25 celebrities whose real names will surprise you

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LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 18: TV personality Ellen DeGeneres (L) and actress Portia de Rossi attend the People’s Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards)

Portia de Rossi (Amanda Lee Rogers)

Portia de Rossi sounds like such an interesting, musical name. And that’s probably what Amanda Lee Rogers thought when she first changed her name back when she was 15 — and did it legally too, instead of simply using it as a stage name.

The actress (and wife of Ellen DeGeneres) felt like she needed a new start, and that meant a new name. She picked Portia as an homage to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and De Rossi just because it sounded like an “exotic Italian name.”

“When you live in Australia, Europe is so far away and so fascinating, so stylish and cultured and sophisticated,” she told The Advocate. Well, it’s true, they are rather far apart.

In 2010, Portia legally changed her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres, following her marriage to the famed talk show host. She still goes by Portia de Rossi professionally, just to make things that much more confusing. (Or less confusing, depending on how you look at it.)