Julia Roberts Explains Motivation Behind Twins' Names

03/20/2009 at 08:00 PM ET
Kevin Winter/Getty

In a pair of talk show appearances earlier this week, actress Julia Roberts offered insight into how she and husband Danny Moder arrived at the names Hazel Patricia and Phinnaeus ’Finn’ Walter for their 4-year-old twins. “Hazel is an old-fashioned name, and she’s a strong, perfect Hazel,” Julia noted during a Tuesday appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Meanwhile, on Wednesday’s Live with Regis and Kelly she revealed: “[With Phinnaeus], my husband wanted to name him Finn, which I quite liked, but it seemed like a nickname…So I said we had to have a proper name, and then we can call him Finn.” Hazel takes after Julia’s sister, with “big blue eyes and ‘real’ blonde hair,” Julia revealed; Meanwhile, Finn is described by his mom as “perfect and lovely.”

Host David Letterman observed Julia’s “little patch” of pink hair and inquired about its origins. “Hazel thought I should,” a matter-of-fact Julia replied. “For someone who wants enthusiasm and support but perhaps less attention, I don’t think that having pink hair is the way to go…So I went for just a little bit.” While Hazel was pleased with the end result, her brother was even more enthusiastic! Reveals Julia,

“Finn is crazy about it. He’ll stop people in the market. ‘Sir, sir. Look at my mommy’s hair!'”

Although she feels her heart has been “cracked right open” since welcoming the twins and their 21-month-old brother Henry Daniel, Julia has no plans to expand her brood. “No, I think I’m good,” she said.

Julia’s new film Duplicity is in theaters now.

Sources: Live with Regis and Kelly, The Late Show with David Letterman

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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brannon on

i love all 3 of her kids names – a lot

Rose on

Every time I hear the name Hazel I think about the maid from the old TV show. I’m not crazy about any of her kids names.

Jessica on

I’m really glad that Julia decided to name her son Phinnaeus instead of Finn. I always wonder why people name their kids Johnny, Jack, Bob, Bobby when they can name their kids John and Robert.

Emily on

Hazel is a great name. I never understood why she received so much flack about giving her daughter a “weird” name…it’s not a made up name, and has been a recognizable name used for decades.

Natasha on

I don’t really like the names Hazel & Henry, but Finn is very cute!

Rose on

“I always wonder why people name their kids Johnny, Jack, Bob, Bobby when they can name their kids John and Robert.”

Well I can’t speak for everyone who gives their kids the shortened version of a name, but I personally don’t like the longer version of some names but I do like the shoretend version. So why not use the name you like? I know that Jack is supposed to be the nickname for John, but it’s not even close to sounding the same, so I completely understand why someone would like the sound of the name Jack, but not of John. I love the name Maggie, but I do not like the name Margaret. I love the name Ben but I can’t stand the name Benjamin. I like Kate, but not Katherine. And there’s no way I would pass up a name I really like in favor of a longer name I don’t.

g!na on

That is so funny!

Melissa on

I don’t know why, but I’m just not that into her anymore…. Since she had the twins and then her third, she has an elitist attitude to her that is hard to take.

Liz on

It doesn’t really matter what you name your kids, who cares what other people say? They are not their parents.

Tina on

same here i hate katherine it annoys me, no offence to someone who has it or likes it i just dont, but kate i love=D. i like finn and hazels okay, it just remindes me of a hazel eye and i dont like henry.

Lilly on

I prefer Finn over Phinnaeus, but he’s not my child, so it’s not my choice.

Kirsten on

I agree dose not really matter what you name your kids just as long as you like it…

Sandra on

In regards to shortening the name; I prefer Phinnaeus, insted of Finn. I like both Kathrine and Kate – so if I had a daughter I would probably give her a ‘proper’ name and call her Kate, nickname.

Rose, I have to agree with you about the nickname for John = Jack – they are nothing alike. But you could always name you son Jackson, and call him Jack, that would make more sense. I love the so-called ‘proper’ names. But I like a lot of the so-called ‘nicknames’ so I would most definitely give my children a ‘proper’ name, and then give them a nickname – just like Julia Roberts did with Finn (Phinnaeus).

Sandra on

Ooooh, and by the way – I love, love, love the names she has given her children. Phinnaeus, Hazel and Henry. Fantastic. 🙂
Just my opinion. 🙂

UggaMugga.com on

My children are named August, Martha and Hazel so I obviously love her name choices…they’re all from the old world and strong.

I’ve gotten my fair share of strange looks and many, “Was he born in August” and Martha Stewart references…too many to count. I must say I don’t care one bit what people think. They are my kids and when I look at them, and when others have met them they agree that, August is most certainly an August, Martha fits Martha to a T, and Hazel couldn’t be anything but a Hazel.

I’m sure Julia feels the exact same way. I’m sure all parents do!

maggie on

as Rose said, some people might not like the formal name. my daughter is a Maggie. Not a Margaret.

I am not wild about Hazel but I don’t think it is a funny name, just not my style, but I adore Henry and Finn.

Rachel-Jane on

But Finn is a proper name! He’s the hero of some Irish folklore. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fionn_mac_Cumhail

I like Hazel and Finn, but I really don’t like the name Henry.

The thing about the pink hair is so sweet, it’s lovely that she was willing to endulge her children like that.

Rachel-Jane on

Well…okay Finn was his nickname. But still, it’s been used as a proper name for years.

Katie on

Whoa whoa whoa! I’m a Katherine!! haha but I go by Katie and I like it a lot better =) And on Julia Roberts: I really like her kids’ names. Finn is my favorite, but I would go Finley over Phinnaeus. There’s my two cents… From a Katherine. =)

dee on

I’ll take a Hazel and Phinnaeus over a Madison and Jaden anyday.

Anais on

I always liked her twins’ names. I think Finn is the perfect name/nickname, and she made the right choice going whole hog and just naming him Phinnaeus. And Hazel is just a neat and pretty name, definitely. It’s different, but not ‘weird’ different.

Tina on

lol Madison is my name:(.

krewcat on

Her kids names have grown on me…its her business, people don’t like all of my kdis names…oh welll…

As far as her hair, love the pink, I have purple streaks and Im doing pink next time.

Jessica on

Even though I’m not necessarily a fan of the names, I think a name says a lot about someone. It’s hard to explain but, for example, when I hear her kids’ names, I think of intelligence, courage, and strong wills. It’s like some names make a person sound automatically “cool” or like an athlete, celebrity etc (not saying they are). It’s almost like name stereotyping. I don’t know if I’m making any sense. lol

Like how would you imagine someone named Bertha and one named Jasmine to be like? I think a lot of parents think of that, what they would want their children to be like and choosing a name that would suit those characteristics.

And just to be very clear, I’m not saying any name is better than the other or anything like that.

Sammy-xx on

I’m Samantha but was only names Samantha because my grandmothers said Sammy wasn’t a proper name. Only they call me Samantha. It’s not a big deal, my parents liked the name Samantha but prefered Sammy.
I love Julia’s kids names. I was abit ‘whoah’ about Phinnaeuos when I first heard it bit I love Finn. Hazel is quite a popular name ware I live so I don’t understand the big whoop about it. I think it’s a beautiful name for a beautiful girl.

kate on


I ADORE your kids’ names, especially august!:)

meh on julia.

Manon on

I like Finn but don’t care for Hazel or Henry.

Of course it’s the parents’ choice but what on earth is wrong with the odd comment about not liking a name? As long as the child is not insulted I don’t see a problem.

No one names their children expecting everyone is going to like the name – thank goodness, otherwise we would all choose the same names!

At least Julia is trying to be a little original. I find Hazel too hard though and Henry too “Hooray Henry”.

UggaMugga.com on

Kate, thanks!

Jenny on

Finn is a legitimate name. The legend of Finn MacCool is an old Irish story. The Gaelic spelling is Fionn.

Tired of Correcting on

I am the kid of parents who thought the real name was great but the nickname was better. I hate it. I’ve never been called it yet its on all my documents from military enlistments to driver’s licenses, bank accounts and credit cards. Parents: Do your kids a favor and name them what you want to call them.

CelebBabyLover on

Tired of Correcting- “Parents: Do your kids a favor and name them what you want to call them.” This is actually what made me chuckle over all the uproar abotu Charlie Sheen’s son being named Bob. So many people on here have said, “If you’re going to call him/her ___________ then NAME him/her _______________.” Yet Charlie Sheen did just that (presumably he and Brooke will be calling Bob “Bob”)…and people still complained.

Jax on

I didnt even know she had a 3rd child.. good for her!!

Stacey on

Hazel, Finn and Henry seem rather normal to todays celebrity standards…Zuma, Apple, Ikhyd…now those are some names that those poor kids are going to have to explain when they are older(or else change)

Sarah on

I just don’t get why you’d name your kid one thing and call him another. If you have no intention of ever using a full name, why bother naming him that?If you are going to name him Phinneaus but only call him Finn, why not just name him Finn?

becka on

Dee, I completely agree with your comment (“I’ll take a Hazel and Phinnaeus over a Madison and Jaden anyday”). The beautiful names Julia gave her children are rare and refreshing.

CelebBabyLover on

Sarah- I think Julia explained it pretty well, actually. In her case, she wanted Finn to have a more formal name to fall back on as an adult if he ends up not liking Finn, or prefers not to put “Finn” on job applications and such. From what I’ve heard, that seems to be the case with a lot of other parents who give their child a more formal name, but call them by a nickname.

For example, say your name was Addison, but you were always called Addie. You’d probably choose to put “Addison” on job applications and such. However, if your name was just “Addie”, you wouldn’t have a choice. You’d have to use “Addie” in formal situations.

Tired of correcting- I forgot to mention last night that, in terms of people assuming your nickname is your real name, it can sometimes go the other way as well. For example, my mother has a “nickname” first name (although it is also often used as a stand-alone name)…and people always assume that it is, in fact, her nickname.

MiB on

I find this proper name/nick name/name them what you will call them discussion kind of interesting. I have a long “proper” name that is unusual where I grew up and I have had at least a dozen nick names reflecting my personality at that particular time of life or even my relationship with the person who calls me the nick name. People evolve, and so should nick names, a nick name suitable for a baby may not fit the toddler, pre-scholer or adult the baby becomes. I know a Madeleine who’s parents wanted to call her Maddie, but who very soon turned out to be a Lele instead (it just simply suited her personality better). I also know people named John who have gone through various stages of Johnny, Jo-jo, Jack, John and so on, not to mention several people who have had nick names that have nothing what so ever to do with their given name (proper or not). That is the reason I would gravitate towards giving a child a s.k. “proper” name rather than giving them a nick name, which may only be suitable during a certain part of their life. I think that people tend to forget, that children will one day (hopefully) grow up, and a “proper” name is more likely to grow with them.

That was my long rant on naming

Diane Cody on

As long as the name is not offensive, what does it matter? Unlike the family (if that’s what they are called) that named their two children, Adolf Hitler and Aryan Nation…Hmmm, would like to see those children when they are in High School?? They will be the ones ostratized….

sam on

I think she should’ve just gone with the nickname, Finn. I’m a Samantha and everyone always calls me Sam. Also, when I have a daughter, I want to name her Cate instead of Catherine because it’s too traditional for me but still want to honor a family name. I don’t see anything wrong with it.

AJ Leigh on

i think julia’s kids are nice and normal compared to other celeb names like moxie crimefighter…but i;m not one to chat cos i have four kids with unusual names: my eldest twin boys are Aryan Maddox and Jaeger Sauville(4yo) then its my girls Anais Nirvana(2yo) and Ledger Rose (2months)and i’m August Jagger Leigh Kahn. my mum wasnt thinking when she named her only daughter(me) that lolz


i think Finn and hazel are lovely names. my daughter is called Valkyrie Hazel and ive got a son called Valhalla James. her childrens name are wholesome and pure.