The surprising middle names of 14 celebrities

Jason Merritt/GettyImagesCiara, Kit Harington, and Miley Cyrus each have interesting middle names.
  • Many celebrities, such as Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon, go by their middle names.
  • Other celebrities legally change their names later in life.
  • Oftentimes, celebrity’s middle names are inspired by people close to their parents.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

Dedications to family members, obscure references to pop culture, and sometimes seemingly chosen at random, middle names are an often overlooked part of someone’s identity.

From Kendall Jenner to Elton John, here are the middle names of 14 of your favourite celebrities.


Mindy Kaling uses her middle name as her stage persona.

Jonathan Leibson/Getty ImagesKaling’s first name is actually Vera.

You might know the famed Mindy Kaling from her show “The Mindy Project” or comedy work on “The Office,” but you probably didn’t know the actress’s given name isn’t Mindy at all. Her full name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam– Mindy being her middle name, not her first.


Lea Michele’s last name isn’t Michele.

Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesThe ‘Glee’ star’s last name is Sarfati.

Lea Michele is a pretty great stage name and it also happens to be the first and middle name of “Glee” star Lea Michele, whose last name is Sarfati. Lea isn’t the only one to use her first and middle name as a pseudonym, Angelina Jolie (Angelina Jolie Voight) also famously uses her first and middle name on her projects.


Kendall Jenner’s middle name has a sentimental meaning.

Victor Boyko/Getty ImagesKendall Jenner’s middle name was inspired by her mother’s close friend.

Top model Kendall Jenner’s middle name honours her mother Kris Jenner’s late best friend, Nicole Brown Simpson.

Nicole Brown Simpson was a former model who was married to football player OJ Simpson, though the pair later divorced. Nicole was the victim of a highly publicized murder. OJ Simpson was put on trial for her murder and found not guilty. He was also found not guilty for the murder of Nicole’s friend Ron Goldman.

Kendall explained the significance of her middle name Nicole on her sister Kylie’s SnapChat in 2016, saying, “My middle name is after Nicole Brown Simpson because that was my mum’s best friend. And I’m honored to have this name.”


Óscar Isaac’s middle name is hidden in plain sight.

Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesThe ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ actor’s name includes his mother’s maiden name.

Born Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada, the “Star Wars” star uses his real middle name as his Hollywood moniker. And, no, the Guatemalan-born actor doesn’t have two middle names. Hernández is his father’s last name while Estrada is his mother’s.


Reese Witherspoon has successfully tricked us all.

Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesThe ‘Big Little Lies’ star’s real name is Laura.

Like her ex-husband Ryan Phillippe, whose full name is actually Matthew Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon’s given name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon. The actress actually uses her two last names as her stage name. Reese is her mother’s maiden name.


The Duchess of Sussex goes by her middle name.

KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPxMeghan Markle’s real name is Rachel.

It turns out Meghan Markle’s first name isn’t Meghan at all, it’s Rachel. Meghan is actually the Duchess’s middle name. Rachel is also the name of her character on “Suits.”


Blake Lively has a unique middle name.

Roy Rochlin/Getty ImagesBlake Lively’s first name was inspired by her great uncle.

Blake Lively was born Blake Ellender Brown. Lively chose to take her mother’s maiden name before entering Hollywood stardom. She wasn’t the only one who took her mother’s last name. When her mother and father got married, her dad chose to take her mum’s last name too.

As for her first name? She was named after her grandmother’s brother.


Kit Harington’s full name is as shocking as his middle one.

Marc Piasecki/WireImageKit Harington’s first name is actually Christopher.

According to an interview with Glamour magazine, Kit Harington didn’t know his first name was Christopher until he was 11 years old. Reportedly “Kit” is a traditional nickname of “Christopher.” Kit’s middle name is Catesby. He shares the middle name with his brother Jake and it’s his mother’s maiden name.

Harington said that he nearly chose “Kit Catesby” as his stage name but decided against it.


Adele has a colourful middle name.

Michael Tran/FilmMagicThe successful singer has two middle names.

Born with two middle names, the record-breaking Grammy award-winning artist Adele’s given name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins.


Brad Pitt chose his shortened middle name to be his first name.

Tim P. Whitby/Getty ImagesThe Hollywood A-lister’s real name is William.

The name “Brad” is a shortened version of his middle name “Bradley.” Pitt’s full name is William Bradley Pitt.


Miley Cyrus legally changed her name.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for iHeart MediaMiley Cyrus was born as Destiny Hope Cyrus.

Singer and former Disney Channel star Miley Cyrus was just 15 years old when she legally changed her name from “Destiny Hope Cyrus” to “Miley Ray Cyrus,” although she is now legally “Miley Ray Hemsworth” after her marriage to Liam Hemsworth. Her chosen middle name is an ode to her father Billy Ray.

Fun fact: “Miley” is reportedly a shortened version of her childhood nickname “Smiley.”


Ciara’s middle name is fit for a royal.

Dia Duapasupil/Getty ImagesThe pop singer’s middle name is Princess.

Born Ciara Princess Harris, Ciara gifted her royal middle name to her daughter Sienna Wilson.

Read more:Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, wife Ciara welcome baby girl


Elton John has a heroic middle name — sort of.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, Elton John legally changed his entire name in 1972. His chosen middle name is “Hercules.” But, the star said his middle name isn’t related to the Greek hero. Instead, he chose this name in honour of the horse on the British sitcom “Steptoe and Son.”


Nick Jonas’s middle name is pretty surprising.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesThe singer’s middle name is Jerry.

Nick Jonas was born Nicholas Jerry Jonas. His brother Joe was born Joseph Adam Jonas and his eldest brother Kevin’s real name is Paul Kevin Jonas II.

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