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Celebrities Who Have Made Much Better Use of Their Ex-Husband's Last Name Than the Ex-Husband

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | December 5, 2013 | Comments ()


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Celebrity women often do not become celebrities until after they’ve been married and taken their husband’s last name, and once they become famous, they typically keep that same last name whether they’re married to that person or not. As such, it’s probably kind of weird, I would imagine, for ex-husbands seeing their celebrity ex-wives carrying around their last names, even after they marry a second, a third, or a fourth time. But it happens, and here are 10 examples of women becoming much more famous than the husbands from whom they got their last names.

Joanna Kerns — Joanne DeVarona took the last name or Richard Kerns, a television producer. They were divorced the year before Joanna landed the role as the mom in Growing Pains.

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Brenda Blethyn — Brenda Bottle took her first husband’s name, a graphic designer Alan James Blethyn, and post-divorce, Blethyn was nominated for two Oscars, two Emmys, and four BAFTAs (one of which she won).

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Pat Benatar — Patricia Mae Andrzejewski took the name of her first husband, Dennis Benator, an assistant director (Phone Booth, Once Upon a Time in America). The four-time Grammy winner released her first album the year after they divorced.

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Raquel Welch — Jo Raquel Tejada was married four times, but took the last name of her first husband, James Westley Welch. I have no idea who he is, but Raquel has done well for herself in films like like Bedazzled, Bandolero!, 100 Rifles, and Myra Breckinridge.

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Suzanne Somers — Suzanne Mahoney divorced her first husband (Bruce) nine years before she shot to fame on Three’s Company.

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Joy Behar — Josephina Occhiuto divorced her first husband, Joseph Behar — a long-running actor on General Hospital — in 1981. She didn’t work in the business until after her divorce, and eventually landed on The View.

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Phylicia Rashad — Phylicia Ayers-Allen actually took her third husband’s name — he’s a former football player and a current sports commentator. They were married throughout the Cosby Show run, divorcing in 2001.

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Faith Hill Audrey Faith Perry married a music publishing executive Daniel Hill in 1988, and they divorced soon after the release of her first album. I’m not sure how Daniel Hill is doing these days, but Faith Hill has sold 40 million albums.

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Demi Moore — Demetria Gene Guynes took the name of her first husband, Freddy Moore, a minor actor with only a few roles. They divorced in 1985, around the time that St. Elmo’s Fire launched her to super stardom and marriages to Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher.

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Susan Sarandon — Many assume that Susan Abigail Tomalin is the sibling of Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride). In fact, Chris Sarandon was Susan’s first husband, and since their divorce in 1979, Susan has made much better use of the last name.

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(Hat Tip: Mrs. Julien)

See Also: Mindhole Blowers: 16 Celebrity First Marriages You Might Not Know About




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  • thewatcher

    i object to one thing: chris sarandon should also be referred to as the hot vampire in fright night.

  • strand0410

    For years I never knew Erica Jong took her surname from a marriage and always thought she was Asian until seriously like... 2 years ago. Cue the Seinfeld 'Chinese Woman' moment.

  • Maya

    Dorothy Parker!

  • Christopher Schera

    Lucy Lawless

  • BWeaves

    I love Raquel Welch's and Susan Saradon's breasts. I love the size, and especially the shape. They are much better than the bolt ons we see nowadays with a valley big enough to drive a truck through.

  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-men

  • apsutter

    Seriously, natural and perky is the way to go. You know it's a sad state when you watch movies made in the 70's and 80's and are shocked by how normal the women look. Of course they were all beautiful but they had soft bodies and womanly curves. Now we get bobbleheads with bolt-ons...real sexy Hollywood

  • Mrs. Julien

    Does this fall into the category of "real" versus "not real" women again? Or is it more an issue of changing ideas of beauty? (I said, realising I wanted to get involved neither in a "real woman are suchandsuch" discussion, nor a land war in Asia.

  • BWeaves

    No, it's not about real vs. not real. I have saline implants, but my breasts look natural. It's more about how much I like the shape of their breasts.

  • apsutter

    No I think it's more about changing ideas of beauty. But it just makes me sad that the female image that is so often projected is one of women who are unnaturally thin.

  • I love BWeaves loving their breasts.

  • Mrs. Julien

    If I recall correctly, she has quite a bee in her bra on this subject.

  • BWeaves

    I wanted Susan Saradon's breasts so bad in 1977.

    I'm happy to report that I finally grew a pair. Thank you menopause. Oh, and saline implants because I had part of one removed and needed them evened up a bit.)

  • Mrs. Julien

    (Hat Tip: Mrs. Julien)

    [preening]

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Tina Turner? I mean, how do you forget the greatest legs ever?

  • Siege

    That woman can still work fringe like nobody's business.

  • I'll be in my bunk

  • Well she does exercise them a lot by kicking so much ass.

  • Mrs. Julien

    And the best revenge!

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Indeed. Anna Mae Bullock is a universal treasure.

  • Mrs. Julien

    When Ike died, it was one of those times where the only appropriate response was, "Good". Mr. Julien and I watched a documentary called American Pimp and while its motivations were specious, every pimp, to a man scumbag said Ike Turner was his hero.

  • Quatermain

    I loathe pimps. Pimps are like rice cakes, in that no matter what you do to them, you don't feel bad afterwards.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Depressing, yet unsurprising.

  • Jeri Ryan - pretty well known for dumping her husband before getting her big break on Star Trek Voyager (in fact, they split because, amongst other more salacious things, he wouldn't move to L.A. when she was cast). Not only did she do pretty well for herself while sticking with the name, it also helped a certain current President.

  • dizzylucy

    You forgot Raquel Welch's stiff-armed performance of Scarsdale Surprise.

    I know a few women who couldn't wait to change their name back after divorcing. I wonder if any of these celebrities felt that way, but were stuck since it was now their professional name.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    I think a lot of women face that choice; if you've built up a professional reputation under your married name, it's a tough decision to either stick with a name you now hate, or confuse people/have to explain to everybody for the next year and a half why you're now going by something different. I quite like the tradition many female doctors seem to use (at least, all the ones in my family), of always practising as the name they qualified under (generally Dr. Maidenname) and using their married name in their personal life, if they so choose.

  • Bert_McGurt

    My parents were married for just about 20 years, and even though they've been divorced for 13 years now, my mom hasn't bothered changing back to her maiden name because she wanted to keep the same last name as her kids.

    My fiancee's mom, on the other hand, changed hers back before the ink was dry on the divorce papers. Mind you, they (still) bear quite a bit more acrimony towards each other than my parents do.

  • James Newton

    What about Lucy Lawless? Lucille Frances Ryan married Garth Lawless, later kicked his butt to the curb and starred in a pretty darn popular tv show for six years and is still acting on stage and screen.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    BRB changing my last name to 'Lawless'

  • I still have a niggling suspicion she married him just for the last name.

    "Lucy Ryan sounds like a greeter at TGI Friday's. Lucy LAWLESS sounds like somebody who can stab a dude with a two-foot sword!" /weeding march plays

  • Uriah_Creep

    A weeding march is what you listen to when working in the garden in the spring, right?

  • Yes. yes it is. /nomistakesever

  • Captain_Tuttle

    People have married for worse reasons. . . .

  • barlowjk

    It can't be a coincidence that most of these maiden names are 'ethnic' (by which I mean not Anglo-American), ugly (Guynes?) or both.

  • Sirilicious

    Really? And the new name is so very anglo and/or pretty?
    DeVarona - Kerns (ok)
    Bottle - Blethyn (no way)
    Andrzejewski - Benatar (ok-ish, is Benatar anglo?)

    Tejada - Welch (not anglo)

    Mahony - Summers (even)

    Occhiuto - Behar (not anglo)

    Ayers-Allen - Rashad (haha)

    Perry - Hill (even)

    Guynes - Moore (not sure what guynes is)

    Tomalin - Sarandon (even)

    I disagree. Not most. And bringing the ugliness of a name into this is just... lets put this mildly, up to everyone's own taste.

  • Confucius Jackson

    Guynes is a Greek name, although I've never seen it written out in English, the people I know with that name live in Greece. It would be pronounced "gheeknees."

  • barlowjk

    'haha'?

    You're a class act.

    Regardless of where they come from, names like Welch and Behar are certainly less overtly other, at least in the US, than Occhiuto and Tejada. So I stand by my assertion -- most likely not an accident.

  • Siege

    They also have the benefit of being a lot easier to spell for the general public, which mitigates a lot of the "otherness". Benatar and Behar, particularly. I suspect it's one of those unpleasant Hollywood things.

  • Sirilicious

    Thanks for calling me a class act, bu t i am not sure why. That entry is the exact oppposite of what you pose. That one example doesn't mean you are wrong of course, but i thought it funny nonetheless.

    I think Behar and Welch are less overtly other because those famous women made the names so familiar.

  • barlowjk

    I think they're less overtly other because they don't end in vowels. You'll also note that some of these women altered their first names as well; a sure sign of image curation.

  • Sirilicious

    Interesting point @ vowels. But when they change their first name as well, isn't it like taking a stage name, like many men also do?

  • RJSuperfreaky

    Um... Phylicia Rashad was married to Ahmad Rashad, who was a pro FOOTBALL player. I realize we are mainly AV nerds but come ON.

  • e jerry powell

    It should probably be noted that Phylicia's younger sister has never used her husband's names. Debbie Allen she was born, and Debbie Allen she will die.

    And "Ayers" is Phylicia's and Debbie's mother's maiden name, which Phylicia used and Debbie didn't.

    Phylicia was credited as "Ayers-Allen" on the Cosby show until marrying Ahmad Rashad in December 1985 (a season and a half into the run).

  • Aaron Schulz

    Yeah i was gonna say Ahmad Rashad has better use of his last name then Felicia

  • freetickles

    Agreed... that one doesn't belong on the list.

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