What’s in a name? Turns out, a hell of a lot in Hollywood.
John Legend is one of a slew of celebrities using a stage name throughout his career.
He’s not alone, Bruce Willis’ real name is Walter, Olivia Wilde’s is Olivia Jane Cockburn, and Michael Caine’s is Maurice Micklewhite.
So our Legend is is good company.
Speaking to MTV in 2008 he explained his name started as a childhood nickname:
John Legend is a nickname that some friends started calling me, and it kind of grew into my stage name.
The multi award-winning singer’s name is the far less legendary John Roger Stephens.
And here we thought the ‘Legend’ was a happy coincidence…
Fans of the singer regularly take to Twitter to share their thoughts on the revelation.
@johnlegend so you mean John Legend is your stage name and John Stephens is your real name???
— thandeka (@thandekaSA) January 23, 2013
@johnlegend It's not legend?! That's a bit arrogant of you!!! Lol
— Belle (@belle_amall) January 23, 2013
Even Chrissy Teigen, John’s supermodel wife, made a joke of it when she was criticised for not taking the singer’s given name.
my husband didn’t even take his last name?
my husband didn’t even take his last name? https://t.co/BMo6OsgcVv
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 22, 2018
The singer also wants people to know that he is more humble than the name suggests.
He told MTV:
‘Legend’ is something that I never would have chosen for myself originally. It grew to the point where more people in my circle would know me by that name than by my real name. I had to make a decision. I was just like, ‘You know what? Let’s just go for it. People are going to pay attention and I’m going to either live up to my name or I’m not.’ My bet was on me trying to live up to the name.
Of course John Legend isn’t the first – and won’t be the last – celebrity to jazz up their name for the spotlight.
Game of Throne’s Kit Harington’s is actually Christopher Catesby Harington, while our favourite Barbardian Rihanna was known as Robyn before she was famous.
And let’s not forget our beloved royal couple.
Meghan Markle’s first name is ‘Rachel’ and Prince Harry was actually christened ‘Henry Charles Albert David’.
What’s in a name?
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Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.