Sunday Rose: Behind Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's name choice

07/07/2008 at 01:00 PM ET

Nicolekidmankeithurbancmtawards34jpWith many readers expressing their opinions on Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban‘s choice of Sunday Rose for their new baby girl, we spoke to Linda Rosenkrantz, co-author of The Baby Name Bible: The Ultimate Guide By America’s Baby-Naming Experts, about the history behind day names and working with unusual surnames.

A really surprising and unique choice — the name Sunday has hardly been heard since the 1940s, when there was a soap opera called Our Gal Sunday.  Unlike months of the year (April, May, June) which are quite common, day names are rare, with the exception of Tuesday Weld and Wednesday on The Addams Family.  Unusual as it is, Sunday does project a nice sunny, serene image, it being the day of rest.

In contrast, Nicole and Keith did choose the middle name du jour, as Rose has replaced dated middle names like Ann and Lynn as probably the most commonly used today.

There’s a definite trend — particularly among celebrities — to use both parent’s surnames, asserting their equality, some of them going so far as to hyphenate them, a la Jolie-Pitt. Keith and Nicole did have a challenging last name to work with — if they had chosen a place name like Georgia, for example, Georgia Urban might have sounded more like a bus line than a baby!

Photo by Stephen Lovekin for Getty Images.

What do you think of day names? Additionally, if you have a difficult last name to work with, how did you make your choice?

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Liz on

I like the name Sunday Rose. My husband and I also used both are surnames in naming our son and so did a friend of mine.

vanina on

I like the name too, it’s very unusual but not ridiculous. We also decided on using both lastnames to name my kid…mainly because in my family we are all girls and i didn’t want to lose it!!!
Congrats To Nicole and Keith and all their family!!!!!

MB on

I am not a huge fan of day names, but I think Sunday is the prettiest name of any of the days, if that makes sense.

Although my last name is hyphenated, my husband and I have decided to give our baby only his last name, in part because his last name is rather long and also because if we have a girl I already have two middle names picked out. We’re still trying to narrow down the list of first names though, so the baby doesn’t end up with a mouthful name!

carie on

I think Sunday Rose has a nice ring to it. And I expect, at least by friends/family/relatives of theirs in Tennessee, that she will be called “Sunday Rose”. It seems, most of the time, people’s middle names are only seen in print, or when they have to fill out things. People commonly only go by their first names. But in the South, it’s VERY common to call people by their first and middle names.

Sara Watson on

I Think its a pretty name, unusual but pretty..I LOVE the middle name… ๐Ÿ™‚ I Don’t have a difficult last name, But my Daughter has a Unusual name .. ITs Leigh D’ann, And Its Hard Enough to get people to Pronounce it right !

Ashley on

My last name is hyphenated, but is very long combined. We didn’t want to saddle our daughter with a long last name, so we did what they did and gave her my last name as a second middle, then his as her actual last name. We’re planning on doing the same for #2!

Emma on

I really like the name Sunday Rose and given one of Keith’s ballads, it may have special meaning for them. Nicole’s older children also have longer names – Isabella Jane Kidman Cruise and Connor Antony Kidman Cruise.

stephanie on

If I remember correctly Kidman is also part of Isabella and Connor’s names. I love the name Sunday Rose, it has a nice ring to it. Then someone pointed out that it sounds like “Sunday Roast”, haha.

sleekraven on

I don’t think they simply picked Rose because it was the name du jour, Rose is Keith Urban’s grandmother’s name, she passed away in 2004.

I like the name Sunday Rose, the baby can do well with being nicknamed “Sunny”, I think.

sleekraven on

As for the baby having both names, it may have to do with the fact that the Kidman side of the family are all girls, there are more females in the extended Kidman family than there are males so perhaps it is a way to keep the name going down the generations?

Grayson's Girl on

I happen to love the name! Much like the names Honor and Harlow it’s a bit of a throw back to the days of yore that makes it classy and unique to this generation without being painfully different. I’m not a fan of the latest crop of staple first names deemed “normal”, so names that were popular in a different time work for me too! If I can find one with a strong meaning or connotation it’ll be even better.

I like the hyphenation/mother’s surname as a middle name trend as well because I don’t plan on changing mine when I marry. My last name can be used as a first name as well though, so we’ll see!

Hannah on

Sunday Rose is a beautiful name! Very unique but not ridiculous.

I had my heart set on the name Owen for my first child (No matter the sex) since I was a teenager, so of course when I married my husband Jack Owen (Proof that the universe has a sense of humor), those dreams were dashed. I certainly wasn’t about to name my child Owen Owen. We thought about hyphenating our last names when I got pregnant but it still sounded awkward. My kids Oliver and James are just as beautiful as the name Owen. Oh well! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Leslee on

I really like the name a lot! It’s unique but not absurd… plus you don’t have to figure out how to pronounce it!

I think that the idea of putting the mother’s maiden name as a second middle name is a great one. I kept my maiden name as my second middle name and plan to do the same as Nicole and Keith have done with my children.

Kolby on

I like Sunday Rose. It’s feminine but not overwhelmingly so, and unique without being completely unheard of.

We’re having a little boy in a few (short!) months, and since our last name is one syllable, we’re trying to stick to first names with more than one syllable, so they flow better.

Lindsay on

I know both a Tuesday and a Thursday, and I’ve heard of Wednesday before, so It’s not that unusual to me. Though I see my friend Tuesday’s name so often it’s like any other name, still things like Thursday and Wednesday make you wonder what was going through those parents heads, as they simply aren’t that pretty of words. Sunday is the prettiest day name, I think, though i prefer month names, myself.

kimk on

I love the name. Very unique and different..Congrats Nicole and Keith, may your beautiful baby bring you years of joy.

Kristi on

I happen to like the name Sunday Rose. I was a little taken aback when I first heard it, but it does have a nice ring to it once you get used to it. This is kind of off topic but I also like the name Easter. As in “he has a daughter he calls Easter, she was born on a Tuesday night” like the Sheryl Crow song…I’ve always thought it was pretty.

Kym on

It’s better then Suri!!!

FC on

I don’t mind it and not just because of Wednesday from The Addams Family series/movies. I actually knew of two girls, one named Sunday and the other named Tuesday, and they were siblings on top of that. I believe Tuesday was the oldest and Sunday was the youngest.

I thought it was funny to have day names back then when I first hung around them, but I just got used to it. No big deal.

Olivia on

Days of the week names may be uncommon in the U.S. (or Australia), but they are quite common in some African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. In fact, Kofi Annan’s name means Friday.

Jane on

I think Sunday Rose is really cute. I really like the nickname “Sunny.”

Since our last name starts with “Hammer,” we’ve had to avoid names like Jack, Sledge, and Ball Peen, but those are the only issues we’ve seen in naming our baby (who is due any day now).

As far as naming babies from songs, I’ve always liked the idea of naming a girl “Never,” as in “Never was a cornflake girl” from the Tori Amos song. The husband was much less of a fan.

Stef on

I would have thought the author here would reference “His Girl Friday.”

As for day names, I’d have to say that Tuesday has the best ring to it.

As for last names, my sister married a Schmitt. Due to the four-letter word it sounds a lot like, she had to be very careful what names she chose for her kids. (i.e. she had to give up on naming her son Daly) LOL

Robin on

Interesting that Tom’s kid is Suri and Nicole’s kid is Sunny. Oddly close.

Christina on

It’s not a terribly unusual name where I’m from. So, maybe it’s a regional thing? We’re from a pretty predominantly Italian Catholic area. My HS boyfriend’s sister & mother & grandmother were all named Dominica, the Anglicised version of which is Sunday. The sister was called Sunny as a child, the mother was called Sunday, and the grandmother was usually called Dominica, since she didn’t speak much English. The sister is grown and now goes by Sunday, as well.

Anocas on

In most countries, with the exception of North American countries and the British Isles parents normally name their children after both parents (first name + momยดs last name + dad’s last name, or two first names followed by both parents surnames, or even more than one surname), mainly in Europe and Latin America. For example I have one first name followed by my mom’s maiden name and two surnames from my dad. It’s pretty common. It’s actually more common than just having the dad’s last name.

Sandy on

I love the name they chose. It makes me smile to say it out loud. My last name is Box for goodness certainly had to be careful when naming my three kids, but I think Keith and Nicole picked a very pretty name that goes well with their last name. I wonder if Isabella and Conor helped pick the name?

Anocas on

Ah, and normally you never lose your maiden name, you just add your husband’s (or even more than one of your husband!), and some men can even add their wives (you know, the other side around…how cool is that? although that almost never happens LOL).

Ivey on

I wonder if she would have been Tuesday Rose if she were born on a Tuesday?

Luisa on

Robin, their daughter’s name is Sunday, not Sunny. And other than both names beginning with an ‘S’, the names aren’t similar …at all. This is Nicole and Keith’s moment, leave Tom and Katie out of it.

Dee on

I love the name Sunday. Like many have said it’s unique but not completely out there. I’m completely over the Aiden, Cayden, Jayden, Brayden, Hayden, Lola, Stella, Madison, Emma, etc. Those are lovely names but it seems like every 0-5yr old I meet has one of those names.

Erin on

The name Sunday is pretty unique but on the celebrity scale of baby names seems pretty normal, to be honest! As for the two last name thing….my middle name was my mother’s maiden name (same for my brother too), she tried to convince my father to change his to hers….she didn’t want to be Mrs Smith, it didn’t work out for th change but my brother and I both ended up with a really cool middle name….

Judy on

I’m not really feeling the name, but at least it’s not trendy (Tiffany, Emily, Amanda, Madison etc. really need a rest) and I guess it has some meaning for the parents.

My guess is they’ll call her Sunny.

Sooz on

I absolutely love the name they chose, I think it’s really pretty and unusual without being way out there! I’ve got a hard-to-work with surname, as does my partner, and I didn’t want to lose my name completely when we named our son, so he’s got the whopping name of Seth David (after both our dads) Calderwood Prior… long, but it works, in my humble opinion ๐Ÿ˜€

Lynsey on

I still think ‘Marie’ is the most common middle name for girls, but Rose must be a close second!

Tracy on

I wonder if she first heard the name from the late Paul Hester, drummer of Crowded House. He has a daughter named Sunday. And Nicole must be a fan, considering the lead singer sang at her wedding.

Anocas, having both last names is not that common in Europe at all. It’s only in Spanish speaking countries that it’s done (and perhaps Portugal?).

Tone on

On the topic of unusual names, a little girl I used to babysit was named Jealously. I thought it odd. But now it just kind of works with her>

Sara K. on

I like the trend as well of giving your maiden name as a second middle name. As a variation, I would want to give my children (if I ever have them) my mother’s middle name-which was *her* mother’s maiden name-as a second middle name. It’s a fairly uncommon Irish last name and is a way to honor both my mother and grandmother, who have passed on.
I wasn’t sure of it at first, but I really think Sunday Rose is a really pretty name!

Poppy on

I am not that much of a fun of day names but it’s not that unusual either, where i come from at least. Friday and Sunday are official christian names ( saint names )in Greece.

Sunday Rose is however a beautiful name combimation and sounds classy. You don’t really expect anything less from Nicole.

I want to wish them both the best for their little one and to enjoy their family to the max! Nicole is already a mother of two but she has many times expressed her desire to experience child birth and i am sooo happy it has worked out for her!

Boop on

I think Sunday Rose is beautiful… Sunday has always been on our list of baby names, and we’re rather fond of Tuesday too; but I’m not sure about the other days as names. Although, thinking about it, maybe they all work… except Monday… that’s just weird.

Buell on

These comments exemplify how US-centric this site is. Nicole and Keith are Australian. I can think of at least two other Australian celebrities who called their daughters Sunday (for my fellow Aussies, I’m thinking of Tex Perkins and the late Paul Hester). On top of that we had a well known art patron Sunday Reed whose biography caused a stir a few years ago. If anything I think we’ll find that Nicole has called her daughter after someone like the latter woman, who was a friend of Sidney Nolan.

Var on

Sunday Rose, a beautiful, classic and cheerful name!
Like a beautiful rose under the shiny sun! beautiful! suits Summer!

I don’t think She would be Tuesday if she was born on Tuesday. She was actually born on Monday!

Crystal V on

I actually like her name ๐Ÿ™‚
Better than one I heard the other day: Zebra (for a little girl!)

Leslee, I am assuming you pushed your maiden name to be a 2nd middle name when you got married. Was that hard to do? Did it require a long process of name change? Or did you just push it over when you changed your husband’s last name to yours?
I’m really interested in doing this!

Trisha on

It funny I said the name sounds
like Sunday Roast and mum said that
is what they said on our radio station

ellise on

its a really pretty name
when i first found out my friend told me it was sunday roast
im pleased to know it isnt.

Namesake Treasures Personalized Gifts on

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I missed this. Congratulations to Nicole & Keith!! I’m so incredibly excited for them. I’ll bet Sunday Rose is a pretty little thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love her name btw. I hope she has Nicole’s dark red hair before Nicole dyed it blonde. I just love read-headed babies!!

Lola on

Crystal V – I’m not sure what country you are in. (I’m in USA) When I got married, I thought everyone changed their middle name to their maiden name. I had to change everything as I took my husband’s name, so there was no additional complication. My daughter wasn’t particularly fond of our last name, so she chose to drop it and keep her original middle name. I think either one is perfectly acceptable. Maybe you can pick any new middle name you want; I’d better not tell my daughter, she’s not particularly fond of her middle name either LOL

Tone B on

Tracy wrote: “Anocas, having both last names is not that common in Europe at all. It’s only in Spanish speaking countries that it’s done (and perhaps Portugal?).”

It’s very common here in Norway at least, not only in Spanish speaking countries.
I have my mothers last name as my middle name, and my fathers last name as my last name.

Anocas on

Yes, Tone B, that’s what I was saying. There are tons of countries doing that! Not only Spanish speaking countries, from which I am NOT from either!

Tracy on

I didn’t know about Norway or other Scandinavian countries. In most Western European countries it’s not done at all (of course there are always exceptions). In France, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, etc. I don’t really see people with both parents’ last names. There’s also far less emphasis on middle names.

Crystal V on

Thanks for the info Lola,

I’ve heard of changing your middle name from your original to your maiden name. I am from USA, but I’ve never actually seen it done…must be regional.
I know there is a monetary charge to just change your name b/c you don’t like it or w/e reason. So I didn’t know if there was also one if you decided to change your middle name at the same time you changed your last name to your husbands. Or even really how hard it is to change your name.
I’m not sure what option I will use:
First Middle Maiden (as 2nd middle) Husbands
First Middle Husbands
First Middle Maiden-Husbands
First Middle Maiden Husbands (unhyphenated 2 last names)