Baby names

14 celebrities reveal the stories behind their baby names

Can you guess which celebrity baby was named by Ellen DeGeneres? Or who found inspiration for their daughter's name in the delivery room? Here are 14 celebrity moms and dads on how they found the perfect baby name.

By Simona Catalano

14 celebrities reveal the stories behind their baby names

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Celebrities reveal the stories behind their baby names

Harper Seven, daughter of David and Victoria Beckham

Not only is Harper the cutest kid sitting in the front row at her mother’s fashion shows but she also has a great name. “A lot goes into our children’s names, and Harper was a name we’ve loved for a long time for a couple of reasons,” explains David Beckham. “One reason is that it’s an old English name, and Victoria’s favourite book is To Kill a Mockingbird and the author is Harper Lee. It’s a very strong, passionate book. That’s where Harper came from.” Seven may seem like an odd name, but it’s actually Beckham’s number from when he played for Manchester United and England. Maybe Harper will inherit her dad’s football skills?

David Beckham carrying daughter HarperPhoto: Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic

Levi, eldest son of Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves chose their first son’s name, Levi, based on the Bible. “Our son was born at 6:22 p.m., and this particular time represents my favourite verse in the book of Matthew in the Bible: ‘If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be full of light,’” says McConaughey.

A photo of Matthew McConaughey and his son LeviPhoto: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Zuma Nesta Rock, second son of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale have given all three of their boys unique monikers—Kingston, Zuma and Apollo—but the story behind Zuma Nesta Rock is quite funny. When asked how she came up with the name, Stefani says the family lives near Zuma Beach in California. That led to the question: Was that where Zuma was conceived? “Yeah, we’re doing it on the public beach, dude,” says Stefani. “The paparazzi!” The name Nesta came up while Stefani was swapping baby names with fellow No Doubt member Tom Dumont, whose wife was also expecting. “I didn’t steal it,” she says. “I mean his wife didn’t want it. It was one of those things that just happened. I just wanted [Zuma] to have a little bit of a quirky name.”

Gwen Stefani and son Zuma on a roller coasterPhoto: Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

Axl Jack, son of Fergie and Josh Duhamel

Fergie woke up from a dream to her son’s first kick—a big moment for a first-time mom. In her dream, she was at a festival enjoying the music, and Jim Morrison, Bob Marley and Axl Rose were on stage, singing. When her son kicked, she says, “It was as if he was getting into the music.” So, she woke up her husband (Josh Duhamel) and they began brainstorming names. “I told him the story and he was like, ‘Morrison? Marley? No. Axl Jack. That’s it!’ It just had this ring to it. It was very strong.”

Fergie, Josh Duhamel and their son smiling at the camera at an eventPhoto: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Pandora Media Inc

Elsie Otter, daughter of Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik

When Zooey Deschanel was on The Ellen Show, she explained the sweet meaning behind her daughter’s name. “We thought Elsie is kind of a classic name,” she says. “A lot of people have grandmas and aunts name Elsie. And then we were like, the middle name can be a little bit…wild. I love animals so much. And we love otters because they’re so cute, playful and fun. And they’re really smart. We liked that otters have these particular attributes.”

Zooey Deschanel and her husband on the Trolls red carpetPhoto: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Dusty Rose, daughter of Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo

Adam Levine revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that he and his wife, Behati Prinsloo, were having a tough time finding the perfect baby name. Feeling pretty confident about one in particular, Levine shared it with DeGeneres, but she hated it. She graciously suggested a handful of names for the couple, including Dusty. “I saw a rose and thought of Rose and then I heard the name Dusty and was like, ‘That’s a beautiful name,’” she explains of how she came up with the moniker. “I sent it to you and you were like, ‘That’s the name.’” Um, Ellen, are you available to help the rest of us with baby names?

Adam Levine, Behati Prinsloo and daughter at Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonyPhoto: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Haven Garner, youngest daughter of Jessica Alba and Cash Warren

Baby-name inspiration can come from anywhere—even the delivery room. Jessica Alba’s second daughter was delivered in the caul, which means that she was still in her amniotic sac when she was born. The experience helped the parents choose their daughter’s name. “Cash said, ‘She was born in her safe haven,’ so there we had it,” says Alba.

Jessica Alba, her daughters and her husband smiling with MickeyPhoto: Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort

North, daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

The rumour that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were going to name their daughter “North West” started as an Internet joke, but little did we know that the couple actually loved the name. Grandma Kris explained the symbolic meaning behind the name: “The way she explained it to me was that North means ‘highest power,’ and Kim says that North is [Kim] highest point together.”

Kim Kardashian giving daughter North a kiss on the cheekPhoto: Rich Fury/Forum Photos via Getty Images

Winnie Rose, eldest daughter of Jimmy and Nancy Fallon

We absolutely love the romantic story behind Winnie’s name. The late-night host says his daughter, Winnie Rose, was named partially after the lake where he and his wife, Nancy Juvonen Fallon, vacationed together every summer and were engaged: New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. “We were talking about different names,” says Fallon. “You overthink names—you don’t want a name that’s been done, but then you don’t want something so weird that people are like, ‘What?!’ Also, she’s a ‘win’ for us.”

Read more: 19 baby names that mean love

Jimmy Fallon and his daughter WinniePhoto: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Sonny Sanford, son of Whitney Port and Tim Rosenman

Dad gets all the credit for this name—sorry, Mom. “He heard it in a Paul Simon song called ‘Obvious Child,’” explains Whitney Port. “There’s a lyric in it about a little boy named Sonny. After hearing it, he came home and told me about it and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’” And that’s how baby Sonny got his name. “It was just the cutest little name, and now he’s such a Sonny,” says the former Hills star. 

Whitney Port smiling and sitting in a rocking chair holding her babyPhoto courtesy of whitneyport.com

Boomer, son of Michael and Nicole Phelps

Michael and Nicole Phelps didn’t want a “normal” name for their son, and they definitely got that with the name Boomer. While on The Tonight Show, Phelps told Jimmy Fallon that he heard the name and came home to tell his then-girlfriend, now-wife about it. “I brought it up to Nicole and she was like, ‘Oh, that sounds kinda cool,’” says Phelps. The couple liked the name so much, they didn’t even have any backup choices. “Boomer, like boom boom. We had no second option. Once we picked that, we were like, ‘Yeah.’ I mean, he’s definitely gonna be the cool kid.” I mean, how could he not? 

Read more: 40 unique celebrity baby names

Michael Phelps kissing his son after winning a medalPhoto: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Willow Sage, daughter of Pink and Carey Hart

When it came to deciding on a name for their daughter, Pink and her hubby, Carey Hart, found a beautifully meaningful moniker in Willow Sage. The singer’s favourite tree is the willow, and she also grew up near one. “It’s the most flexible tree, and nothing can break it—no wind or elements,” says Pink. “It can bend and withstand anything. I love that sentiment, and I want that for her.” As for sage, “It’s cleansing and sacred and it sounds great with Willow,” she says. “It doesn’t hurt that her last name is Hart—flexible, cleansed heart.” 

Read more: 21 meaningful baby names

Pink in a white gown on the red carpet with her daughter WillowPhoto: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Sparrow James Midnight, son of Nicole Richie and Joel Madden

Sparrow, as in Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, you ask? Yes, that’s exactly where Nicole Richie and Joel Madden got inspiration for their baby name. The couple had a hard time finding a baby name they both liked for their son. “Sparrow was one we both liked,” says Richie. “I liked the way it sounded with Harlow [the], and there’s the Captain Jack Sparrow connection.” As for Madden, it reminded him of the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue.” 

Nicole Richie, Joel Madden and FamilyPhoto: Charley Gallay/WireImage

River Rose, daughter of Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock

Kelly Clarkson admits that she wasn’t too creative when it came to naming her daughter. “[My] were outside on our balcony and we both looked at each other and were like, ‘What about River? That’s kind of cool.’” The couple lives on a river, which is why Clarkson thinks their baby name lacks creativity. Rose is Kelly’s mom’s maiden name. We think River Rose is a lovely nature-inspired name

Kelly Clarkson smiling with her daughter RiverPhoto courtesy of Kelly Clarkson via Twitter

Read more:
40 unique celebrity baby names
20 celebrity moms get real on what it was like to give birth 22 celebrity moms who are damn proud of their postpartum bodies

This article was originally published on Nov 15, 2017
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