Film- and Literature-Inspired Names
You don't have to have a lovebug of your own to enjoy romantic baby names! Names that convey love, beauty, and sweetness -- or those inspired by memorable cinematic affairs -- will warm your heart long after the last truffle has disappeared from its heart-shaped box.
Love on the Big Screen
- If romance movies are your ticket to a good time, you might find some inspiration at your local movie theatre (or maybe just on your couch with a classic DVD). Although you could turn just about anywhere, you might as well start with some timeless hits. Think Gone with the Wind with Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara, Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, and Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton. Although many of these names have since gone out of style, radio shock-jock Howard Stern and then-wife Alison Berns named one of their daughters Ashley Jade in 1993. Warren Beatty and wife Annette Bening also bestowed the name on one of their daughters in 1997: Isabel Ira Ashley.
- On the other hand, the name Olivia has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity, peaking at the fourth most popular name for girls in 2004, according to the Social Security Administration. Actor Denzel Washington and wife Pauletta named their youngest daughter Olivia when she was born with twin brother Malcom in 1991. And in June 2004, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder and wife Jill McCormack named their first daughter Olivia as well. As for the name Melanie, Peter Gabriel's second daughter was named Melanie upon her birth in 1976 and eventually joined her father on tour in 2002 and 2003. Actress and singer Vanessa Williams also has a daughter named Melanie, born in 1987 with then-husband Ramon Hervey.
- If the 1970s in the Northeast are more your taste than Southern Civil War era love stories, perhaps Love Story is a better match for you. With Ali McGraw as Jenny Cavalleri and Ryan O'Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, who could forget the timeless lesson that, "Love means never having to say you're sorry?" Although still a popular name, Jennifer has steadily dropped in popularity since it was the number one most popular name for girls from 1970 though the mid-1980s. Oliver is a far less common name (ranked 229th in 2004), but that didn't stop musician Danny Elfman and actress Bridget Fonda from naming their son Oliver Henry Milton in 2005, or former frontman for The Cars, Ric Ocasek, and wife Paulina Porizkova, actress and former supermodel, from naming their son Oliver Orion in 1998, or actor Fred Savage and wife Jennifer Stone from naming their son Oliver Philip in August 2006.
Shakespeare in Modern Times
What little girl (or woman, for that matter) doesn't dream of being swept off her feet by a handsome suitor? We can thank the Bard himself for creating such unrealistic romantic expectations for so many of us. Some parents have chosen to keep the flames of love a-burnin' through the choice of Shakespearean romantic tragedy-inspired names. For example, actress Janine Turner (perhaps best known for her portrayal of Maggie O'Connell on the eccentric TV series Northern Exposure) named her only daughter Juliette Lorraine in November 1997. And rapper Master P named his son Percy Romeo, Jr. in August 1989. Percy Jr. is now known as the child rapper and actor Lil' Romeo. British soccer star David Beckham and wife Victoria (formerly known as "Posh Spice") named their second son Romeo in September 2002. Singer Jon Bon Jovi and wife Dorothea Hurley also love the name -- their youngest son, born in March 2004, is Romeo Jon. And while we're talking about Shakespeare, how about a sonnet or two? (He wrote plenty of 'em.) Forest Whitaker and wife, Keisha, have a daughter, Sonnet, who was born in October 1996.
Roses by the Dozen
Seemingly just as popular as the traditional symbol of romance is around Valentine's Day, the name Rose has proven to be quite the popular middle name. In chronological order, here's a sampling of some of the celebs who have recently bestowed this moniker on their daughters.
- Michelle Pfeiffer adopted daughter Claudia Rose in March of 1993, shortly before marrying television producer David E. Kelley.
- Sylvester Stallone and wife Jennifer Flavin have three roses of their own: Sophia Rose (August 1996), Sistine Rose (June 1998), and Scarlet Rose (May 2002).
- Before Teri Hatcher was a Desperate Housewife, she and then-husband Jon Tenney named their daughter Emerson Rose in November 1997.
- Johnny Depp and girlfriend Vanessa Paradis greeted daughter Lily-Rose Melody in May 1999.
- Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and wife Karen named their first daughter Alexandra Rose in January 2000.
- Rocker Eric Clapton and wife Melia named their first daughter together Julie Rose in 2001.
- Charlie Sheen and then-wife Denise Richards welcomed daughter Lola Rose in June 2005.
- Australian actress Rachel Griffiths of Six Feet Under and husband, artist Andrew Taylor, then welcomed daughter Adelaide Rose a few weeks later.
- Soleil Moon Frye and husband Jason Goldberg (co-creator of the MTV hit Punk'd) welcomed their first child, Poet Sienna Rose, in August 2005.
- Daily Show host Jon Stewart and wife Tracey named their daughter Maggie Rose in February 2006.
- Actor/director Jon Favreau and wife Joya named their daughter Brighton Rose in August 2006.
- In October 2006, rocker Melissa Etheridge and partner Tammy Lynn Michaels named one of their twins Johnnie Rose.
Will You Be My Valentine?
Okay, let's call it the obvious but still romantic choice. Singer David Byrne of the Talking Heads and then-wife Adelle Lutz welcomed only daughter Malu Valentine in 1990. Acclaimed movie director Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids, and Sin City, to name a few of his films) and wife Elizabeth Avellan welcomed son Rocket Valentin into the family. And former MTV veejay Lisa Kennedy Montgomery (known simply as Kennedy) and husband, David Lee, a former professional snowboarder, welcomed daughter Pele Valentina in July 2005.
Not Just for the Bees
Although many folks use the word honey as a term of endearment for a significant other, some parents love it so much that they want everyone to call their child "Honey." For example, British broadcaster Jonathan Ross and his wife, author Jane Goldman, sweetly bestowed one of their daughters with the name Honey Kinney. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his wife Jools preferred it as a middle name for one of their daughters, Poppy Honey, as did actress Kate Winslet and then-husband James Threapleton who named their daughter Mia Honey.
I Just Want to Be Loved
To sprinkle some love in a name, you don't have to do it blatantly. Sure, you can go with the in your face method (think Jennifer Love Hewitt or Ruby Sweetheart Maguire, actor Tobey Maguire and fiancee Jen Meyer's daughter, born in November 2006), but you can also chose a name that means "lovable" or "beloved" and convey the same message. For example, the girls' names Adora, Aiko, Amanda, Amy, Daryl, Desiree, Suki, Taffy, and Trudy all mean "beloved." For boys, you might consider Alvin, David, Kevin, or Leif.
Life Is Belle
Belle, the French word for beautiful, is a popular middle name for the gorgeous children of celebrities. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis have their own belle daughter -- Tallulah Belle, that is. Actress Lisa Rinna, of Melrose Place and Days of Our Lives fame, and husband Harry Hamlin, of the hit series L.A. Law, chose the beautiful name Delilah Belle for their first daughter, born in 1998. For her popular Hollywood boutique, Belle Gray, Rinna combined Delilah's middle name with that of Delilah's younger sister, Amelia Gray. And Dan Ackroyd and wife Donna Dixon gave even greater prominence to the name when they chose it for the first name of their second daughter, Belle Kingston.
Interestingly, the name Beau, which is the masculine counterpart to belle, has also found some fans. It is the nickname of Lloyd Vernet Bridges III (more commonly known as Beau Bridges). Country music singer Tanya Tucker named her only son Beau Grayson in 1991 after her father, Beau Tucker. And, folk singer Art Garfunkel and wife Kim welcomed their second son, Beau, in October 2005 through a surrogate.
Speaking of beauty, there are plenty of other names that mean beautiful. Try Adara or Adonia, both Greek for beautiful. Or better yet, go for the gold with Calista, which means most beautiful. Alana also means beautiful, along with Farrah, Kyla, Kylie, and Linda. Some fans of such beautiful names include Boston Red Sox Kevin Millar who named his daughter Kiley Faith, and Geddy Lee, the bass player from Rush, who named his daughter Kyla Avril. Actress Andrea Evans of the soap opera Passions and husband Steve named their adopted daughter Kylie Lin in May 2004. There's also the option of the ever-popular Bella, which is Italian for beautiful. Among the many celebrities who favor the name are actors Peter Facinelli and Jennie Garth who named their first daughter Luca Bella in June 1997, actress Leah Remini and husband Angelo Pagan who named their daughter Sofia Bella in June 2004, actor Billy Bob Thornton and girlfriend Connie Anglund who named their first child together Bella in September 2004, actor Mark Ruffalo and wife Sunrise Coigney who named their daughter Bella in May 2005, and, Skating with Celebrities host and Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders and her Olympic skier husband Erik Schlopy who named their daughter Skye Bella in April 2006. Finally, if you're looking for an attractive name for boys, Alan means handsome, as do Kenneth, Kyle, and Shaquille.
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, December 2005. Updated December 2006.