When I was pregnant, my husband and I struggled to name our daughter. Ultimately, we both liked Ashby (my grandfather's name). It works for a girl or a boy, and I love that it comes from "ash tree," a symbol of strength. Often, celebs get flack for choosing unusual names, such as Blue Ivy. Reportedly, it comes from Jay-Z's The Blueprint CDs and the Roman numeral for four (IV) -- Beyoncé's and Jay-Z's birthdays and anniversary fall on a 4th. The strong meaning behind their baby's name made me curious about how other stars chose names.
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Not too long ago I chatted with Mel about the meaning behind names, and she told me she was touched that Madison, 1 year, was named by big sister, Phoenix, 12. "Phoenix became very attached to her little sister, so much so that [after she was born] I said, 'I want you to name her.' Her eyes lit up, she thought for a while, and said, 'Mummy, we have to call her Madison.'"
Sarah Michelle Gellar
At the Golden Globes, SMG talked about why she and hubby, Freddie Prinze Jr., chose Charlotte Grace for their now 2-year-old: "We just wanted something that was simple, pretty to us, and that we thought she would enjoy as she goes through life. It's pressure [to name your baby] because you really can mess up your child at birth."
The star told me she came up with Naleigh for her now 3-year-old by combining her mom's name (Nancy) and her sister's (Leigh). "And we used [sort of] an anagram of Heigl. You spell it N-A-L-E-I-G-H," she explained.
When I ran into the pregnant TV star, she shared that she's waiting until the sex of the baby is revealed to think about names. But she may already have the middle name if it's a boy: "There is a tradition in my husband's family that, for four generations, the boys have Alexis in their name."
Catch Nancy O'Dell in action on Entertainment Tonight weeknights.
Originally published in the April 2012 issue of Parents magazine.