The `Glee` actress was originally born with the surname Sarfati, but cruel taunts at school means she altered it when she went to her first audition, and has kept her stage moniker ever since.
During an appearance on the `Late Show with Jay Leno`, she said: "Sarfati. That`s my real last name. I don`t use it a lot because I got `Lea So-fatty`, `Lea So-farty` at school. So when I was little and I went on my first audition they were like, -And may we have your name,- and I was like, `Lea Michele`. And I`ve been Lea Michele ever since."
It`s Sephardic, which is Spanish/Jew."
The brunette beauty is now starring in holiday movie `New Year`s Eve`, and she admits the build up to Christmas is a great time for her and her family because she gets to tuck into calorific bowls of pasta.
She said: "Every year it`s like, `Where are we going to go for the holidays,` and it`s like, `We`re going to go to my mom`s side.` Because then I get these big bowls of pasta, and that`s what I want! Turkey is like a side-dish, we have pasta."