If you were born in the late '80s or early '90s, chances are you had a lot of kids with the same name in your class. Maybe you were even one of them! Those classrooms were overrun with Stephanies, Megans, Matthews, Michaels, and Amandas. More often than not, the last initial needed to be added to differentiate between the two (or three, or more). Nowadays, though, parents are choosing to adopt more unique monikers for their kids although that’s had a bit of a backfiring effect, as previously rare names are becoming more common – think Violet, Jasper, Harper, and Jackson. It seems that celebrities are – and always have been – ahead of the curve when it comes to baby-naming, though! While some celebs like to keep things simple a classic, others, well, not so much.
However, this isn’t yet another article about one odd name in a family of normal names – this is about the celeb families who have chosen to spread the strange when it comes to gifting their kids with a moniker. Strange spellings, odd punctuation, objects, or just weird words are all included in this list. Hey, at least these kids know that they’re in good company, and not the only ones to explain an unusual name to a teacher!
20 The Wests
We’ve been around them so long and they’ve been in the news pretty much since birth, but there was a time when the monikers given to the children of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West did raise a few eyebrows.
In fact, the name “North West” was initially conceived as a joke in the tabloids but, as it turns out, both Pharrell Williams and Vogue’s Anna Wintour encouraged the name.
After North, of course, came son Saint and daughter Chicago, who has been nicknamed “Chi,” in accordance with the one-syllable pattern of her siblings.
19 Nick Cannon’s Kids
With ex-wife Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon had his first experience with unusual baby-naming, dubbing their twins Moroccan and Monroe, but he didn’t stop there. After the pair split, Cannon didn’t wait too long before conceiving another child, this time with now-ex-girlfriend Brittany Bell. They welcomed a baby boy in February 2017 – who they named “Golden.” Not quite a pun but almost, the unfortunate moniker isn’t apparently what the child will usually be called – Cannon admitted that they would refer to him by a nickname, “Sagon.” (It didn’t stop the TV host from throwing a “Golden Safari”-themed bash for the baby’s first birthday, though.)
18 Kate Hudson’s Mixed Brood
Kate Hudson recently welcomed a daughter to her brood, but she got on the interesting name trend a while back. First up was son Ryder Robinson with Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson in 2004, by all accounts a standard name, if a little edgy for “normal people” back in 2004. Then came son Bingham Hawn Bellamy with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy in 2011 – a little more esoteric, but doable. Just this past year, however, we were introduced to daughter Rani Rose, whose first name is pronounced “Ronnie,” making us wonder why they didn’t spell it that way in the first place.
17 The Whitakers
In all fairness to actor Forest Whitaker, the names of his children sound like they all belong together, especially considering that the patriarch of the fam is equally nature-oriented, thanks to the name “Forest.”
With former wife Keisha Nash, he has two daughters, named Sonnet Noel and True, as well as two children from previous relationship: Ocean, a son from Whitaker, and Autumn, a daughter from Nash. In a regular family, these names might be pretty odd, but, altogether, they sound rather lovely, if a little difficult to put on a job application.
16 The Simpson-Wentz-Ross Clan
When Ashlee Simpson and ex-husband and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz introduced their son as Bronx Mowgli, they definitely raised a few eyebrows. While Wentz didn’t speak much to the first name being an NYC borough, he did dish on the middle name, explaining that that couple had bonded over The Jungle Book.
While the couple split, the odd names followed. Simpson later married Evan Ross, son of singing legend Diana Ross, and had a daughter together, whom they named Jagger Snow, which is a little bit rock-and-roll – fitting for the musical family!
15 The Maddens
Another musical family on our list with equally unusual names, Joel Madden and Nicole Richie seemed to combine their loves of music, fashion, and the strange when they decided to name their kids. In 2008, Richie gave birth to daughter Harlow Winter Kate, which inspired the fashionista’s two lines: a jewelry line launched the same year was called House of Harlow 1960 and a woman’s line called Winter Kate came out in 2010.
In addition to Harlow, the couple had a son in 2009, who they gave the distinctly unusual name of Sparrow James Midnight, which sounds a bit like a super villain or an avant-garde artist – two comparisons they’re probably okay with!
14 The Fryes
Look, when your own name is Soleil Moon Frye, you’re probably not going to be naming your kids Ashley or Matthew, right? The actress – who has been in the Hollywood business since childhood – got more than a little creative when it came to naming her kiddos.
After marrying TV producer Jason Goldberg in 1998, the two had four children together, with pretty, but offbeat, names. First up, there was daughter Poet Sienna Rose in 2005, followed by Jagger Joseph Blue in 2008, and then sons Lyric Sonny Roads in 2014 and Story in 2016. Like we said, pretty names, but ones that might be nicer to read than to actually live with.
13 The Morissettes
Did we ever really expect singer Alanis Morissette to give her children a normal name? While the singer-songwriter doesn’t have a reputation for being strange, exactly, she’s never been shy about speaking her mind and has always been a force of creativity, so why would that change when she became a mom? After marrying rapper Mario “Souleye” Treadway in 2010, the two began a family with two kids, a son named Ever Imre in 2010 and a daughter named Onyx Solace. There is some rhythm to both names, and we suppose some of the strangeness comes from a guy who prefers to be called “Souleye.”
12 The Phillips-Silversteins
For a cutesy, nature-oriented kind of naming, look no further than actress Busy Phillips! First, there was daughter Birdie Leigh, which is cute and a little different, but not so different that people would ask her to repeat herself in a classroom setting. A little stranger, however, is her sister, who has a name that’s a little more animal-focused and a little less common: Cricket Pearl.
Phillips defended her naming choice, saying that she and husband Marc Silverstein decided that, rather than give them a nickname, they would simply legally name their children what the wanted to call them. Makes sense I guess.
11 The Stallones
With five children bearing his name, actor Sylvester Stallone had lots of opportunity to get a little creative. Plus, considering the alliterative nature of his name, we understand why he wanted to make them all match one another (and himself)!
Starting from the most to the least common, we’ve got Sophia Rose, Scarlet Rose, and Sistine Rose (yes, all three girls share the same middle name),
then we have son Sage Moonblood, who tragically passed away from heart disease at the age of 36 in 2012 and, finally, we have son Seargeoh, who wins the top spot only for the strange spelling of his name – it’s pronounced as the fairly standard “Sergio.”
10 The Rodriguez Family
Another man who’s a fan of having a ton of kids and naming them all with the same first letter, the alliterative offspring of director Robert Rodriguez have names that are pretty fierce, which we might expect from the man behind movies with titles like Planet Terror, Grindhouse, Machete, and Sin City.
With ex-wife of 16 years Elizabeth Avellán, Rodriguez has sons Rebel, Rogue, Racer, and Rocket Valentin, as well as daughter Rhiannon Elizabeth, who, by most accounts, got off way easier. For what it’s worth, Rodriguez claims the strange names are the side effects of medical tests he subjected himself to for extra cash!
9 The Badus
If you have a mother as theatrical and avant-garde as Erykah Badu, you can probably bet good money that your name won’t be something you’ll have to share with other kids in the classroom. The first born with Outkast’s Andre 3000 was son Seven Sirius in 1997, a daughter with rapper D.O.C. named Puma Sabti in 2004, and finally, another daughter with rapper Jay Electronic, named Mars Merkaba.
Hey, maybe the seriously creative star was just a huge Seinfeld and George Costanza fan when she named her first-born, and so had to follow it up with her other kids.
8 The Lees
When it comes to strange baby names, Jason Lee is almost always mentioned, largely in part to the odd moniker he gave his son, Pilot Inspektor. Allegedly, the actor decided on the name after listening to a song by Grandaddy called “He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot”. Not exactly flattering!
However, Lee didn’t stop the strange train there when it came to naming his kids (although Pilot Inspektor definitely wins – or loses – this one). Up next were two daughters, Casper and Alberta, and son who is named, simply, “Sonny”. Maybe Lee’s connection to Scientology is to blame?
7 The Sossamon Family
Shannyn Sossamon admitted to feeling a little unprepared when she had her first child at the age of 24, and that she had decided to put aside acting to focus on raising her son. Perhaps it was youthful exuberance – and a lack of foresight – that caused her to name her first child Audio Science! Yes, seriously. It’s especially interesting to consider that Audio Science was joined by a little brother almost a decade later, who received a much more normal name, albeit one that is better suited to an elderly man than a baby: Mortimer. We wonder how Audio Science felt about that!
6 The Stefani-Rossdales
Before the fallout of her marriage with Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, Gwen Stefani had three sons by him, all with fairly lengthy names. First was Kingston James McGregor Rossdale, who got his first name from the capital of Jamaica. Then came Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale, another location-inspired title, this time after Zuma Beach in Malibu. The only switch-up was their last son, Apollo Bowie Flynn Rossdale, who was named for the Greek and Roman god of the son, with his middle names being the maiden names of both Rossdale’s and Stefani’s mother, as well as a nice homage to the late David Bowie.
5 Lil’ Mo’s Offspring
The name Lil’ Mo might not be familiar, but once you learn that her full name is Cynthia Karen Loving, you’ll understand why she named some of her kids what she did.
The thing is, the rapper gave her sons totally normal names – Justin and Jonah, respectively – but really threw a curveball when it came to naming her daughters, whom she dubbed Heaven Love’on and God’Iss Love. Sure, it might be a nice sentiment to express how she feels about her baby girls, but what it with the unnecessary apostrophes and odd spelling? We imagine that Justin and Jonah are probably feeling pretty fortunate they didn’t get saddled with such intense names.
4 The Geldofs
Bob Geldof, for all of his talents, really screwed over his kids when it came to naming them. Seriously, they sound like something a child might have invented when playing with dolls, or the unfortunate names of a beloved pet. (They’re all adults now, so it’s okay to critique.) First, named for his aunt and because his wife Paula Yates wanted a “belle” in the family, we have daughter Fifi Trixibelle. Next up is the late Peaches Honeyblossom, and, finally, Little Pixie. Yes, really. Perhaps it was Yates who was behind most of this, since she had previously had a daughter with INXS leader Michael Hutchence, named Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (and whom Geldof adopted).
3 The Olivers
Is it a British thing or a famous thing or both when it comes to bestowing adorable, cutesy, strawberry-scented names to one’s offspring? We only ask because famed TV chef Jamie Oliver took a page out of Bob Geldof’s book when it came to naming his own litter of little ones.
In 2002, Oliver and wife Jools welcomed daughter Poppy Honey Rosie; in 2003, Daisy Boo Pamela; in 2009 Petal Blossom Rainbow (allegedly named for a My Little Pony character); in 2010, son Buddy Bear Maurice; and son Rocket Blue Dallas in 2016. In addition to explaining that the multiple names were because she “couldn’t decide,” Jools said she “hate[s[ people’s opinions on names.”
2 The Jillettes
Could we really expect normal names from a famed illusionist and performer? Penn Jillette (of magician duo Penn and Teller) and wife Emily have two extremely unique names for their children. Son Zolten Penn Jillette definitely sounds like a sci-fi character or at least an old school magician, but it’s daughter Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette who really takes the cake here! We like the spunkiness that “Moxie” conjures up, but having your middle name be “CrimeFighter” seems like you’ve already been given a path to follow – what if she ends up a criminal instead? The irony would be pretty delicious!
1 The Zappas
The granddaddy of strange celebrity names, musician Frank Zappa certainly didn’t limit his imagination and creativity, even when it came to naming his own children. However, according to his widow, Adelaide Gail Sloatman, the strange names did have real meaning. Explaining son Dweezil Zappa, Sloatman said “Dweezil” was a nickname, while son Ahmet Emuukha Rodan was named for an “imaginary butler.” As for daughter Moon Unit, Sloatman was told to choose between “Moon” or “Motorhead,” while “Unit” signified their union as a family. Diva Muffin Zappa was named because she was a noisy baby, although we don’t know how “Muffin” fits the picture!
References: Vogue, She Knows, Parents, Elle, Today, People, Daily Mail, The Telegraph