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These Celebrity Nicknames Will Really Surprise You

Get this: A lot of the celebrities you know and love actually go by different names behind the scenes. Some are nicknames their families made when they were young, while others were given to them by their castmates or famous friends. There are also celebs who prefer using their legal name when they're not in the spotlight in an effort to keep their public and personal identities separate. Since your favorite stars have been part of various circles through the years, it makes sense they're known by different titles depending on who they're around. Still, that doesn't change the fact you've gotten so used to their stage names, any other label is surprising. These celebrity nicknames will make you see your faves in a whole new light.

From Meghan Markle and Anne Hathaway, to Jennifer Lawrence and Brad Pitt, just about every big celebrity has changed their name when entering Hollywood. When you're going into a business where your name is your brand, finding the right one is so important, especially because it's stuck with you for life. While fans know them by their stage names, others call them something else entirely. Here are some of the best celebrity nicknames.

Meghan Markle

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Meghan Markle has such a nice ring to it, you'd think it was her legal name. Prepare to get your mind blown because Meghan isn't really the Duchess' first name. It's actually Rachel Meghan Markle, and it's even listed that way on Archie's birth certificate. To everyone else, she's known as Meg, but to Prince Harry, she's reportedly just M.

Miley Cyrus

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Miley Cyrus' parents named her Destiny Hope Cyrus because they believed it was her "destiny to bring hope to the world." Growing up, they actually called her Smiley because she would smile a lot as a kid. Eventually, Smiley turned to Miley, and she legally changed her name in January 2008. Apparently, some family members still call her Destiny Hope, while others prefer Smiley.

Cardi B

Cardi B is just the rapper's stage name, but what you may not know is it came from her childhood nickname: Bacardi. (Yes, like the famous rum.) Her family started calling her Bacardi because the star's real name, Belcalis Almanzar, was long. Cardi B explained the origin of her nickname on a December 2017 episode of the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

"My sister's name is Hennessy, so everyone used to call me Bacardi, and I started calling myself Bacardi," she said. "Then it was my Instagram name, but for some reason, my Instagram kept getting deleted. I think it was Bacardi that had something to do with it, so I just shortened it to Cardi B."

Rihanna

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Rihanna has gone by her middle name throughout her entire music career, but to her friends and family, she's still Robyn. "I get kind of numb to hearing Rihanna, Rihanna, Rihanna. When I hear Robyn, I pay attention," she told Rolling Stone in 2011.

Nicki Minaj

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Nicki Minaj goes by a few different names when she's around friends or family, like Nicki, Cooky, or her birth name, Onika. "I don’t like it when my family or close friends call me Nicki Minaj. To me I’m not Nicki Minaj when I’m with them," she told The Guardian in April 2012. "My rule is, whatever you were calling me four years ago is what you should be calling me now."

Anne Hathaway

Surprisingly, Anne Hathaway's nickname is what everybody calls her in real life: Annie. In a Jan. 12 interview on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the actress explained she naturally chose her full name for her first SAG card, but has regretted it ever since.

"The only person who calls me Anne is my mother and she only does it when she’s really mad at me, like really mad," Hathaway said. "And so every time I step out in public and someone calls my name I think they're going to yell at me. Call me anything but Anne."

Timothée Chalamet

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Before becoming an actor, Timothée Chalamet reportedly tried going into music as a rapper named Lil’ Timmy Tim. Now, he's known simply as Timmy to his friends and family.

Brad Pitt

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Rumor has it Brad Pitt uses his actual first name — William — when flirting with women. According to Page Six, a source saw the actor get off his motorcycle and make his way to an LA coffee shop, where he began talking to a blonde in line. "Pitt put out his hand and said, ‘Hi, I’m William.’ She replied, ‘Oh, you look like a Bradley.’ And he responded, ‘Well, that’s my middle name’ and smiled and winked at her," the source reportedly said.

Lana Del Rey

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Born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, the singer began using the name Lana Del Rey after "a series of managers and lawyers" thought it suited her brand better. "My music was always kind of cinematic, so they wanted a name that reflected the glamour of the sound," she explained in a June 2010 interview with a UK fanzine.

Apparently, she likes to be called either Lana or Lizzy because they're "the same person" to her. "I wish I could escape into some alter ego, just so I could feel more comfortable on stage, but I feel the same as Lana as I do Lizzy," she explained.

Jennifer Aniston

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Kristin Hahn, Aniston’s longtime friend and producing partner, once revealed those close to Jennifer Aniston call her Dr. Aniston because she can help you with any situation. "If you give this woman a problem to solve, she will spend whatever time it takes to come up with a plan and tell you how to deal with it. And I mean, any kind of problem," Hahn said during an August 2020 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Lea Michele

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Lea Michele's nickname is one you wouldn't expect because her friends call her "grandma." She opened up about her nickname in a February 2014 interview with V Magazine. "My friends call me Grandma, but like, Grandma’s killing it right now. I’m pretty sure Grandma nailed it in a half-naked Terry Richardson shoot, okay? So I’m fine with it. I just do my thing. I do what’s best for me. That’s it."

Emma Stone

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Emma Stone wanted to go by her real name, Emily Stone, in her acting career, but it was already taken by someone in the Screen Actors Guild, so she went with Riley. She eventually changed it to Emma because it was closer to Emily. "Most people call me 'M' that know me well," she told W Magazine in January 2017.

Matthew Perry

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After Matthew Perry joined Instagram in February 2020, his Friends co-stars flooded his comment section, where they addressed him by his nickname. "Yay Matty! Could you TAKE any longer?" Jennifer Aniston wrote.

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman's wife Deborra-lee Furness calls him "Senator Jackman" because of his "diplomatic answers in interviews." While appearing on the Tonight Show in May 2014, Jackman revealed his friends also call him "Sticks."

Keanu Reeves

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While attending De La Salle College, Keanu Reeves was so good at defending his goalie position in hockey, which is what reportedly earned him the nickname "The Wall" from his friends.

These celebrity nicknames have some pretty interesting backstories, to say the least. After going through this list, I'm sure you feel like you know your favorite stars a bit better.