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Will Ferrell says he was ‘so embarrassed’ by his real name growing up: ‘Excruciating’



Will Ferrell says he was ‘so embarrassed’ by his real name growing up: ‘Excruciating’

Don’t call him John Ferrell.

Will Ferrell revealed on Tuesday’s episode of Christina Applegate and Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s “MeSsy” podcast that he was “so embarrassed” by his real name — John William Ferrell — as a kid.

“This is a minor thing in terms of — it’s not really even trauma — but I remember feeling so embarrassed because my real name is John, John William Ferrell, so first day of school, I’d be John,” he recalled. “The teacher would be like ‘John Ferrell?’ and it was so embarrassing to me to have to say ‘Here, but I go by Will, I don’t go by John.’ “

Will Ferrell on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on June 11, 2024. Rosalind O’Connor/NBC via Getty Images

The “Anchorman” actor said it was “excruciating” to have to wait until his teachers would remember to call him Will.

Ferrell also clarified to Applegate, 52, that the name change “wasn’t my choice.”

Will Ferrell’s junior high school yearbook photo. Reddit/LittIeNuggetBoi

“My parents named [me] John, but they called me Will. I grew up as Will, but on a roll sheet, my legal name is John Ferrell,” he explained.

“I don’t know why that was so embarrassing to me to have to explain, ‘I’m actually Will,’ ” Ferrell added. “I think maybe for that reason, other kids, new kids, first day of school, [were] like, ‘Why don’t you go by John?’ It’s a long story.”

Will Ferrell with his wife Viveca Paulin at the 2024 Hammer Museum Gala in LA. Getty Images for Hammer Museum

The “Barbie” actor joked: “People are probably going to be listening to this going ‘That is the lamest thing ever.’ “

“We just lost anyone named John,” Applegate said.

Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate star in the 2013 film “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Ferrell grew up in California alongside his younger brother, Patrick.

His parents, Roy Lee Ferrell and Betty Kay Overman, got divorced when he was 8.

The “Saturday Night Live” alum talked about the type of kid he was on Applegate’s podcast.

“Ten-year-old Will, fourth grade Will would have been like really into sports, very conscientious student,” he said. “But at an early age, still liked trying to make my friends laugh. I was like a conscientious class clown.”

Will Ferrell at the “Despicable Me 4” New York premiere on June 9, 2024. Getty Images

He continued: “I would goof around to a point if the teacher said, ‘Please stop,’ I’m like, ‘You got it.’ I wore my hair in a part, if you can believe that. The one thing that was an issue in my life was I went from having really straight towhead blond hair to it naturally got curlier and curlier.”

Will Ferrell attends an NBA game on April 15, 2024. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“So fourth grade, I would have had a part,” Ferrell went on. “By sixth grade, by the time I left elementary school, that first day of junior high was very traumatic because I had to just go full ‘fro. I couldn’t comb it anymore.”

Ferrell also said that he “never” wanted to be an actor, but he changed his mind because of his love for comedy and watching “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

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