Know any little Kaspyans? Are there several Gatlins in your child’s preschool class? Get any party invites from boys named Montague? Probably not… yet. But those are only a few examples of the most unusual names celebrity parents gave their babies this year, which means they’re bound to start showing up on top 100 charts by 2018.
With baby names, as with most things, the stars have always enjoyed doing things their own way. After all, Frank Zappa named his daughter Moon Unit way back in 1967 — and Mia Farrow chose the name Lark Song for her adopted daughter in 1973. But over the past 15 years, the bizarre baby name trend in Celebland has really picked up steam. From Jason Lee naming his son Pilot Inspektor and Shannyn Sossamon choosing Audio Science for her boy in 2003 to Gwyneth Paltrow notoriously calling her girl Apple in 2004, it’s getting tough to find stars who don’t give their kids offbeat monikers.
Even in the wide weird world of unexpected celeb baby names, this year had a few standouts. Check out the most unusual names the stars picked for their kids in 2017. But fair warning: These names may not be rare for long. Celebs are trendsetters after all.
Jaime Pressly gave birth to twins on Oct. 16, naming one Leo and one Lenon. Leo was the 74th-most popular baby name last year, so there’s nothing that unusual about it, but Lenon does make us wonder. Is he named for John Lennon minus one N? After notorious Russian leader Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, aka Lenin? The couple has yet to reveal their reasoning.
When Dancing with the Stars pros Anna Trebunskaya and Nevin Millan welcomed a baby boy on Sept. 2, they named him Kaspyan. It may seem like an odd name until you start to unravel the meaning; the baby boy is named for the Caspian Sea. Pretty cool, actually. Trebunskaya explained that the name is based on her and her husband’s heritage (their families are from Russia, Croatia and Northern India).
Trebunskaya told Us magazine, “If you make a circle or a triangle between those three spots and you look right in the middle, there is the Caspian Sea. We wanted the name to be something significant to his heritage.”
Little People, Big World stars Audrey and Jeremy Roloff welcomed a baby girl named Ember on Sept. 10. The name Ember translates literally to “hot ashes,” which is apparently the significance the couple was going for. They told Us, “Campfires have been such a big part of our love story.” Well, OK then.
The Hills star Whitney Port named her baby boy Sonny when he was born on July 27. (And no, if you were wondering, he’s not named after Sonny Bono.) Port explained to People he’s named after a boy in a Paul Simon song: “He heard it in a Paul Simon song called ‘Obvious Child.’ There’s a lyric in it about a little boy named Sonny,” Port said of husband Tim Rosenman, who chose the name.
Former Bachelorette star Emily Maynard gave birth to her fourth child on Nov. 12 and named the baby boy Gatlin. It’s unclear exactly why she chose the name, but there is quite a festive city in east Tennessee (near Dollywood, BTW) called Gatlinburg? Dolly Parton would probably approve.
Life might indeed be one giant party for little reveler Revel, who was born in October. Glee star Matthew Morrison and wife Renee Puente chose the name because as Morrison told E! News, “We wanted to revel in our child and we were like, Revel, that is just so cool and we will call him Rev for short.”
Scandal star Katie Lowes and her husband, actor Adam Shapiro, told Jimmy Kimmel when she announced her pregnancy they had no names in mind. But by October, when the little one arrived, they had chosen one: Albee. Both Lowes and Shapiro are actors, so one might guess their babe is named for Edward Albee, the Tony-winning playwright who died in 2016. Potential namesakes aside, Lowes and Shapiro aren’t forcing any specific gender identity on their kid, so it’s clear this baby is set up for a life of independence and creativity — much like the OG Albee.
The name Bodhi isn’t that unusual; it’s an Indian name that means “awakens.” It is, however, usually given to boys. But like Lowes and Shapiro, actors Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder broke with gender norms when it comes to their kiddo; they named their daughter Bodhi when she was born July 25.
One Direction singer Liam Payne and his musician girlfriend Cheryl Ann Tweedy chose the name Bear for their son, who arrived March 22. Payne revealed he wanted to name his son Arthur, but Tweedy pressed for Bear. According to The Belfast Telegraph, Payne explained, “[Cheryl] wanted a very interesting name, when he leaves a room people wouldn’t forget it. Which I think it definitely does.” Grammar aside, he’s right!
Rumi & Sir
Many have hailed Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s names for their twin babies, who arrived June 13, but they are certainly not names you hear every day. Daughter Rumi was named for the 13th-century romantic poet, while son Sir was named for… his swagger. Jay-Z told the Rap Radar podcast, “Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.”
Spice Girl Geri Halliwell gave birth to son Montague on Jan. 21. She and husband Christian Horner haven’t indicated why they chose the name, which has French roots meaning “pointed hill” or “steep mountain.” Can we assume Ginger Spice is trying to ward off a potential feud with some Capulets? Either way, Halliwell and Horner intend to call their baby boy “Monty” for short.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch knows what it’s like to have an unusual, super-complicated name. Maybe that’s why he gave his son a first name that’s quirky but uncomplicated? Baby Hal Auden was born to Cumberbatch and wife Sophie Hunter on March 3, and he’s reportedly named for Shakespeare’s Prince Hal from Henry V — as well as the poet W.H. Auden, we presume?
One thing’s clear: 2017 wasn’t the beginning of celebs picking wacky names for their kids, and it certainly won’t be the end. We can’t wait to see what fun names stars will choose in 2018. We’re looking at you, Kardashians.