“I can stand here and truly say that I did this on my own and I earned this.”
A famous last name may be the easy path to a successful career in Hollywood — but that’s not always the route celebrity offspring want to take! At a time when the children of celebrities seem to be taking over the entertainment industry, there are quite a few kids who have decided to completely drop their well known names.
Despite being born to their famous parents, some of these kids just want the chance to carve their own path away from mom and dad — and sometimes, they actually don’t want to be associated with their parents at all!
Find out what these famous kids had to say about their last names…
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one. Elon Musk
Shortly after turning 18, Elon Musk’s child filed to legally drop her famous dad’s last name. Not only did she request to change her surname, but she also requested to change her first name in order to reflect her gender identity.
According to documents acquired by TMZ, the 18-year-old now goes by Vivian Jenna Wilson, citing that she wanted to make the change due to “Gender Identity and the fact that I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.” Vivian will share her last name with her biological mother Justine Wilson, who was married to Elon from 2000 to 2008.
2. Rob Schneider
Rob Schneider’s daughter Tanner Elle Schneider decided to drop her dad’s last name when she began her music industry career. Instead, she chose to go by the stage name Elle King – a combination of her middle name and her mom London King’s surname. She says she made the change because she did n’t want her dad’s fame to impact her career and she did n’t want to coast on his success.
“I really care about earning things myself. I’ve played every empty bar, I played street corners until somebody heard me. I can stand here and truly say that I did this on my own and I earned this. My dad is so proud of me and he understands why I did what I did. I’m glad I did that,” Elle told the Evening Standard.
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3. Meryl Streep
When Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer appeared alongside her famous mom in 1986’s “Heartburn” as a toddler, it was decided that she would be credited with the name Natalie Stern in order to keep her anonymity. Later in life, Mamie chose to drop the stage name in favor of her given name, so it seems as though the name change was only temporary.
4. Jon Voight
When Jon Voight’s daughter Angelina began her career in Hollywood, she dropped her dad’s last name — and went on to become the Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie. In 2002, Angelina made things official by legally changing her name amid a rocky relationship with her father. At the time, she did n’t offer any comment as to why she was permanently removing her surname but she did share some insight about their family dynamic
“I do not want to make public the reasons for my bad relationship with my father. I have determined that it is not healthy for me to be around my father,” Angelina said at the time.
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5. Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson’s son Micheál decided to stop using his father’s last name when he started working in Hollywood — and Liam was totally okay with it. Instead of his famous dad’s last name, Micheál chose to adopt his late mother Natasha Richardson’s last name, which his grandmother Vanessa Redgrave says was a touching tribute.
“He’s taken, officially, the name of his mother. He’s Micheal Richardson, not Micheal Neeson. That wasn’t because he wanted to avoid his father’s fame, which is enormous. He wanted to hold his mother close to him — because she was a remarkable actress. Absolutely remarkable,” she told Daily Mail.
6. Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen may have adopted a stage name himself but he didn’t want his children to do the same. The actor, born Ramón Estévez, says he encouraged his sons Carlos and Emilio to keep their family name. While it worked out for his son Emilio, who went on to use the name Emilio Estévez as an actor, Martin’s other son chose to use the name Charlie Sheen.
“The only influence I had on Emilio was to keep his name. When he started out, his agent was advising him to change his name to Sheen and he wouldn’t do it. And I thank God he didn’t,” Martin told Closer Weekly.
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7. Francis Ford Coppola
While legendary director Francis Ford Coppola’s children chose to keep their given names, his nephew Nicolas didn’t feel the same. After appearing in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” under the name Nicolas Coppola and being made fun of by his castmates, he decided to use a stage name. From there on out, he went by Nicolas Cage — a name partially inspired by Marvel character Luke Cage and composer John Cage.
“I changed my name because I was doing a little movie called ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ and I was still Nicolas Coppola, and people would not stop saying things like, ‘I love the smell of Nicolas in the morning,’ because of Apocalypse Now, and Robert Duvall saying, ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning,’ and it made it hard to work and I said, ‘I don’t need this,’ and changed it to Cage,” Nicolas told wired.
8. Ernest Hemingway
When author Ernest Hemingway’s great-granddaughter Langley Hemingway began her career as an artist and a model, she decided to drop her famous last name. Instead, she decided to simply go by her first and middle name – Langley Fox.
“When someone meets me I would rather they judge me for who I am than for where I came from,” she told Town & Country.