‘Ahh, Kelly Brianne’: Is Kelly Clarkson looking to change her name?
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
Kelly Clarkson wants to change her name.
The singer, reality judge and talk show host, who has come off a lengthy and messy divorce with ex Brandon Blackstock, has already gone through the steps to have her name legally changed back to Kelly Clarkson.
She continued to use Clarkson as her last name professionally, including on her syndicated talk show “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
Now, however, a court document reveals she wants to legally charge her name to Kelly Brianne.
“It more fully reflects who I am,” reads a Feb. 14, 2022 court filing.
Brianne is Clarkson’s middle name.
She gets the Clarkson name from her father, Stephen. He and her mother divorced when Kelly was six and she went to live with her mother, Jeanne.
It’s not immediately clear why Clarkson is apparently looking to change last names or why she feels Brianne is more representative of who she is.
It’s also not clear that, should the name change be granted, if that would result in her using the name professionally, which could mean her talk show would need to be retitled (one option would be to just switch to the first name only name “Kelly,” though there is potential confusion with “Live with Kelly and Ryan” co-host Kelly Ripa).
Clarkson has multiple other projects, including appearing as a judge and coach on NBC’s “The Voice” and her music career.
NBC produces and distributes her talk show and it airs on NBC stations in major markets, typically after “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which is ending after the current season. Clarkson’s show is slated to take over the “Ellen” timeslot in most markets.
Since winning “American Idol” in 2002, she rocketed into fame.
In the world of Hollywood romances, marriages and divorces, it’s not uncommon to see performers change their name, even professionally, only to revert back after the relationship goes sour.
One common tactic is to use a hyphenated last name or move the original last name to the “middle” position and tacking on the new last name.
For example, “Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco was credited on screen as Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting during her marriage to Ryan Sweeting, but went back to just “Cuoco” after they divorced.
“Friends” start Courtney Cox changed her name when she married David Arquette, and the first episode of the the show’s Season 6 changed her name to “Courtney Cox Arquette” and, as a joke, all the cast members’ names on that episode had “Arquette” tacked on. The two divorced after “Friends” ended its run and she went back to using “Cox” as her last name.
There’s typically no requirement that a performer use their legal name, though most pick a name and stick to it — or a variation of it — for most of their career since names are often considered a “brand,” especially for big stars.
Union rules can often dictate that only one performer can be “officially” known by the same name, so it’s not uncommon for performers to go professionally by their full names, use their middle name as their first name or create an altogether new name, sometimes borrowing names from family members or loved ones to create one that meets union rules.
People with common names often have to add their middle name (or another one), and that’s one reason why so many performers are publicly known with three names.
In some cases, performers who have difficult to pronounce names will switch to a simplified version. It’s also not uncommon for a rather ordinary name to be made more exotic. There is also still performers who opt to drop ethnic sounding names, though this is becoming less common.
There are also often complex rules about how names have to appear in production credits in order meet union requirements so some performers use legal name, if different, in on screen credits, while using their original name publicly.
When names change, it’s typically against rules to go back and revise on screen credits for repeats or syndicated runs.
That said, there’s several well known celebrities who have successfully transitioned from a performing or “stage” name to a more traditional one (or vice versa). Dwayne Johnson, for example, was known as “The Rock” during his pro wrestling career but started using his given name as he began acting and hosting shows.