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The Top Celebrity Baby Name Trends of 2020

The Top Celebrity Baby Name Trends of 2020

What a year for celebrity baby names! The celebrity baby name trends of 2020 reflect all the feelings of this complicated year. 2020 saw the craziest celebrity baby name of all time (X Æ A-XII, as if we even had to say it!), beautiful tribute names such as Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix’s son River, in honor of Joaquin’s late brother, and plenty of inspiring and unique choices — we’re all smitten with Wednesday, the name of Rupert Grint’s daughter.

But one of the biggest trends in celebrity baby names this year was the lack of names.

In 2020, more than ever before, stars decided to keep their babies’ names under wraps. It’s a pattern we noted earlier in the year, perhaps exacerbated by the relative anonymity afforded by the pandemic. Many of the biggest celebrity birth announcements came without names, such as Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik’s daughter, Nicki Minaj’s son, and Jude Law’s baby, whose sex hasn’t even been revealed.

Among the starbaby names that were confirmed, we noticed a number of trends. Below, the biggest celebrity baby name trends of 2020.

Top Celebrity Baby Name Trends of 2020

Poetic Hero Names

Hero names honor pop culture or historical figures, and the most used hero names this year were those of poetic and lyrical masters. The trend kicked off in February when Chris Noth and Tara Wilson named their son Keats in homage to the English Romantic poet John Keats.

There were three obvious references to musicians in 2020 starbaby names — Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akin’s daughter Lennon Love, honoring the Beatles’ John Lennon, Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross’s son Ziggy Blu, referencing David Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust, and Sasha Pieterse’s son Hendrix Wade, in honor of Jimi Hendrix.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita named their son Beckett Mercer in July. According to Jesse, Beckett is a name they always liked, but for a couple who has been known to use names with theatrical references (their dog Leaf is named after a Broadway character of Jesse’s), it seems possible that Beckett was influenced by Irish playwright and poet Samuel Beckett.

Quirky Food Names

Delightful and offbeat food names made their mark in 2020 as both first and middle names for starbaby girls. Pepper was the main player, chosen by Christina and Frankie Ballard for their daughter Pepper Lynn, and used in the middle by Abby Elliott and Billy Kennedy for their daughter Edith.

Dutch-born model Romee Strijd named her November-born daughter Mint (we promise it’s not as weird as you think!), and food inspired the middle names of Lucky Blue Smith’s Rumble Honey and Meghan McCain’s Liberty Sage.

Avian Middles

Animal middle names are an enduring trend from the latter half of the 2010s. Previous years have seen wild animal middles such as Wolf, Koala, and Otter, but 2020 was for the birds.

In February, Milla Jovovich welcomed a daughter named Osian Lark ElliotLark was reportedly chosen by the baby’s older sisters, Ever and Dash. Actors Kiley Casciano and Matthew Davis named their daughter Ripley Nightingale in March.

Most notably, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom chose the name Daisy Dove for their little girl. Dove was one of the buzziest celebrity baby names of the year — Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills used the bird name as her daughter’s first name in February.

War…

Battle-related names are typically bestowed upon baby boys, for whom “aggressive” names are viewed as more appropriate. However, 2020 proved to be equal opportunity for girls and boys to receive combative names.

There was Army Gray, a little girl born to Jill Wagner — who chose the name for its patriotism rather than militancy. Model Lucky Blue Smith turned Rumble into a name for his daughter (one definition of which is “brawl”), although the middle name Honey quite literally sweetens it up.

Ciara named her son Win Harrison, a modern word name take on the Welsh name Wyn. Soccer star Hope Solo named her twins Lozen Orianna Judith and Vittorio Genghis — Lozen and Victorio were 19th century Apache warriors who fought against the white settlers that displaced Native Americans. Vittorio’s middle name was inspired by Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan, considered the most successful ruler of all-time, known for his brutality.

…And Peace

But more than war, peace and love shone through as common celebrity baby name themes. It’s a trend we’ve seen across all baby names this year, as many expectant parents told us they were searching for names with positive meanings as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Elle and Matthew Bellamy named their June-born daughter Lovella Dawn. Lovella is actually a feminization of Lovell (meaning “wolf”) but feels more like an elaboration of the word “love.” Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins cut to the chase and chose Love for their daughter Lennon’s middle name.

2020 celebrity favorite Dove also counts as a pacific name, as the bird is a symbol of peace. Pace, chosen by the DJ Diplo for his son, could be interpreted to have a variety of meanings, one of which being “in peace,” from the Latin pax.

Other positive virtue names seen on starbabies this year include Liberty Sage, born to Meghan McCain and Ben Domenech, and Honor JohariRice, son of Asia Lee and Kel Mitchell.

Ev- Names

Ev- is the new Em-, and celebrities are here to prove it! Three starbabies were given Ev- names in 2020, and none were given an Em– name (compare that to three starbabies with Em– names in 2018, and four in 2017).

Two Duggar sisters welcomed daughters with Ev- names this year — Joy Anna Duggar Forsyth used Evelyn Mae for her little girl in August, and Jinger Duggar Vuolo named her daughter, born in November, Evangeline Jo.

The biggest impact on mainstream baby naming will likely be felt by Lea Michele’s son, Ever Leo, who was born in August. Ever names — including Ever itself — are one of our biggest trends for the 2020s.

High Drama

2020 was a dramatic year, and more stars than usual rose to the challenge to come up with equally sensational names for their children.

The winners, of course, are Grimes and Elon Musk, with their son’s name X Æ A-XII. It’s undoubtedly the craziest celebrity baby name ever, so much so that it wasn’t even legal — they originally wanted to name him X Æ A-12, but California birth certificate laws prohibit numerals. We’re still not entirely sure how it’s pronounced (ex-ash-a-twelve?), which only adds to the drama of this name.

Everything else seems tame in comparison, even Usain Bolt’s daughter, whose full name Olympia Lightning Bolt. It’s a name that’s almost too good to be true. Olympia references her father’s Olympic feats — he is considered the greatest sprinter of all time and has eight Olympic gold medals. Any other middle name besides Lightning would have been a missed opportunity. Taken together it’s a very bold name — one that could have easily veered into gimmick territory — but one of our favorites of 2020.

Other jaw-dropping celebrity baby names this year include Rumble Honey, Ripley Nightingale, Barron Hilton’s daughter Milou Alizée, Rupert Grint’s Wednesday, and Ed Sheeran’s Lyra Antarctica.

Name to Watch: Lyra

Speaking of Lyra Antarctica, we expect her name to be very influential on the American baby name world. Well, only her first name.

Lyra is poised for greatness, and this celebrity endorsement will prove to be the boost it needs for mainstream success. It is a celestial name — Lyra is a constellation — a quality which it shares with other hot names such as Luna, Nova, Stella, and Aurora. Lyra shares sounds with many fashionable names, including Top 150 favorites Aria, Layla, and Lyla, as well as fast-rising Alaia.

Lyra already ranks in the Top 150 in the UK, which tends to be ahead of the US in baby name trends. It currently ranks at Number 673 in the United States and has been relatively stable the past few years — we expect Lyra will rise dramatically in 2021.

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top baby name trends of 2021, baby name synesthesia, and the top names in each state. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.