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Nicole Richie: Kids' Naming Pattern Was Unintentional

02/16/2010 at 05:00 PM ET
Justin Coit for PEOPLE for use on CBB

The media may be filled with chatter surrounding her engagement to Joel Madden, but Nicole Richie managed to keep mum on the topic during a Tuesday visit to Live with Regis and Kelly.

Instead, the mother-of-two kept her focus on the family’s latest production: son Sparrow James Midnight, 5 months.

“He’s humongous, he’s 16 pounds,” Nicole reveals.

Of baby boy’s unusual moniker, Nicole, 28, admits that finding a name both she and Joel agree on is no easy feat. “Joel and I have very different tastes in names,” she explains.

“We really just have to work with whatever it is we both agree on, so I really liked Sparrow from Captain Jack Sparrow, and he liked it for different reasons.”

As for Sparrow — whom the couple affectionately call “Row” — sharing the same name ending with older sister Harlow Winter Kate, 2, Nicole admits the pattern was unintentional.

“I didn’t even realize that [both of their names] ended with ‘ow,’” she says. And in order to put a stop to the trend, the couple will head back to the drawing board for any future additions.

“I love the name Willow, and now that’s out because I’m not gonna have all kids with ‘ows!’”

Source: Live with Regis and Kelly

– Anya

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Showing 59 comments

Shirese on

Cuteness overload.

Emily on

Oh thank god they found a cool masculine nickname, I can get behind the name now! Row is cool.

Monique on

I think they both have beautifully unique names. It fit for their parents and it’s original, not like so many names today. I love their names, their parents love their names I’m sure and I’ll bet as they grown Harlow and Sparrow will love them as well. I think Nicole and Joel have a gorgeous family. Congrats on your engagement :P

Lynn on

I’m so excited about Nicole and Joel’s engagement!

If they do have another baby, I hope they use Willow. It’s a pretty name.

J on

I thought they’d been engaged for a while now

I♥CBB on

I’m really happy and excited for Nicole and Joel on their upcoming marriage. I ♥ the name Willow. Nicole, don’t take Willow off the table. It’s a beautiful name and would be a wonderful addition to the kids names. Think more about it!!! :)

Elizabeth on

Harlow is just about the cutest little girl I’ve seen. Nicole has come so far from the hot mess she was in the Simple Life, you can tell she is a great down to earth mom and I hope we get to see pics of her wedding dress! Knowing her it will be unique and beautiful.

Dasche Bledsoe on

I like Willow too. I think the names all sound great individually. That picture of her and the kids is adorable.

girl on

they have been engaged for a while but its barely making headlines. see nicoles twitter.

her kids are the cutest kids ever. besides my future ones, of course.

Meredith on

I also hope they use Willow for a future daughter. I think it is beautiful and it isn’t such a huge deal in the end that the names all end in “-ow”. It’s even better that its unintentional because it isn’t like they planned a theme, so the names have a meaning to the family other than just sounding similar

Jennifer on

My 3 month old is 16 lbs so that’s nothing for a 5 month old.

Lisa on

I don’t care what they name their kids! They are by far the cutest celeb babies. Her daugher…for real! ADORABLE!

nettrice on

I’ve never watched Simple Life but I know that Sparrow reminds me of Sammy Davis singing the theme song for the TV show Baretta: keep your eye on the sparrow/when the going gets NARROW!

So I’m cool with it. :)

cassie on

what an awseom photo

JMO on

I actually think when you start a trend whether intentional or not you should keep it going…so Willow is perfect!

I hate when families give their kids all the same letter and then decide to switch out a letter for one child…it’s like seriously why not just stick with what you started lol. Even though I hate themes if I started one I may have to keep it going!

emilyc on

I love the name Willow! ( as well as Sparrow and Harlow too!) She should absolutely go with it! Cute family!

Ratty on

I agree, JMO. My parents got to my sister – the youngest of four – and realised they’d started a theme with me and my brothers by giving us all four letter Gaelic names. Seeing as my sister was their last child, there was no way they could change the last one – so we ended up with Tara, Kyle, Rhys and Sian. My aunt and uncle did the same thing with their daughters, unintentionally naming their three daughters after Queens (Katherine, Elizabeth and Victoria). I think if they are planning on having more than one more child it would be okay – you could almost do two themes if you had four for example – though that would work better with twins. But I have to admit I had my heart set on them having another boy and girl and calling them Shadow and Willow respectively! lol!

christina on

I love the name “Willow,” but she’s correct in putting a stop to the “ow” trend. Three would be WAY too much. Also, Sparrow isn’t that big…she’s just so tiny herself she probably has a different perspective!

Anita on

So excited that they’re getting married! I think Harlow will be a gorgeous little flower girl. She and her baby brother are so adorable! I like both of their names, and I think she should use Willow should she have another girl.

Trinh on

omg her daughter is SOO cute. and willow would be cute! I hope they reconsider.

Denise on

I agree with JMO – if you start a trend you have to keep it going, much as I dislike the idea. If the next baby doesn’t have an “ow” name, it will sound out of place. I love the names Harlow and Sparrow – hate Willow though. Too common and just doesn’t “go” with the other names.

Erika on

They are such a cute family!

And I don’t have children yet, but my little cousin was 16lbs at one year lol. So he seems kind of big!

Sarah M. on

2 of my cousins (sisters) have named their children with themes. One has Garrett Logan, Grant Elliott, Graham Quentin and Grayson Wirth. (Obviously all the first names start with either ‘Gra’ or ‘Gar’. For the middle names they used a name from each side of the family. Mom’s mom, mom’s dad, dad’s mom, dad’s dad.) Her sister has Cale Anthony, Connor Scott and Kennedy Leigh. (They don’t start with the same letters, but the sounds are the same.)

I also think that once you have 2 or 3 kids with a certain theme it would be better to continue the theme with future children. Otherwise the names seem out of place with the others. I do like Nicole and Joel’s kids names.

Shawna on

My kids names have a theme but it was unintentional. And yes, if we were planning to have a 4th we would stick with the theme because it would be too weird otherwise. Our son is Elijah, first daughter Olivia, second daughter Eliana. They all start with a vowel, they all have an L as the second letter and they all end in the A sound. We are done now but if we were having another girl we would have done Alexia and if a boy we would have done Isaiah (doesn’t have the L but it fits the other two themes). We had actually considered Katherine for our second daughter but Elijah, Olivia, and Katherine just didn’t sound right to us.

Melanie on

@ #9, girl-

I follow Nicole on twitter and I haven’t seen her mention anything about “being engaged for awhile but not making headlines..” In fact, she mentions how she didn’t feel the need to get married just because they had kids and if the kids eventually wanted them to, they would…what exactly are you referring to?

Mia on

I think Willow sounds really cute with the other 2 names.

Other names that have the “ow” sound Marlo, Margeaux, Ralow, Paolo

Allie-Rose on

I agree with JMO. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to pick Willow, but then again, I don’t think it would surprise anybody if they did. One of my cousins named all his kids names that started with a T, his wife and her siblings have names starting with H. My other cousin named her sons Kevin, Quentin, Cory and Colin. And my sister and I like names that end in ‘ys’ Thays, Isis, Maylis, Eirlys, Azilis, Iris …

Kati on

I love the names Harlow and Sparrow a lot. At first I wondered why Joel and Nicole gave that unordinary name for their son but after thinking for a while I started to love the name. Why should parents always give their children more ordinary names like John or Grace! There is nothing wrong withthose names either but I love when parents give their children a little bit unconventional names just like the Madden-Richies, the Rossdale-Stefanis or the Jolie-Pitts have done. Harlow is a truly beautiful little girl and Sparrow is a handsome little boy. I was really thrilled when I read yesterday that Nicole and Joel are finally officially engaged and about to get married. Harlow will certainly be her mum´s flower girl and Sparrow sure will also have some part in that ceremony.

Chris on

Oh no, now Paris is going to name her first child Willow. :) But seriously I actually think Willow would be a good name for baby #3. It would fit right in!

ecl on

All you have to do is look up the baby’s weight on a chart. He’s about 50th percentile, I believe, so average.

Mary-Helen on

My daughter is a day younger than Sparrow and weighs 16lbs as well and looks like a chunkers to me! considering she weighed 9lbs @ birth (11 days over) & sparrow wasn’t, that makes him more of a chunkers in my book!

As for the pattern, we have an unintentional one too w/ Sydney, Addison & Hadley. My friend joked if we had another child, their name needs to end with n to keep the pattern going.

jessi_loree on

My 3 kids name have a theme and I didn’t even realize it until i was 8 mos pregnant with my 3rd. Cody JAY is named after his Grandfather, Kaden FAY is named after her Grandmother, so at 8 months with Bailey Olivia I was saying all 3 names out loud and it hit me that the middle names HAD TO rhyme.. (OK so they didn’t have to but at that time I thought my baby was going to feel left out when she got older)so 2 weeks later my Bailey Shay was born..

olivia on

i am the youngest of 3 and my parents had an unintentional theme with my older siblings. My sister is Cate and brother is Charles(charlie). I am Olivia. I am the only one with no C. I dont mind. Actually my moms name starts with a c and my dads doesn’t so it is like my dad and i have a special theme. No C’s.

shirese on

My sister has five kids where she intentionally gave them all “J” names. My niece says that she will give all her kids “A” names.

Isabella on

Melanie, Joel made a post on Twitter basically saying something like, “Um, yeah, we’ve been engaged for awhile, I don’t why you’re all making such a big deal out of it NOW…but thanks anyway.” But I guess he realized how bitchy that sounded because he deleted the message not too long after he put it up. The point is, they may have been planning to marry for awhile, but the engagement didn’t become “official” (ring, wedding planning, etc.) until just this month.

Erika on

#32 jessi-loree- I like the idea of the middle names rhyming, it’s so cute! As first names it would be too similar but I think that’s such a cool theme. I always liked the middle names Shay and Ray/Rae for a girl!

Jessica on

I can totally relate. My kids names are Ashley, Brianna and Clyde and they are in chronological order alphebetically, but it was completely random. I never realized until about 1 year ago, someone said “oh, so your next kid would be a “D” name then?” And I was like, what? Now my kids call themselves the ABC kids :) But it was a fluke.

Rachel-Jane on

Jessica, I used to work with a guy whose initials were ABCD, I always thought it was pretty cool.

I personally wouldn’t want to intentionally start a naming theme with my future children, but I get that once it’s started it kind of makes sense to continue.

Shannon on

My girls have a “kind” of theme with their names. Not because of sounds or rhyming though. Both their first and middle names have 7 letters, the first are classic names (as in not trendy, but not old-fashioned, sort of always in style), and the middle are unusual but not weird, and they both have 4 letter nicknames ending in “y”. So I have Abigial Celeste (Abby) and Kathryn Lorelei (Katy). Well about a year ago, I realized that MY name fit it too, since I was always called Shay growing up. Shannon Nichole (Shay). So now I know if I ever have another girl, I’m going to have to stick with it! I already like Rosalie Aurelia (Rosy) and Lucille Claudia (Lucy)!

Emmy Lou on

I think Willow would be cute name for 3rd baby :) I also know a girl called Meadow and he has brother called Shadow, those would be cute names too!

Eva on

I have the exact same thing Jessica #37! When we announced that we were pregnant with #4 someone said “so the baby’s name will begin with D”. My husband and I realized that we already had Amelia, Benjamin and Charlotte. ABC in chronological order. So we felt like we needed to for our last baby. Sure enough Daniel was born! We felt it was a little cheesy going with a theme, but it was done totally unintentionally. And once we realized, we couldn’t leave Danny out of it. We had thought of naming him James, so instead he is Daniel James!

April on

She should reconsider-Willow is a great name. I learned with my second to not focus on the here and now of the kids names-they grow up move on etc so matching or not matching to a sibling doesn’t make a difference down the road. Go with what you like and let them make the name theirs.

maggie on

i like the name willow it’s not that common as madison or emily. and i like the “ow” thing it’s cooler, i know someone whose kids names are halle charlotte and harrison christopher. i can’t wait for pics of nicole’s wedding dress and harlow as a little flower girl :)

Isla on

I did a similar unintentional naming pattern with my four girls. After the first two; Norah Daisy and Sarah Rose we realized that they both ended with “h” and their middle names were after flowers (they were named after their two grandmothers, so we really didn’t mean it!)
When we were pregnant with the third we decided to break the trend, but then fell in love with the name Elisabeth, and also a good friend Iris passed away weeks before the baby was due. So Elisabeth Iris was born.
Then, when we found out we were expecting again, we decided that if it was another girl we would have another flower name for the middle name, but the first name would be whatever we fancied.
Well the only two names we could agree on? Tallulah and Hannah. Hannah won out, as did Tulip. So though unintentionally, we could not imagine our four daughters-Norah Daisy, Sarah Rose, Elisabeth Iris, and Hannah Tulip- having any other name.
Willow is a beautiful name! Should they go with that I think it goes beautifully with Harlow and Sparrow!
Any future children will also have the ‘h’ ending-boy or girl. We are too far in!

sheryl on

their kids are so adorable! i have a problem where mine and my daughters name both begin with a s and we have the same middle name. i got remarrried and my husband and our son both have names that start with a j. so now if we have another one…do we go with a s or j name? if its a girl, do we give her my middle name too. i dont want want her to feel left out later on. the only thing we have come up with is a j name we like for a girl and a s name we like for a boy. and whatever the baby is would determine the name. or maybe we just wont have anymore! be careful what you start!!! lol.

angelbaby33 on

Jessica- I can totally relate to you too! My name starts with A and my hubby’s is B. We ended up naming our first child a C name because we liked it and did not think about it until later when we realized it was A, B and C. Then we loved D and E names for our 2nd and 3rd children and had to finish off with our 4th with an F name. Now, we sign our Christmas cards with Love, A,B,C,D,E & F. Except now we always get the “when is baby G coming?!!!”

Rach on

I don’t have a pattern per se yet, as I only have 1 child but it kind of is similar. When my husband and I were naming our son Kaius, I had already picked out most of his middle named. I wanted Kaius Alexander, but someone work related had named their son Alexandros a few months before. I didn’t want to seem like a copycat so I chose Kaius Augustus… yes.. I was also going through a Roman phase lol. I knew he was going to be called Immanuel after my dad. One day as I sat writing out some baby stuff, I realized oh my goodness, If I have a name with U, all of his initials will spell out his entire name. So that is where his name comes from.

Kaius
Augustus
Immanuel
Umi (海洋)
Stephenson

Jane on

I’m glad they’re calling him Row. Row is such a cute nickname.

amanda on

Harlow has grown on me, but I’m still not fond of Sparrow. I’m not a fan of Row either, because I connote a row with a fight. But whatever! They’re not my kids, and the names are much better than a lot of others I’ve heard!

Our name pattern is one nobody notices: literary characters. Our daughter is named Laura for Laura Ingalls Wilder (“Little House” books), and our son is named Creed for Creed Allen in Catherine Marshall’s book “Christy.”

JessicaC on

angelbaby33, that is so cute! My son and I are both J’s and my husband and daughter are both N’s. We often wonder what we’ll do if we have another baby. It’s funny how some people are saying how much they don’t like the name sparrow, yet, I think sparrow is much better than some of the names some of these women have names their children, and Im sure they wouldnt like it of people told them the names they picked were ugly! I think Row is a cute nickname, I know a few women with the name Rose that use it too.

Carrie on

Harlow is the cutest little girl ever!!! Sparrow is the cutest little boy next to my own!!! I really like Willow, don’t count that one out just yet Nicole!! Congrats on a beautiful family you have come a long way Nicole and you have done it with such style and grace. Good luck and congratulations. We love you all

Eve on

I love the name Sparrow!
We are thinking about using it, as a a middle name for a girl in our case.

Our kids have a little naming pattern, too. Colin and Connor, we weren’t unaware of it but there was no purpose behind the “Co’s”, they were just the names that fit.
Now we’re expecting number 3 and everyone keeps asking how Cody is doing. Urrggh, don’t like the name Cody at all. He’s not gonna be named that way! I think there won’t be a third Co-Baby at all but we’ll see…

Lolla on

You never know . . . We named our daughters (in their 20′s) names we considered unusual – Sarah (for an English girl who stayed at our house) and Emily (for Emily Bronte – my husband was an English major, Ann was too plain, and he’d already used Charlotte for a cat.) Look at what we started!!

Elle on

I love the name Willow, and think it would go great with Shadow, as a few other people suggested! I’d love to use the name Willow if I have another girl, or Willa which is even less common.

I really like the idea of themes because it’s nice when siblings’ names sound like they go together, like the children belong to a little family group. I think parents are sometimes subconsciously drawn to similar names, like Nicole with the “ow’s”.

lover on

@lolla: sarah and emily are the LAST names anyone would consider unusual, even if they were named that 20something years ago…..

Lunajen on

My 3 kids all have a theme and a pattern, we are planning on going for a 4th but I’m contemplating if I should continue the name pattern.
All have 3 syllables, all end in letter N.
Jillian Paige
Madison Elise
Anisten Grace
Then while pregnant with my 3rd daughter I made the discovery of the coolest unintentional surprise pattern. All three girls have 7 letters in the first name/ and 5 in the middle name.
7/5/75 is my date of birth… how cool is that!!!!!

J on

Harlow is such an adorable and pretty little girl.

Elle on

Lunajen, just wondering if “Anisten” is in reference to Jennifer Aniston, or if it comes from somewhere else? The actress Chyler Leigh also named her daughter Aniston and that was the first I had ever heard it as a first name. It goes really nicely with your other girls’ names! I say, keep the pattern going!!

maggie on

elle. i know two Anistons, one is a girl whose 18 now (we call her annie) and the other is a boy 5 years older than jen aniston. i like the “ow” names i just wouldn’t do “shadow” too crazy and my dog’s name is that.

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