Category: celebrity babies
The revelation of Tennessee as the name of Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth’s baby boy came as something of a surprise to the celebrity babies‘ name-watching world—but perhaps it shouldn’t have been, what with other recent starkids named Alabama, Indiana and Arizona. And a simple Google search will tell you that though Reese was born in New Orleans, most of her childhood was spent in Tennessee, her mother’s native state, explaining why it was meaningful to her.
Although the name Tennessee’s two notable most namesakes, playwright Williams (born Thomas) and country singer ‘Tennessee’ Ernie Ford, are male, Tennessee actually had some popularity as a girl’s name in the late nineteenth century, appearing in the Top 1000 five times between 1880 and 1890. It reached as high as Number 580 in 1884—though granted that accounted for only fourteen girls—the same year that Missouri, Nevada and Florida were also on the girls’ list. (The nickname Tennie, on the other hand, reigned for more than forty years.)
Way back before celebrity baby bumps and the Brangelina brood, before Bronx Mowgli and Blue Ivy, we put together the first-ever collection of celebrity baby names in our 1988 book Beyond Jennifer & Jason. These “starbaby” names had the power to launch trends and inspire namesakes, we theorized, and we’d be hearing them far into the future.
The future has arrived, and those original celebrity babies have grown up and made names for themselves. Here, a look at some of the starbabies whose names were included in our original lists and what they’re doing now.
Babies Named After Heavenly Bodies, Objects, And/Or Beings –
Babies with Animal Names
Our other nominees for Best Celebrity Baby Girl Name:
HELENA GRACE – The classic Helena is a name just emerging from the attic, chosen by Gossip Girl’s Kelly Rutherford. Its originality makes up for the lovely yet somewhat standard-issue Grace in the middle place.
For boys, our nominees for Best Name are:
As reported in the not always reliable Star magazine, Nicole Richie, mother of Harlow Winter Kate, has at the top of her list of names for her baby-to-be Baron, inspired by Donald Trump’s little Barron. (Her other two published possibilities being Kypher and Martavious, about which I’ll restrain my comments). This is the latest evidence of a disturbing trendlet among celebs–Hollywood royalty taking their status literally and bestowing noble titles on their offspring.
So who are these little peers and peeresses of the realm?
At the top of the ranks would be King. Discounting Kingston Rossdale, whose nickname might be King, there is the son of rapper Jayceon (The Game) Taylor. Since The Game’s other nicknames include The California King and King of the West, what could be more logical than to have named his second son King Justice?
Next in line to the throne would be a Prince. Michael Jackson liked the idea of starting a royal line so much that he named both his sons Prince Michael Jackson–I born in 1997 and II (aka Blanket) in 2002. Not to be outdone, British model Katie Price (aka Jordan) and pop star husband Peter Andre called their little princess Princess (“Princess because she is our little princess”) Tiaamii, with Mum expressing ing her intention of commemorating the regal birth by getting a Princess and crown tattoo on her neck.
Both Diane Keaton and Justine Bateman have sons named Duke, but somehow this name doesn’t project the same air of entitlement or pretension to royalty the others do, probably because Duke has long been used as a laid-back nickname name, and because it was so much associated with anything-but-aristocratic John Wayne–who got his nickname from the family dog that used to follow him around: the dog was known as “Big Duke” and young Marion Morrison as “Little Duke.”
Though the British don’t have the rank of Count (it’s equivalent to an earl, and somehow My Name is Earl doesn’t have much of a royal ring)–show biz does. Never one to hide his light under a bushel, Danny Bonaduce has a son named Count Dante Jean-Michel Valentine and a daughter called Countess Isabella Michaela.
How much have other parents been picking up on this noble-name trend? Well, King, Prince, Princess, Baron, and three different spellings of Marquis are all on the current popularity list, but pretty near the bottom, each with under 500 anointed babies nationwide. And, personally–it would be fine with me if they didn’t rise any higher.