22 Celebrity Baby Names and the Origin Stories Behind Them

Give your bundle of joy some star power

Actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively with daughters James Reynolds and Ines Reynolds attend the ceremony honoring Ryan Reynolds with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California
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Ah, celebrities: We love their style, their beauty recs and their interior design. So it only makes sense that we look to the stars for baby name inspo, too. If you’re hoping to give your future child a unique name then we’ve got plenty of options (it’s probably pretty sweet to be the only Sir in the sandbox), but there are also a handful of more traditional names on our list if that’s more your thing (oh hey, Katherine). And before you commit to an A-list moniker, be sure to read up on how your favorite actors, singers and entrepreneurs picked their offspring’s moniker.

gwyneth paltrow chris martin
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1. Apple

  • Parents: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin 

The consciously uncoupled pair were reportedly inspired to give their firstborn this fresh name thanks to Martin’s North American booking agent, Marty Diamond. He has a daughter named Apple, and according to People, the couple asked if they could give their child the same first name if they ended up having a girl.

christian ponder samantha ponder
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2. Robinson True

  • Parents: ESPN reporter Samantha Ponder and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Christian Ponder

“He goes by True,” Ponder said in a statement. “He was named after Jackie and David…two men of courage who weren’t/aren’t afraid to hold to their convictions and take the road less traveled.”

brad pitt angelia jolie
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3. Shiloh Nouvel

  • Parents: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (RIP) 

According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, the 1897 work of biblical definitions, Shiloh—a Hebrew name—translates to “Messiah” or “Peaceful One.” Born via C-section in Namibia, she joined a family that already included Maddox and Zahara. With the middle name Nouvel, her full moniker roughly translates to “New Messiah.” High expectations much?

beyonce jayz
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4. & 5. Rumi and Sir

  • Parents: Beyoncé and Jay-Z

Born after big sister Blue Ivy, these twins had a tough act to follow. "Rumi is our favorite poet, so it was for our daughter," Jay-Z explained. Her brother was named post-delivery, when he made his personality apparent. "Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.”

matthew morrison renee
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6. Revel James Makai

  • Parents: Matthew Morrison and wife Renee Puente

“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,” Morrison told People, adding that he and his wife had decided on an “M” name if they had a girl and an “R” one for a boy, wanting to choose something “unique” but not too “weird.” 

kim kardashian kanye west
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7. & 8. North and Saint

  • Parents: (The couple formerly known as) Kimye 

Kanye and Kim naming their daughter North started out (appropriately) as a tabloid rumor. But when the moniker gained buzz, along with the approval of Pharrell Williams and Anna Wintour, “Kanye and I looked at one another and just laughed,” Kardashian told British GQ. “I guess at that point it sort of stuck." Momager Kris Jenner went on to clarify: "North means highest power and [Kim] says that North is their highest point together." As for the highest power’s baby brother, according to E! News, “Saint was picked since it's akin to saying he is ‘a blessing,’ especially because [Kim] had such a difficult pregnancy."

nick cannon brittany be
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9. Golden

  • Parents: Nick Cannon and former Miss Arizona U.S.A Brittany Bell 

After calling his twins (with Mariah Carey) Moroccan and Monroe, the America’s Got Talent host has proven himself a gold-medal baby namer. The baby’s nickname? “Go Go,” of course

zoe saldana marco
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10. Zen

  • Parents: Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego Saldana

After having twins Cy Adorio and Bowie Ezio, the Guardians of the Galaxy star and her husband welcomed a third son, Zen. And while other mothers of boys may disagree, Saldana’s baby was apparently named for his peaceful nature. Posting on Instagram on her son’s first birthday, the actress wrote: “You came into our lives in the most "zen" way, and today you still continue to be our little Yogi baby.”

kristen bell dax shepard
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11. & 12. Lincoln and Delta

  • Parents: Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard

The Frozen and Parenthood stars had planned to name their first child Lincoln when they felt a distinct “boy vibe” during Bell's pregnancy and decided to stick with it when they found out she was a girl. As for their second child, Delta, the name was inspired by a teasing text. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Kristen says, "Dax's friend texted, 'Are you going to pick another badass name, like 'Delta Force'?' Dax went, 'Ooh! Delta!'"...and the rest is history.

Co-owner David Beckham of Inter Miami CF and wife Victoria Beckham look on prior to the Leagues Cup 2023 match between Inter Miami CF and Atlanta United at DRV PNK Stadium on July 25, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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13. & 14. Brooklyn and Harper

  • Parents: Victoria and David Beckham

According to an interview published in The Independent, the Beckhams chose this name for their first-born child because Victoria was in Brooklyn when she found out she was pregnant and called David to tell him the happy news. As for the timing of that phone call, it was the night before his big 1998 World Cup match against Argentina—a game that didn’t turn out so well and, unlike the beautiful bun in Victoria’s oven, ended up causing him much personal and professional grief. As for their daughter, Harper, the name was reportedly inspired by the classic book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which David Beckham described as a “strong and passionate” read.

Mindy Kaling on Monday, October 2, 2023
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15. Katherine Swati

  • Parents: Mindy Kaling 

The Office writer and actor Mindy Kaling is famously private when it comes to her family. That said, Entertainment Tonight reports that she did answer questions from fans on social media about the name she chose for her daughter, Katherine Swati. Apparently her daughter’s first name was inspired by Hollywood starlet Katherine Hepburn and the middle name Swati was chosen as a tribute to her Indian heritage and, more importantly, her beloved mother who sadly lost her battle against pancreatic cancer in 2012.

Blake Lively and Honoree Ryan Reynolds attend the 36th Annual American Cinematheque Awards at The Beverly Hilton on November 17, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.
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16. James

  • Parents: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds 

Actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are known for being quite open about family life with witty banter and down-to-earth parenting comments on social media. As such, it should come as no surprise that they also shared with fans why they gave their first-born daughter the gender-neutral and decidedly hip name, James. In an appearance on Good Morning America, Lively explains, “it’s a family name and I always liked having a boy’s name.” And the family connection is a touching one, as James was the name of Reynolds’s late father.

Mark Zuckerberg (L) and Priscilla Chan attend the 2019 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on November 4, 2018 in Mountain View, California
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17. Aurelia

  • Parents: Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg 

In case you missed it, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a real thing for the Roman Empire. (Power and glory!) So much so that he and wife Priscilla Chan have named all three of their children after Roman emperors—the most recent addition being Aurelia Chan Zuckerberg (born in March of 2023) whose powerful name was inspired by Marcus Aurelius.

Grimes and Elon Musk attend "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & the Catholic Imagination", the 2018 Costume Institute Benefit at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City
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18. & 19. X Æ A-12  and Y

  • Parents: Grimes and Elon Musk 

Canadian singer Grimes and Tesla CEO Elon Musk might not be romantically involved anymore, but they were both clearly on the same page when it came to choosing highly unusual names for their children. Per The Independent, the two parents pronounce their first child’s name, X Æ A-12 , differently—but Grimes tweeted an explanation for the moniker as a combination of the unknown variable (X), an “elven” spelling of AI (i.e., “love and/or artificial intelligence”) and a reference to their favorite reconnaissance aircraft. We’re guessing the kid just goes by X, which makes sense considering that Grimes revealed in a tweet that his younger sister’s name had been simplified to “‘Y,’ or ‘Why?’ or maybe just ‘?’...the eternal question.” (Um, yeah, you can say that again.)

Recording artists Gwen Stefani (L) and Gavin Rossdale attend the PEOPLE Magazine Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 18, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California
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20. Kingston

  • Parents: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale 

City-inspired names are having a moment and it’s safe to say Gwen and Gavin are on board with the trend. The musicians became parents in 2006 with the birth of their son Kingston James McGregor Rossdale—a quite stately name that Vogue reports was inspired by the Jamaican city of Kingston. (We’re guessing the ska-pop queen is a fan of the Caribbean country.)

Ed Sheeran and Cherry Seaborn during The BRIT Awards 2022 at The O2 Arena on February 08, 2022 in London, England
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21. Lyra

  • Parents: Cherry Seaborn and Ed Sheeran 

Sources say that Ed Sheeran and his wife decided on the name Lyra Antarctica for their daughter because they were seeking a given name as unique as Cherry’s and were also inspired by a trip the couple took to Antarctica just before Cherry became pregnant. (A place of conception, perhaps?) 

Beyoncé Knowles and Jay Z
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22. Blue

  • Parents: Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z 

You already know about the twins Rumi and Sir, but what’s the deal with Blue Ivy? In an interview with Gayle King, Jay-Z shared that, after briefly considering the name Brooklyn, he and B ultimately settled on Blue (Ivy) for their daughter—a less obvious choice that was inspired by the fact that the couple had referred to her as a “little blueberry” before she was born. (Seriously cute, right?)

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Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...