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X Æ A-12! True! Rumi & Sir! The Real Stories Behind These 32 Celebrity Baby Names


Mandy Moore welcomed baby August in February, and wrote on Instagram that his name had lots of significance to her and husband Taylor Goldsmith.

“It was last August when [Taylor] and I found out we were having a boy (it’s also Taylor’s birth month) and we always loved the name… so it was settled very early on in our book,” she wrote.  Then for our anniversary in November, T gifted me with this blanket with the ‘A’ (for Amanda) made from extra material from my wedding dress and ‘T’ (for Taylor) from his wedding shirt. Felt like a very fitting amalgamation of our whole story. I can’t wait to pass this on to our sweet August one day.”

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X Æ A-12

With a name like this, Grimes and Elon Musk’s first child together (the sixth for Musk) is destined to go into tech just like his dad. 

The pair chose an unconventional name for their son, X Æ A-12, who was born on May 4, 2020. 

In a tweet, the new mom broke down the name for fans, explaining its meaning down to the last letter.

“X, the unknown variable,” the new mom wrote.

“Æ, my elven spelling of Ai (love &/or Artificial intelligence),” Grimes continued, before sharing that a part of her son’s name is a nod to the CIA’s Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance plane. “A-12 = precursor to SR-17 (our favorite aircraft). No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent.”

Grimes added that the “A” in the name also represents “Archangel” — which she said is her “favorite song” — while the number “12” stood for the Chinese zodiac sign of the rat. (According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Metal Rat.)

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Meet hip hop’s new princess! Cardi B welcomed daughter Kulture Kiari earlier this month, and the little one’s unusual moniker was chosen by her father, Offset. “My dude named the baby,” Cardi said during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show back in April. “I really like the name.” (The word “culture” has significance to Offset, as his group, Migos, have two hit albums named Culture and Culture II.)

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“Picking a name for your child is really so tough!” Khloé Kardashian wrote on her app and website about the process of choosing the perfect name for her daughter with boyfriend Tristan Thompson. “I knew I wanted my baby to have a ‘T’ initial, so one night while we were all at dinner, thinking of some names, my grandma MJ suggested True.”

It turns out that the unconventional name is actually a family tradition: “She told me it was my great-grandfather’s first name and my grandfather’s middle name. It stuck with me for my entire pregnancy and was the only one I couldn’t get out of my head,” Kardashian explained.

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Unlike her cousin, Stormi Webster came by her unique name by accident. In an interview for the Evening Standard, mom Kylie Jenner revealed that she and boyfriend Travis Scott were considering the sobriquet “Storm” for their daughter. “I really don’t know how we thought of Storm. Her dad insisted it was him, but I feel like it was me. And that kind of just stuck with us,” she said, adding that she added the “i” because she didn’t like “just Storm” for her baby’s name. (Guess she’s not an X-Men fan.)

“I feel like there were a lot of other names that I might have even liked better, to be honest, but I feel like Stormi picked her own name, like, it was just her name,” Jenner explained.

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The youngest of the Kardashian-West children was named Chicago after her parents considered — and then discarded — several family names. “We were gonna name her Jo, ’cause [of] my grandma, Mary Jo. Or we were gonna go with Grace — and then it was Chicago,” Kim Kardashian West explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “We ended up with Chicago.”

However, there was one more family tribute that they considered: Donda. “[Kanye] really wanted his mother’s name, and I love that name too, but I just wasn’t sure,” Kardashian West explained. “It’s so much to live up to.” Ultimately, the couple settled on the name of West’s hometown, as “that is a place that made him, and a place that he remembers his family from.”

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During an interview with the Rap Radar podcast in August 2017, JAY-Z opened up about his family life — including the inspiration behind the names of his and Beyoncé’s twins, Rumi and Sir. While daughter Rumi was named after the couple’s favorite poet, son Sir was named as such because he was little born with swagger. “Sir was like, man, come out the gate,” the rapper explained. “He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.”

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Though he revealed that he had originally wanted “a more traditional name,” Liam Payne and his then-girlfriend, British singer, Cheryl, decided to name their son Bear for one memorable reason: “The reason she chose Bear in the end was because Bear is a name that when you leave a room, you won’t forget. And I like that,” he told Total Access. And while Payne admitted that he was hesitant about the name at first, “Now I look at him and he’s Bear. You become your name as you get older anyway.”

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During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ashton Kutcher revealed how longtime love Mila Kunis predicted Donald Trump’s presidential win and the name of their second child: “So we’re on our way to date night, and Mila turns to me and she goes, ‘So, I think Donald Trump‘s gonna become the president and I think our baby‘s name is Dimitri.’ “

Kutcher went on to say that Kunis’ first declaration took him aback and he ended up forgetting about his wife’s latter point. “Then two weeks later, I got home from work, and for some reason the name just stuck in my head and I was like, ‘I think Dimitri is the name of the baby,’ and she was like, ‘I know, right?!’ ” He continued: “Everything Mila said is right!”

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Rob Kardashian and former fiancée Blac Chyna’s first child is actually a “Dream.” “Rob and Chyna had the name Dream for a long time,” a source told PEOPLE. “They named her Dream because they’ve always said she’s a dream come true.”

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He may be a talented songwriter, but Adam Levine decided to ask Ellen DeGeneres for help naming his and wife Behati Prinsloo’s baby. “She gave me like five names to think about, like, ‘This, this, this, this’ — Dusty was in there,” Levine recalled on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, telling the talk show host, “So you basically named my kid.” The Maroon 5 frontman continued: “If anyone needs to name their child, Ellen’s really good at it.”

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Following Mason and Penelope, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick chose a slightly less typical moniker for their third child. Kardashian told PEOPLE she’s been waiting a long time to use the name Reign – it was even on her list the first and second times around (though would’ve been Rain for a girl). She wasn’t sure until she met her baby boy that the regal name was the one, and now, “I love it!” she says.

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“In the spectrum of weird celebrity baby names, I don’t really feel like we’re breaking new ground here. I didn’t call her Summer Squash Meadowlark,” Ryan Reynolds said, jokingly defending his and wife Blake Lively’s daughter’s name. But the Deadpool star did end up revealing the inspiration behind the name: “my father just passed away, but my daughter’s named after him.”

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What’s in this name? For Vin Diesel, a lot of emotion. After the actor and his longtime girlfriend, Paloma Jiménez, welcomed their third child together in March 2015, they decided to name her in memory of the actor’s late Fast and the Furious costar, Paul Walker. “He was in the room [when she was born],” Diesel said on Today. “There’s no other person that I was thinking about as I was cutting this umbilical cord. I just … knew he was there. It felt like a way to keep his memory a part of my family and a part of my world.”

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For a baby born in August, one name was a natural fit. “Summer is a time of spreading warmth and light, while rain washes away … replenishes and brings new life to allow growth and new beginnings,” Christina Aguilera told PEOPLE of her choice for her daughter with fiancé Matt Rutler (born Aug. 16, 2014). “I wanted her name to be filled with inspiration, love and joy.”

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You know that the child of two people as good looking as Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling is incredibly beautiful. So it’s fitting that their daughter got her name from another stunning woman, this one from literature: “Ryan and I both love the Esmeralda character from the Victor Hugo novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Mendes told The Violet Files of the choice. And Amada, which comes from Mendes’s grandma, means “beloved.”

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We’re used to unique spellings (Khloé and Kourtney raised our tolerance for that), but Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan got even more creative with the their daughter: It’s pronounced Ay-vree (like Avery, without the middle vowel). But it’s her middle name where the real linguistic fun happens. The first two letters are for the actor’s father, Robert Downey Sr., his wife Rosemary, and Susan’s mom Rosie. The “el” part comes from the actor’s mother Elsie and Susan’s father, Eliot Levin. So many shoutouts with so few letters.

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Apparently Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis do their best brainstorming on the basketball court. “I had to get the creative juices going, so we were going to a Lakers game, and I just started listing off anything and everything I saw: ‘sign, truck, wall, door … ‘ She [was] like, ‘Shut up!’ Then I was like, ‘I’ve got a really dumb idea. What about Wyatt?’ She goes, ‘That’s it,'” Kutcher explained of coming up with a name for their daughter. Her middle name, however, is less random. Kunis’s grandfather is Yitzhak, which translates to Isaac, so an I name is in honor of him.

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The winner of the Most Retro Name of the Year Award goes to … the daughter of Scarlett Johansson and then-husband Romain Dauriac (she was born when roses are in bloom, in late summer of 2014). As for Dorothy, it is an homage to Johansson’s grandmother, whom the actress called “the first Francophone in my family.”

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If Pete Wentz and girlfriend Meagan Camper’s little one had been born a few weeks earlier, he might have earned a different first name. “I think at some point, the name Saint came up because we thought he’d be a saint if he waited to arrive until his dad was home from tour, and he did,” the couple told PEOPLE of their baby boy.

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What goes well with Olive? In naming their second daughter, Drew Barrymore and ex-husband Will Kopelman wanted something that didn’t clash with their first-born. “Every [name] started sounding like a color or a food. Hazel’s a great name. No, that’s two shades of green. And I love the name Pepper so much, but we were like, ‘Olive and Pepper. Like that’s two things you find in a pantry,'” the actress said. The cool unisex choice they settled on also has a family tie: “My mother-in-law’s maiden name is Franco and I love her so much that it reminds me of her as well,” Barrymore explained.

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Olivia Wilde and fiancé Jason Sudeikis made a musical choice for their son, naming him after the legendary 1960s singer Otis Redding. “I was a 10-year-old kid with posters of Otis Redding on my wall,” the actress told PEOPLE. Wonder if “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” is this family’s go-to bedtime song.

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Halle Berry and ex-husband Olivier Martinez received the ultimate present when they welcomed their new baby boy on Oct. 5, 2013 – so it’s no surprise the first half of his name means “gift of God.” The “Maceo” part is said to be of Spanish origin – the French actor’s father, Robert Martinez, was a Spanish boxer – and the couple picked “a name that’s great in both the U.S. and France,” a source close to Martinez tells PEOPLE.

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Is Jimmy Fallon a fan of The Wonder Years? Although the new dad calls Danica McKellar’s ’90s alter ego “the coolest girl on TV ever,” he and wife Nancy Juvonen – who welcomed their 3-week-old daughter via surrogate in July 2013 – actually picked a name nodding to New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, where the couple vacationed together every summer and got engaged. “You overthink names – you don’t want a name that’s been done, but then you don’t want something so weird people are like, ‘What?!’ Winnipesaukee’s a little long,” the late-night talker told Today. “Also she’s a ‘win’ for us.”

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Only time will tell if a casino career is in the cards for Jessica Simpson and husband Eric Johnson’s baby boy, whom they welcomed on June 30, 2013. His middle name, however, honors Johnson’s Swedish grandfather, a rep tells PEOPLE. Ace’s sister, Maxwell Drew, also keeps it in the family: Maxwell is Johnson’s middle name, while Drew is Simpson’s mother Tina’s maiden name.

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Pushing konventions aside, new parents Kim Kardashian and Kanye West went in quite a different direction when they named their daughter, born on June 15, 2013, after the cardinal direction. Though they once quashed rumors that they were considering the cheeky moniker, Kardashian’s mom, Kris Jenner, revealed she’s “pro North” during a June 25 appearance on The View. “North means the highest power,” she explained. “[Kim] says that North is their highest point together.”

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For Drew Barrymore, her daughter’s name jumped off the page – literally. “I was reading a book with my husband [Will Kopelman]. I was three months pregnant,” she recalled during a visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show in December 2012, months after welcoming her baby girl on Sept. 26. “They said, ‘Your baby is the size of an olive.’ And that was it. We never looked back.”

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Name – or good luck charm? “Harper is an old English name, which we love,” David Beckham explained on Facebook days after welcoming a daughter July 10, 2011, with wife Victoria. “One of the reasons is Victoria’s favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird and the author was Harper Lee.” As for her numerical middle name, “[Seven] symbolizes spiritual perfection,” he added. “In many cultures around the world, it’s regarded as a lucky number.”

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Now, that’s a colorful moniker. “I wanted to give my daughter a unique name,” mom Holly Madison explained to E! News days after the March 5, 2013 arrival of her daughter with husband Pasquale Rotella. “Growing up, there was a girl in my school named Rainbow, and I was so envious of that name. I thought it was so pretty and unique!”

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Kate Hudson and rocker ex-fiancé Matt Bellamy looked no farther than their own folks when they named their son, born July 9, 2011. “For those wondering, Bingham is my mum’s maiden name and Bing Russell was [Kurt Russell’s] dad,” Bellamy tweeted. “Family connections all round!”

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Feeling blue? Not Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z’s daughter, who was born Jan. 7, 2012. Fans suggested that her first name could be a reference to one of Jay-Z’s albums and that “Ivy” was a nod to the couple’s favorite number, four. But Beyoncé seemed to answer the baby name origin question when she quoted Rebecca Solnit’s 2005 book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, on her blog: “This light does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.”

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We expect some epic accomplishments from NFL star Reggie Bush’s daughter, whom he welcomed with girlfriend Lilit Avagyan on May 6, 2013. In Greek mythology, the name refers to the mythical queen at the heart of a clash between Achilles and Agamemnon that plays out in Homer’s epic poem Iliad.

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You might say Nick and Vanessa Lachey’s baby boy, born Sept. 12, 2012, inherited some serious street smarts. After many a trip to his wife’s obstetrician’s office on Camden Drive, he thought, “Hey, what about Camden?” (And maybe their baby will have a play date with Kristin Cavallari’s son, also named Camden, who was born the month prior.)

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  • Posted on February 26, 2021