Will Ferrell on his legal first name and why he felt 'so embarrassed' by it growing up

Will Ferrell on his legal first name and why he felt 'so embarrassed' by it growing up

His fans know him as Will Ferrell, but legally, the comedian has another first name.

The "Barbie" star said his legal name, John William Ferrell, led to an "embarrassing" experience growing up, which he recalled on the July 9 episode of Christina Applegate and Jamie-Lynn Sigler's "MeSsy" podcast. Ferrell remembered during the first week of school, teachers would call him John during roll call when he wanted to go by Will.

“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 said. "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.’

"For the first week of school, it took like a week before the teacher remembered, 'That's right, you're Will!' And that was excruciating," he continued. "So the beginning of the school year was always like, 'Oh my gosh, I hate this. I have to remind the teacher that I'm not John.'"

Will Ferrell (Araya Doheny / Getty Images)
Will Ferrell (Araya Doheny / Getty Images)

Ferrell explained that his parents always referred to him by his middle name growing up, which is why he went by Will.

"It wasn't my choice, my parents named me John, they called me Will. I grew up as Will," Ferrell said.

But at the beginning of the school year, teachers wouldn't know that and would call him by his legal name instead.

"I don't know why that was so embarrassing to me to have to explain that I'm actually Will," he said. "And then I think maybe for those reasons, other kids, new kids, first day of school, like, 'Why don't you go by John?' 'It's a long story,'" he recalled.

While talking about his childhood on the podcast, Ferrell also described his personality growing up and that he was, in fact, the class clown.

"10-year-old Will, fourth grade Will, would have been like, really into sports, very conscientious student, but at an early age, trying to make my friends laugh," he said. "I was like a conscientious class clown. I would goof around to a point if the teacher said, 'Please stop.' I’m like, 'You got it!'"

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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