The Most Talked About Celebrity Baby Names of 2014
Apollo Bowie Flynn
Parents: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale
These rock stars started a major baby name trend in 2006 with their oldest son, Kingston. “Until they chose it, the name Kingston was practically nonexistent,” says Wattenberg. “Since then [a good number of] parents leapt onto it.” Though Zuma, their second son’s name, didn’t quite catch on in the same way, it’s very possible Apollo, baby number three’s name, could be the next big thing. “It’s starting to take off because it’s a great balance between that superhero style and tradition, which the classical mythology gives it,” says Wattenberg. “Plus, it has the masculine ‘o’ ending.”
Parents: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher
Leave it to Jackie and Kelso to make a surprising move by giving their little girl one of the most popular boys’ names. “Wyatt has been one of the hottest boy names in America in the last decade. I call it the ‘crossover cowboy’ because it’s a very old-West name, yet it plays really well into the liberal coasts,” Wattenberg notes. And mixing it with a very girly middle name was a smart move. “Parents who give a really masculine first name to a girl almost always give a very feminine middle name in the hopes that it gives you some options,” Wattenberg says.
Parents: Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green
If baby Bodhi lives up to his Buddhist-inspired name, expect him to grow up to become a very spiritual and calm boy. “Bodhi is really an important Buddhist concept, not a traditional Buddhist name. It’s a ‘meaning’ name that’s about peace and enlightenment and spiritual growth,” says Wattenberg. “And his middle name, Ransom, [might] look weird to us because of the modern use of the word, but it’s actually an old Christian scripture name.”
Parents: Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac
We’d love to believe Johansson chose this name to declare her undying devotion to _The Golden Girls _(wouldn’t that have been awesome?), but she actually chose it to pay homage to her grandmother. “Rose has been the number one middle name in America for decades. Rose and Grace just absolutely dominate the middle name spot. But for some reason, Grace has taken off as a first name, and Rose has not,” Wattenberg explains. Putting Rose first definitely makes Johansson’s choice stand out from the celeb crowd, since the name Rose is having a Hollywood-middle-name moment, thanks to River Rose (Kelly Clarkson’s daughter), London Rose (Carson Daly’s daughter) and Alena Rose (Danielle and Kevin Jonas’s daughter).
Parents: Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen
There’s that Rose again! The ultra-private couple unabashedly named their daughter in honor of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Briar Rose was the name the three fairies gave Princess Aurora. So are fairy tale names (ahem, Elsa and Anna) set to take off? “We’ve always liked magical or fantasy names for girls. You can just track it through the history of popular culture,” says Wattenberg. “The name Samantha was practically unknown before Bewitched, and the TV show Charmed launched Piper and Phoebe.”
Parents: Meagan Camper and Pete Wentz
According to Wentz, his little guy inspired his own name because he was, well, a “saint” and waited to be born until after Wentz finished touring. But Wattenberg has a different take. “We celebrate our kids and exalt them with their names and this just seems to fit into that trend,” says Wattenberg. “Miracle is a very popular name for girls, so why not Saint for a boy?” Just a thought, but we might have flip-flopped it, making Lazslo his first name (wouldn’t Laz make a cute nickname?).
Tristan and Sasha
Parents: Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth
Though these names may seem unusual for boys in the US, they’re actually more popular than you think, particularly the name Tristan. “Sasha is almost exclusively female in the US, so they make a sort of unexpected pair of twins because the styles are so different,” says Wattenberg. “Tristan is very masculine, very French, and Sasha is a Russian nickname short for Alexander.”
Parents: Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha
No scandalous name for this couple! Washington and Asomugha created a pretty and personal moniker for their daughter by pairing a very popular first name with a meaningful middle name. “The middle name Amarachi is from her husband’s Nigerian heritage, while every form of Isabelle is popular today,” says Wattenberg. She also notes that the French ending of the name—with two “l’s”—makes it sound both romantic and assertive. “It has a crisper feeling than just ending in a single ‘l,’ like Isabel or Annabel.”
Parents: Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling
It was a nice—and totally unexpected—surprise that the very private couple recently revealed how they came up with their daughter’s name: Esmeralda for the gypsy in _The Hunchback of Notre-Dame _and Amada after Mendes’s grandmother. “Esmeralda is Spanish for emerald. So you might think it’s like naming a kid Ruby,” Wattenberg explains. “You hear it a lot more in Spanish-speaking communities. Some parents also choose it with the goal of using the nickname Esme.”
Parents: Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis
This New York couple gave a nod to Wilde’s favorite singer, Otis Redding, when naming their firstborn. And the name is on the fast track to becoming mainstream, says Wattenberg. “Otis is starting to make a comeback since it has two things going for it: One is that long ‘o’ sound, since long vowels in names like Owen are popular now, and the ‘s’ ending, like in Silas or Jonas, is also hot.”
Parents: Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler
Depending on where in the country you live, you’re either super-sick of the name Jaxon or you’ve never heard it (unless you’re a fan of Vanderpump Rules, of course). “In the space of just a few years, Jax with an ‘x’ has gone from unconventional to wildly trendy,” says Wattenberg. “Jaxon is a top 50 name nationwide, and top 10 in states like Oklahoma, Idaho and West Virginia. And don’t start calling Jaxon ‘Jack;’ it’s Jax with an ‘x’ like the video game hero—a very ‘man of action’ name.”
Parents: Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman
It’s hard not to love Barrymore or her quirky style when it comes to choosing names for her daughters. After all, baby Frankie’s big sister is adorably named Olive—though Frankie is actually more retro than unusual. “It’s a genuinely old-fashioned name. You look back to around the 1920s and there was a whole generation of little girls named Frankie, Billie and Bobbie,” says Wattenberg. “It also brings to mind that old song ‘Frankie and Johnny,’ which to me is an interesting throwback.”
Parents: Lindsay Price and Curtis Stone
Surprise! Two-thirds of babies named Emerson today are girls. But it looks like Price and Stone stuck to the name’s masculine origins for their son. “A generation ago, this was a classic preppy boy’s name. It’s very literary and very British,” says Wattenberg. “But ever since Madison became popular with girls, that broke the mold and the ‘son’ ending doesn’t necessarily mean ‘son’ anymore.” Plus, the name Emerson makes a great connection to author Ralph Waldo Emerson. “He makes a really inspiring model, because he has so many fabulous quotes about living your best life and being yourself!”
Parents: Susan Downey and Robert Downey Jr.
Downey Jr.’s choice reads like the popular Hebrew name, but that’s not the case with his daughter. Wattenberg explains: “The important thing to know about this name is it’s not the Hebrew boy’s name Avri, short for Abraham. It’s actually pronounced with the long ‘A,’ like Avery. It’s another old-fashioned boy’s name, like Courtney, that switched sides somewhere down the line.” As for the unusual middle name? “As I understand it, they created Roel as a way to honor all four grandparents: Robert, Elsie, Rosie and Eliot. Grandparent ‘mash-up’ names are a growing trend.”
Parent: Lil’ Kim
You didn’t really think Lil’ Kim would go with a name like Jane, right? “If you think of the name Royal, back a century ago, that was a pretty common boys’ name, and adjectives were more common for boys’ names. You had Noble and Royal and titles like Major and even General,” says Wattenberg. “I think this one actually could gain some momentum. Parents like these names of celebration. Destiny is a great example of that. You’ve gotten so used to that being a name that we forget that not so long ago it would have seemed outrageous.”
Parents: Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas
If this name sounds very refined to you, you’re on the right track. “Oliver, until recently, was the number one name in England,” says Wattenberg. “It still has a British sound to it, presumably via Oliver Cromwell and Oliver Twist, but it’s one of the names I call a ‘quirky classic’ for boys.” Then they tacked Finlay on and spelled it with an “a,” which gives it a very Scottish flair, Wattenberg says.