We live in a world where the lives of actors and celebrities are often glamorized, with their on-screen personas and off-screen lifestyles captivating audiences around the globe. However, behind the fame and fortune lies the story of their real names, which often remain unknown to many of us.
From Tika Sumpter’s birth name, to the name Tyler Perry was given at birth, there is much to uncover when it comes to the unique and sometimes surprising identities of some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. Keep scrolling as we take a closer look at some of the actors and their real names, revealing the fascinating stories behind their chosen or given names.
The prolific actor, Wood Harris’ real name is actually Sherwin David Harris — “Wood” is his nickname. He was given the nickname by friends in his neighborhood, because “Sherwin” was too difficult for some to pronounce.
Comedian and actress Adele Givens’ real name is Willadele Givens
Tommy Davidson was born Anthony Reed. When he was 18 months old he was abandoned in the trash and rescued by a woman who would later adopt him in which his adopted family renamed him Thomas Davidson.
Rihanna’s real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty
Megalyn Echikunwoke’s real name is Ebubennem Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke
Tika Sumpter’s real name is Euphemia LatiQue Sumpter.
Obba Babatunde’s birth name is Donald Cohen. After learning his ancestry included people from Nigeria, he adopted a name made of Yoruba words: Obba, for “king”, and Babatunde, meaning “father has returned again.”
Whoopi Goldberg’s real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson.
Kofi Siriboe’s full name is Nana-Kofi Siriboe.
Keke Palmer’s real name is Lauren Keyana Palmer.
Spike Lee’s real name is Shelton Jackson Lee.
Will Smith’s real name is Willard Carroll Smith Jr.
Halle Berry’s real name is Maria Halle Berry.
Mahershala Ali’s real name is Mahershalalhashbaz Ali Gilmore. He dropped the last name when he converted to Islam
Jamie Foxx’s real name is Eric Marlon Bishop.
Nia Long’s full name is either Nitara Carlynn Long or Nia Talita Long, we’ve seen both included as her name — we’re sure she’ll answer to either
Idris Elba’s real name is Idrissa Akuna Elba. On ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! in October 2011, he revealed that due to teasing and fights in school over his feminine-sounding name, he convinced people to call him Idris.
If you knew him as an actor first than you know Drake’s real name is Aubrey Drake Graham.
Tupac Shakur’s name at birth was Lesane Parish Crooks, however his mother Afeni Shakur (born Alice Faye Williams) changed his name to Tupac Amaru Shakur when he was a year old, after her marriage to Mutulu Shakur.
Oprah Winfrey’s real name is Orpah Gail Winfrey (her name was misspelled on her birth certificate).
Kelly Rowland’s real name is Kelendria Trene Rowland.
Lenny Kravitz’s real name is Leonard Albert Kravitz.
Ben Vereen’s real name is Benjamin Augustus Middleton.
Issa Rae’s real name is Jo-Issa Rae Diop.
Vin Diesel ‘s real name is Mark Sinclair and while working as a bouncer in a NYC club, he adopted the name to appear tougher.
Ice-T’s real name is Tracy Lauren Marrow.
Kid Cudi’s real name is Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi. He wanted to incorporate his real name into his stage persona. Initially, he attempted to use Kid Mesc, but encountered difficulties with mispronunciation. Eventually, he decided to emphasize the latter half of his last name, leading to the creation of Kid Cudi.
Taye Diggs’s real name is Scott Leo Diggs. When he was young his nickname was “Taye” which is a variation to “Scotty (Scott-tay).”
Tyler Perry’s real name is Emmitt Perry Jr. He changed his name to disassociate himself from his father, who was abusive.
Queen Latifah’s real name is Dana Elaine Owens.
Ice Cube’s real name is O’Shea Jackson Sr.
Director F. Gary Gray’s full name is Felix Gary Gray.
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