Celebrity Baby Names: Why So Wacky?

Why are celebrity baby names so crazy?

That’s a question reporters often ask us, and we have a pet theory.

Unlike Manhattan lofts and private jets, baby names are free and something everybody has.  Therefore, celebrities have to try that much harder to make sure the names THEY choose are more special, more unusual, more elite than the ones available to the rest of us.

So they invent names, or they find them in the baby name books of lands few other people get to visit, or they adopt the names of obscure artists or designers, or they turn what might be an everyday word into an attention-getting name.

Like Pilot, say, or Moxie, or Speck, or Apple.

Whether these crazy celebrity baby names are true exercises in creativity or ploys for extra notice, it’s hard to say.  Not knowing Nicolas Cage personally, I can’t really judge whether naming his son Kal-El comes from the depths of his soul or is an attempt to prop up a flagging career.

It’s hard to imagine Nic saying to his wife, “I know, honey, I love the name Steve, too, but if we name the baby Kal-El, my Q Score is sure to go up and I’ll get an extra mil for my next film.”  But it’s equally hard to imagine anyone saying, “Kal-El or Crimefighter?  They’re both such fabulous names.”

There’s a difference, I think, between really wacky celebrity baby names and those that are just unusual and offbeat.

Pilot Inspektor, I think is wacky, while Sailor is sweet and unusual.  Everly Bear, the name of Anthony Kedis’ infant son, is kinda crazy, while Ever Gabo, Milla Jovovich and Paul Anderson’s daughter, is cute.  Julia Roberts’ Hazel is on the sunny side of normal, while twin brother Phinnaeus (especially because of that spelling) is toppling off the edge.  Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s Sunday is quirky, while other new starbabies Marmaduke and Ptolemy seem to have been chosen mainly as the subjects of press releases.

Celebrities, they’re just like us?  Maybe, but not when they name their babies.

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.