Handling Celebrity Name Theft
They had the perfect baby name all ready to go, until a famous singer gave it to his daughter – just weeks ahead of their due date! How do you handle celebrity name theft?
It sounds dramatic but I feel crushed, and I’m losing sleep thinking of new names. In your opinion, will people associate the name with Ed Sheeran and do you think it will become very popular?
I can’t decide whether to stick with Lyra or try to find another name.
The Name Sage replies:
Celebrity name theft is frustrating, isn’t it?
You’ve found this perfect, under-the-radar name that you both love, and now it’s all over People.
It happens. But should it change your plans? There are two factors to consider.
One: Is this the first prominent use of the name?
After all, she’s the heroine of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. (If you’re not a fan of the books, movie, or the new BBC/HBO series, Lyra Belacqua ends up in the middle of a cosmic battle between good and evil when most kids her age are still in middle school.) It’s not quite Harry Potter-level famous, but for nearly thirty years, Lyra has been a hero name.
It also succeeds on sound. Think of Lily, Layla, and Lyla. And, of course, it refers to the stringed instrument and the constellation, making it as musical as Aria or Melody; as celestial as Stella or Luna.
Ranked number 673 as of 2019, Lyra is the kind of name others will recognize, but few will share.
Truly unique names – Chicago or Apple-level unique – make headlines. If you named your baby X AE A-XII, we’re all going to assume you borrowed it from Elon Musk … even if you planned the name out back in middle school.
Two: Are the parents likely to keep their kiddo in the spotlight?
All but the wildest celebrity baby names fade quickly. After all, unless they’re reality stars or royals, few celebrity children remain in the spotlight.
We’re always curious about what celebrities name their babies. But unless it’s a favorite – either the star or the name – we quickly forget.
That means Lyra passes the second test, too.
There are lots of reasons Lyra could rise in the popularity rankings. Maybe Ed and Cherry’s daughter will contribute, just a little. The HBO series seems like it might have a bigger impact. (Just think of Khaleesi.)
But if Lyra doubles in use between 2019 and 2020, and then doubled again the following year, it still wouldn’t rank in the US Top 100.
Should you introduce your daughter and someone replies, “Oh, like Ed Sheeran’s baby?” You can absolutely tell them that you thought of it first.
Readers, have you experienced celebrity name theft? How did you handle it?
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on September 23rd, 2020 at 9:35 am
I would be leery about still using Lyra. Luna really took off after Chrissy Teigen used it. I would have the same worries about Lyra–that it will be one of those trendy names that completely pegged my daughter to being a child of the 2020s.
on September 23rd, 2020 at 12:50 pm
Eh, I don’t think Chrissy Teigen using Luna had any effect on the popularity at all. If you look at the stats, the name had been steadily rising since 2003 (when Luna Lovegood is first introduced in the Harry Potter books). The name actually slowed down after Teigen used it in 2016 so I think in this particular case, what you have is a celebrity using a name that’s on trend for her generation.
When it comes to celebrity baby names, I think the majority of people really don’t pay attention or care. So if you like Lyra, use Lyra. Celebrities come and go so odds are in ten years, Ed Sheeran won’t be a thing anymore and everyone will have long forgotten what he named his daughter (if they even knew in the first place).
on September 23rd, 2020 at 12:59 pm
I say go ahead and use it. Who knows if Ed Sheeran will still be popular in ten or twenty years? Celebrity status rises and fades, but your daughter will always be your daughter. If you’ve had your heart set on a name for months and think you would regret not using it, then don’t let a celebrity coincidence rob you of your choice.
Plus, even if Lyra becomes massively popular and shoots up the charts overnight, is that really so bad? It’s a lovely name, and still more distinct than Olivia, Emma, et al.
on September 23rd, 2020 at 2:16 pm
I didn’t even know Ed Sheeran just had a kid. Use the name!
on September 23rd, 2020 at 5:28 pm
I say go ahead and use it! For good reasons above. But don’t expect it to be super rare anymore. I myself considered it (and a form of it) when I was pregnant two years ago because I love the constellation connection but DH vetoed it and a year ago someone I know ended up actually using it because of the book series being their favorite. Depending on the company you keep (and what interests they have) and where you live, it shouldn’t bloom into a playground favorite you’ll hear everywhere (at least not in the few years ahead) and the average person likely still won’t be familiar with it enough to recall it’s a celeb baby name or even a fictional Main Character.
It sounds like you really love this name and that really does matter most. And on the positive side while still being uncommon it’s slight media presence might help make it feel familiar and acceptable to those who otherwise might have concern or critisicm over a name they might not of heard of or are unssure how to pronounce.
on September 23rd, 2020 at 9:09 pm
Look at it this way. What if your daughter had already been born and was named Lyra. Then some celebrity was his/her baby daughter Lyra. Would you change your child’s name. Of course not.
Fortunately, no one person or couple owns a name. If the name is out in public, somebody will eventually use it. In my family, my aunt, my cousin and myself all have a daughter named Elizabeth. We all liked the name and just say we started out own tradition. (The three of us all had the same maiden name). Use the name you like and forget the rest of the world. If you change the name, and pick another one, who is to say other celebrities might just pick your new chosen name for their child.
on September 23rd, 2020 at 10:27 pm
Use the name you love.
on September 26th, 2020 at 1:29 pm
If you’re worried that someone is going to say, “Oh Lyra. Like Ed Sheeran’s daughter?” You can always explain that you and your husband had the name picked out years or months before his baby was born. Like others have said, because she was just born, her name has been in the news, but that will quickly fade away, so I doubt people are going to associate your Lyra with his for the rest of her life. If you love the name, use it! 🙂
on September 27th, 2020 at 9:23 pm
Celebrities using baby names are not as permanent as your family/friends taking names you’ve picked. A few years from now few people will remember Ed’s Lyra, the public’s memory is fleeting when people aren’t constantly mentioned in the news. Your baby’s generation will likely ask, “Ed Sheeran who?” as new artists move into the limelight. Many kids of celebrities vanish into the shadows because their parents care about their kids leading normal lives. Some kids become musicians standing in their famous parents shadow but so few become famous in their own right.
Please use Lyra with confidence, it’s a gorgeous name.
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