40 Celebrities So Iconic They Go By a Single Name


one name celebs

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ringo. Cher. Drake. Miley. Standing out in Hollywood isn’t easy—but these stars manage to do it with a single name. Style, personality, and talent all have to be present to create a larger-than-life persona. If you’ve got all three, celebrities like Bruce and Britney prove that you don’t even need a unique name to be known by just one. From legends who are no longer with us to some of the biggest faces of today, these are the most memorable one-name icons throughout history.

1 or 40

Ringo Starr

While John, Paul, and George’s names might be a bit more common, there’s no mistaking Ringo. His real name is Sir Richard Starkey. His famous moniker was a nickname given to him for the many rings he wore on his hands.

2 or 40

Drake

Anyone who’s ever watched degrassia knows that the rapper’s full name is Aubrey Drake Graham. His father gave him his middle name, and he’s gone by it most of his life.

3 or 40

Beyonce

Queen Bey needs no introduction. Her mother’s maiden name is Beyoncé, but only because of a typo on her birth certificate (the rest of the family spells it Beyince).

4 or 40

Bono

The U2 singer, whose real name is Paul David Hewson, got his moniker from the Latin word bonavox—which translates to “good voice.” Can’t argue with that.

5 or 40

Bruce Springsteen

There’s a reason you can hear the “BRRRUUUCCCEEE” chants just from reading The Boss’s name. Simply put, it’s iconic.

6 or 40

Flea

The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Michael Peter Balzary, got his now-iconic name after childhood friends noticed his jumpy, fidgety personality.

7 or 40

Prince

The late artist said it best in his 1992 hit song: “My name is Prince, and I am funky/ My name is Prince, the one and only.” As it turns out, his name really was Prince Rogers Nelson.

8 or 40

Lizzo

Melissa Viviane Jefferson has Jay-Z to thank for her epic stage name. When she was a teen, she took on the nickname Lissa, before switching it to Lizzo after the rapper’s song “Izzo (HOVA).”

9 or 40

Jay-Z

Speaking of Jay-Z, or should we say Shawn Corey Carter, he chose his stage name as a nod to the J/Z subway station near his Brooklyn home.

10 or 40

Leonardo DiCaprio

Today, there’s only one Leo in Hollywood—but there almost wasn’t one at all. When he first got his start, agents tried to push the young actor to change his name to Lenny Williams. Luckily, he didn’t take their advice.

11 or 40

Usher

Usher Raymond IV is a mouthful, but just Usher is hard to forget. The singer often puts his name in his hit songs. We dare you not to start humming “Yeah!” right now.

12 or 40

Eminem

Born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, the rapper took on the stage name M&M, after his initials—before swapping it to Eminem. Much better on paper than the candy.

14 or 40

Madonna

No big backstory here: The singer’s real name is Madonna Louise Ciccone. Not many new parents have dared to name their kid after the Queen of Pop since—the most babies to be named Madonna in a single year was way back in 1955, with just 212.

15 or 40

Cher

Born Cherilyn Sarkisian, the star legally changed her name to just Cher—without any last name. Yes, it’s even written on her passport that way.

16 or 40

Rihanna

RiRi is another star that goes by her middle name. Around close friends and family, however, she’s Robyn Fenty. “I get kind of numb to hearing Rihanna, Rihanna, Rihanna,” she told Rolling Stone. “When I hear Robyn, I pay attention.”

17 or 40

Zendaya

The actress’s full name is Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, which most fans don’t know, because she was inspired by the greats that came before her, telling allure: “I [dropped my last name because I] just thought it was cool, like Cher or Prince.”

18 or 40

little finger

Alecia Beth Moore’s stage name wasn’t just a nod to her once-neon hair color. She told Good Morning America there were “lots and lots and lots of reasons” behind it, including the character Mr. Pink in the Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs.

19 or 40

seal

The singer shortened his full name, Sealhenry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel, once he began performing. Going from five names to one? Iconic.

20 or 40

Elvis

The King of Rock and Roll was named after his father, Vernon, whose middle name was Elvis.

21 or 40

Selena Quintanilla Perez

she was the Selena in the ’80s and ’90s. The Latin singer made a huge name for herself, including a Grammy win, before her tragic murder in 1995.

22 or 40

Kobe Bryant

It’s okay to admit you yell “Kobe!” while shooting a basket. He was one of the greatest players, with a great name to match.

23 or 40

Adele

The Grammy winner said “Hello” to being a one-name star the moment she entered showbiz. She once called her full name, Adele Adkins, “drab,” saying it “does not have the same ring as Adele.”

24 or 40

Fabio

While the model’s name is rare in the US, it’s pretty popular in Italy. And in case you were curious, he does have a last name, and it’s Lanzoni.

25 or 40

Sting

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner officially became Sting once a friend and bandmate noticed his love for a certain yellow and black striped sweater—which he wore a lot.

26 or 40

LeBron James

Even though the athlete typically goes by his full name, he doesn’t have to. In true GOAT fashion, Googling “LeBron” gives you news about him and no one else.

27 or 40

Shakira

Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, the singer’s first name means “thankful” in Arabic—which is probably how she feels about being famous enough to go by it alone.

28 or 40

Keanu Reeves

Keanu—which means “cool breeze over the mountains” in Hawaiian—almost changed his name not once, but twice. When his agents suggested he use a stage name, the actor gave them two options: Chuck Spadina or Templeton Page Taylor. Keanu, it is!

29 or 40

Tiger Woods

There are plenty of tigers in the jungle, but only one on the golf course. Born Eldrick Tont Woods, the athlete got his famous nickname from his dad’s friend, a South Vietnamese colonel also known as “Tiger.”

30 or 40

Shaquille O’Neal

If someone says Shaq, you immediately know who they’re talking about. “Shaquille is an Islamic name that means ‘little,’ Rashaun means ‘warrior.’ [My mother] said, ‘You’re my little warrior. I’ve fought with you, I’ve fought for you,'” he told OWN.

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