (Emma Bunton).
#3 Katy Perry aka Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson
Source: Getty ImagePerry is one of the most successful singers of all time, with over 143 million albums sold worldwide. She has nine number-one songs in the United States, three number one albums in the United States, and has won several awards, including four Guinness World Records, five Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, a Brit Award, and a Juno Award. With over 100 million followers on Twitter, she is also the most followed woman.
When she signed with Capitol Records as a pop artist in 2007, she decided to go by Katy Perry not to confuse her with actor Kate Hudson.
#4 David Bowie aka David Robert Jones
Source: Getty ImageDavid Bowie, the glam-pop superstar, was best known for his elaborate stage personas like 'Ziggy Stardust' and the 'Thin White Duke.' Bowie revolutionized stage looks by mixing a certain theatricality from the vivid stage outfits to the glittering eyeshadows and colored hair.
He was given the name David Robert Jones when he was born, but he considered it unappealing and entirely forgettable. Then he went for Davie/Davy Jones the first time, but there was already another performer with the same name, Davy Jones of The Monkees. He changed his name to Tom Jones for the second time. Coincidentally, it was the name of a young Welsh musician. Finally, he settled on the iconic David Bowie.
#5 Michael Keaton aka Michael John Douglas
Source: Getty ImageHe is best known for playing the DC Comics superhero Bruce Wayne / Batman in the films "Batman" (1989) and "Batman Returns" (1992). He uses a stage name not to be confused with actor and producer Michael Kirk Douglas.
#6 David Tennant aka David McDonald
Source: Getty ImageDavid McDonald chose his stage name after flipping through a music magazine. And he settled on David Tennant — inspired by Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys. Tennant rose to prominence as the tenth Doctor in the series "Doctor Who" (2005–2010). Other notable films include "Casanova" (2005), "Hamlet" (2009), "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005), "Jessica Jones" (2015–2019).
#7 Michael B. Jordan aka Michael Bakari Jordan
Source: Getty ImageMichael B. Jordan pondered using his middle name, Michael Bakari, to distinguish himself from the renowned basketball star with whom he shared a name, but he finally chose to maintain his given name and add his middle initial.
Jordan originally rose to prominence in television roles such as Wallace in the first season of HBO's criminal drama "The Wire" (2002), Reggie Montgomery on ABC's "All My Children" (2003–2006), "Red Tails" (2012), "That Awkward Moment" (2014), "Fantastic Four" (2015), and "Just Mercy" (2019),...
#8 FKA Twigs aka Tahliah Barnett
Source: Getty ImageFKA Twigs added the acronym for "formerly known as" to her stage name because another artist who goes by Twigs asked her to change it.
Possessing a soprano vocal range, Barnett's music has been described as "genre-bending", relying on a number of influences such as electronic music, R&B, trip-hop, choral music, industrial, and avant-garde. She incorporates Afrofuturism aspects into her songs and music videos. Karen Vintges of the University of Amsterdam called Barnett's performance style "porno-chic," saying it "refuses to comply to heterosexual beauty's conventional ideals."
#9 William H. Macy aka William Hall Macy Jr.
Source: Getty ImageHis career has been built on small and indie films. Macy has received two Emmy Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Fargo. He played Frank Gallagher, a key character in Shameless, a Showtime translation of the British television series, from 2011 until 2021. William H. Macy goes by his full name so that people don't confuse him with the late actor, Bill Macy.
#10 Elizabeth Banks aka Elizabeth Irene Mitchell
Source: Getty ImageElizabeth Banks is best known for her roles as Effie Trinket in "The Hunger Games" (2012–2015) and Gail Abernathy-McKadden in "the Pitch Perfect"(2012–2017). "Pitch Perfect 2" (2015) was Banks' directorial debut, and the movie established a record for a first-time filmmaker with a $69 million opening weekend gross. She also starred in "Charlie's Angels", which she directed, wrote, produced, and starred in (2019). Because of the Lost actor bearing the same name, Elizabeth Mitchell decided to act under the name Elizabeth Banks.
#11 Gemma Jones aka Jennifer "Gemma" Jones
Source: Getty ImageJennifer Jones changed her name to Gemma Jones after the female protagonist in her father's film "Escape Me Never", because her name was already used by the Duel in the Sun actor. Griffith Jones portrayed Caryle Sanger in "Escape Me Never" (1935), while Elisabeth Bergner played Gemma Jones.
#12 Vanessa Williams aka Vanessa Lynn Williams
Source: Getty ImageEven though she had registered with SAG as Vanessa L. Williams, several newspapers mistook former Miss America-turned-actor Vanessa Williams for New Jack City star Vanessa Williams
Before they were renowned, there was a lot of uncertainty. They applied to the same NYU musical theater school in the 1980s. However, SAG concluded that both women may be recognized as Vanessa Williams because they had established professions under that name.
#13 Fannie Flagg aka Patricia Neal
Source: Getty ImageFannie Flagg is an actress, comedian, and novelist from the United States. She is most known for her semi-regular appearances on the game program Match Game from 1973 to 1982, as well as her 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which was made into the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes. For the screenplay adaptation, she was nominated for an Academy Award. When 18-year-old Patricia Neal needed to join Actors' Equity, her name was already in use by the actress from "The Day the Earth Stood Still". And after calling to her grandpa, she chose the full name Fannie Flagg after their friend's grandmother.
#14 Diane Hall Keaton aka Diane Hall
Source: Getty ImageDiane Hall Keaton is an actress from the United States. She has garnered several awards over her six-decade career, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and the AFI Life Achievement Award. She is known for her idiosyncratic personality and fashion style.
There was already a Diane Hall when Diane Hall applied for her Actors' Equity card, so she went by her mother's maiden name, Diane Keaton. "It dawned on me I could retain it all in the family by using Mom's maiden name: Keaton," she wrote in her autobiography "Then Again."