Natalie Portman’s Son’s Name Revealed: Aleph

07/06/2011 at 03:00 PM ET
John Shearer/Getty

Natalie Portman and fiancé Benjamin Millepied get an A-plus for the name they picked for their baby boy.

Their son’s name is Aleph, a source confirms to PEOPLE.

So what’s in a name? Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, much like alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Aleph is the number 1 in Hebrew and can also be spelled “alef.”

Its esoteric meaning in Judaic Kabbalah, as denoted in the theological treaty Sefer-ha-Bahir, relates to the origin of the universe, the “primordial one that contains all numbers.”

Portman, 30, met choreographer Millepied on the set of Black Swan, for which she later won an Oscar for Best Actress.

— Reporting by Joey Bartolomeo

FILED UNDER: Births , News

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Showing 118 comments

Stella Bella on

I like her style- he’s the first child, so he gets the first letter. Cool.

Shelly Lockhart on

Um…ok? Kinda strange.

Shannon on

I like it. It pays homage to her roots as well as being a bit of a different name without it being “hollyweird”.

Kylie on

Another stupid hollywood name….

shannyn on

Though I personally am not a fan of the name, I like how she’s stuck to her roots and she hasn’t gone for naming your child a object.

Lau on

Love this name choice! I didn’t really know what to expect but this was a great surprise.

Shir on

I’m Israeli from birth and let me tell you- I have never met someone named Aleph before, its just as weird in Hebrew as it would be if one would name their child after a letter in English. Wish them all the best with their bundle of joy!

michelle in mo on

I speculated to my friends that it would be something obscure and something biblical. Go me.

Alyssa on

@Kylie: It’s NOT a stupid Hollywood name. It’s a Jewish name, which Natalie is. Just because it’s not traditional doesn’t mean it’s stupid.

Gaia and labans mom on

Of all the awesome Hebrew names? I like the existential reasoning people gives but if she had named her son “one” it would be considered silly. I don’t like the name at all but its not for me to like. Congrats to them.

Noelle on

How do you even pronounce that?

momof2 on

Love you natalie but not the name choice!

Pamela on

Is it pronounced al-if? Or all-if? Or some other variation? Al-ef?

Mina on

Is it pronounced Ah-leph? Or like A as in Amy? Or A as is apple?

Ashley on

Right there with you, Kylie. Good Lord, that poor little boy 😦

meri on

Alyssa, it’s not a Jewish name, nor is it a Hebrew name. It’s a Hebrew word. So it’s still kind of stupid, just like picking a random English word (like, I don’t know, Apple) and turning into a name for your child would be stupid.

Brooke on


Anonymous on

is it pronounced a-lef or alf?

Juliet on

I’m surprised at how much I like this name. The sounds are familar, but the name itself is unique. It’s a thumbs-up for me.

ClaireSamsmom on

o-kay. Not a fan of the name. At all.

Nancy on

Uhhh.. I guess it is better than Bear or Diesel.

Laura on

I’ve come to expect wacky names in Hollywood. What I respect about this choice is that it’s not made up and actually makes sense for Natalie. Let’s hope her and Benjamin don’t have “Best Actress” bad luck and break up like so many Best Actresses have. Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, etc.

Lauren on

Naming someone Aleph in Hebrew is the equivalent of naming someone A in English. Its a bit strange

Katie on

Is it pronounced like ralph without the r? Alph?

Crystal on

I am not a fan of the name. It’s unusual.

That being said, it is Hebrew and I think paying homage to your roots is imperative. You want to pass that importance down to your children so I do understand the reasoning behind the name. Of course, she could have just loved the name and the fact it’s the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is an added bonus!!!

Congrats Natalie and Benjamin.

Brooke on

Some websites are spelling it Alef and others Aleph. I think that there are way worse names and I like that this one has a special meaning behind it. Congratulations to her and her husband!

Molly on

Not a bad name choice. It’s original which is a good thing.

Adrienne on

I dunno, to each their own I guess. I bet he’s beautiful either way.

Adrienne on

From my understanding ( and I could be wrong, often am) it’s said like Olive with an “f”. Oliff.

Galia on

it is pronounced:
Al (like alex)
eph ( like ever or ester)

RKF on

It’s pronounced Ah-Lef. And Kylie, it’s fine if you think it’s a “stupid” name, as it’s your opinion, but it is a Hebrew name. A name being in another language doesn’t make it “stupid” – but maybe you are unaware of its origins? Do you also think Jose is a stupid name because it’s not in the English language?

I happen to love the name.

shirabee on

i actually don’t mind it, but like shir said, it is NOT a name used in israel or as a hebrew name. it is unusual but it’s growing on me.

@alyssa- its not a jewish name, but the first letter of the alphabet, but i guess it will be a name now.

@mina- it is pronounced ah-leph with the A sounding like apple not like amy or ralph without the r!


Jillian on

Kylie, it has nothing to do with a Hollywood name…at all!

me on

Being familiar with the Hebrew language I can say that the name is pronounced A (like apple) lef (like left without the ‘t’) so its Alef.

I’m really not a fan of the name since even if its in Hebrew, it’s not really IN Hebrew. It’s a part of the alphbet that’s it, nothing more. If I would have been born in the US, then moved and lived in Israel and called my child ‘U’ it would have been just as strange.

meela on

Still stuck on a “source” confirms to PEOPLE!

When she says it herself I will buy it!

There have been times when the wrong information have been revealed!

Aviva on

I’m not that impressed. As others have said, it’s the first letter of the Hebrew alefbet (alphabet) so it sounds strange to Hebrew speakers. It’s not a “Jewish” name or an “Israeli” name… it’s more “Hebrew-esque” at this point lol.

Noelle on

Not a fan, and especially if it takes as many people replying here to figure out how to even pronounce it. Imagine that poor kid in school. Nobody will ever get it right.

Colby on

still don’t get what she sees in him..she is gorgeous…ugh

Wondering on

Does anyone else think it’s possible that she was just referring to her son’s first initial? Other sources say she was on an Israeli talk show when she “slipped” and said the name, so she was probably speaking Hebrew, right? My first son’s name is Eli and we sometimes call him “E.” So maybe he’s just named an “A” name. If it is Aleph that’s a nice name, too, but I’m just guessing it’s not.

Y on

I am Israeli as well and am disappointed in Natalie’s choice…I thought she would pick a Hebrew name, but Aleph?? Really?

Jillian on

I have read on multiple sites the spelling is Alef…….not Aleph.

ForeverMoore on

Well…the name, wellllll…let’s just say I wanna see a pic of the little bub 😀

Allison on

Beautiful name, sounds so lovely when spoken, and I can most certainly see a boy growing into a wise man with that name. Absolutly love it, congratulations to them both :).

JMO on

if it is pronounced Ah-lef or A-leph….not bad. But if it’s pronounced like “ALF” oh lord….I can just only think of the furry talking ALF from planet melmac! LOL

Gaia and labans mom on

Where is SAR???

Ericka on

so they/he/she is jewish? I had no idea. Interesting choice for a name. What about calling your kid Cinco for the next one? lol

soph on

Kylie: yeah, and the name “Kylie” sounds real smart. The significance of Aleph is spelled out for you in the article.

soph on

Ericka: why would the second child be named five?

Not a lot of bright ones here, are there…

Sri on

Aleph…or Alif/Aleef is also a common Arabic/Muslim name. It means friendly. Not surprising because a lot of Arabic names have Hebrew connections. I’m from Singapore, and in that region (Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore), it’s not an uncommon name. I have a cousin named Daniel Alif.

I love that name, btw.

Sri on

Alif is also the first alphabet in the Arabic language.

RKF on

Soph – there certainly are some rocket scientists on here. I’m more confused at how people can’t seem to figure out how to pronounce the name (or names, in general.) How difficult is it to phonetically figure out Aleph?!

M on

I personally love it. I don’t find it strange at all. Some word names are strange because they don’t sound like names. Aleph actually sounds like a name, and IMO it sounds like a very beautiful and melodic name. Good choice! Better than being named Aiden or Jaiden or Caiden or some other ugly, trendy name on the top 10 list.

meghan on

Pretentious and lame.

Kaye on

For everybody who is saying how weird it is that he has a letter name, they are real names. I’m Kaye and then there is the relatively common male name Jay. Also, there is Dee and Bea.So its not that unheard of after all.

BB on

sounds like aloof!

K on

I really like the name!

alise on

Congrats to you Natalie! A very different name indeed 🙂 It’s quite refreshing from your typical Jack, Ava, Emily, Mason, Sophia (yawn).

Nicole on

Not my cup of tea, especially with all of the really cool “A” Hebrew names out there. I would know, my son has one of them – Aryeh.

NIR on

I sure hope she doesn’t have seven kids as the 7th letter in the hebrew alphabet will not be an apropriate name – let me tell you (it’s like what you call someone who’s name is Richard…)

Rachael on

One word… yuck! That poor child! 😦

mommytoane on

I really love how people dis on names….espically those from *Hollywood* as some of you have put it. Keep in mind, our actors and actresses come from many walks of life….not yours. Natalie paid homage to her heritage….she IS from Israel afterall. I think its a sweet name…and I can’t wait to see what the lil guy looks like. 🙂

RKF on

NIR – I don’t get it. The 7th letter of the hebrew alphabet is “ZAYIN.”

Noa on

Good thing she didn’t call him “zayin” (israelis will understand the joke)

Noa on

@ NIR – ROFL – my thoughts EXACTLY!

For those that don’t get it, zayin… slang for penis (in arabic it’s zob… Z in semitic languages, go figure lol)

Devon on

Natalie Portman. Smug bitch. Of course she named her son something that basically means he’s God but in man form.

fuzibuni on

“It relates to the origin of the universe, the “primordial one that contains all numbers.””

Umm ok. Sounds like Natalie gave birth to God.

Erika on

Umm eww…another celebrity trying too hard. It sounds like a made up name to me.

N on

It’s amazing to read all these ridiculous comments from snotty pigs like “kylie” or whatever other stripper names choose to offer their opinions. Natalie is a woman who has such skill, grace, beauty, and talent that none of you will ever live up to. Ever. Neither will your trendy-named children.

P on

I’ve heard of three ladies named Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Do I think its weird? Yes. Is it wrong? No. Everybody is entitled to name their kids whatever they want to. At first I thought it was really outrageous but it’s not that crazy… There are thousands of kids with countries’ names, with flower names, days of the week, “moon, star, sun, sky” “ruby, emerald, pearl” (all of this in spanish) and its all cool.

Someone is quoted as saying “name your kid as if they were to be the president”. aleph millepied and willow hart sound really sophisticated, smart and with personality names.

Besides, I want to mention that Natalie is quoted as changing her last name due to privacy (for that person who posted something about her changing her last name in the other entry).

Shir on

LOL at the zayin comments hahahaa

Erika, obviously its not something made up, it’s just unusual to use it as a name that’s all.

Karen on

Good luck w/ that one, kid. So sad. People are going to be thinking it’s Alex all the time.

showbizmom on

Come on , no one knows the name for sure this is a ‘source’ not Natalie or Ben. So we don’t know. I like the name, paying homage to something close to you in anyway shape or form is nice. I did it with my daughters and I stand by my kids names because they mean something to me and my husband. I have a feeling whatever this little boy’s name is it’s something that means something special to his parents.

AllisonJ on

Aleph is an interesting name. I’ve never heard it before, but it is growing on me.

Best wishes to Natalie and Ben on their precious new baby boy!

RKF on

Karen – why would ANY child think it’s Alex? It is not spelled similarly, nor does the phonetic pronunciation have any similarities. Since when does “Ph” sound like “ex” ? C’mon – grasping at straws?

juill on

I was hoping for something more like…Americas! LOL!!! #wheretheheartis

lola on

I thought it was pronounced ay-lef? like left without the t.

Maria on

Beautiful couple- they have a really loving feeling between them. NOt a fan of the name but I bet that is a beautiful child they have!

M! on

Gaia and labans mom – LOL…I’m sure SAR will be around by tomorrow.

As for the name..I’m not a fan. I guess it’s not as bad as some celebs name their kids though.

mickey on

For all the people who are very concerned about her son’s name, it is ALIF from the Qur’an alphabet and pronounced as A-LIF. As a muslim im very much aware of this. But to tell you the truth i’ve never heard any muslim naming their children any names from the alphabet. BUt i guess it’s a unique style for the celebs out there.

Stef on

It’s not the worst Hollywood name I’ve heard but it is a little weird. It’s like naming your kid “A” in English.

Fab on

Awesome name!!!!!!

sat on

Her second should be a daughter named Bayt! Congrats to Natalie and Ben!

Holiday on

I think its a neat name.

Ivy on

Maybe they liked the sound of it. They knew he’d be growing up in a prodominantly speaking country, and wanted to tie him to his culture that way. My name means “protector of mankind.” My parents were hardly pretentious. They just liked the name.

Whitney on

she is Israeli and I like the name…. good for her. Sticking to her roots…

Liree on

I’m Israeli, I live in Israel and speak Hebrew. Just wanted to point out that Aleph does not mean the number one as the article states. It is the first letter of the alphabet. No one that I’ve ever heard of has this name and it sounds completely odd in Hebrew. For people needing a comparison, she pretty much named the kid Ay (as in A, B, C). Nothing “American” or western about that is there? So stop saying it’s honoring her Hebrew roots because it’s not. She had millions of other gorgeous names she could choose if she truly wanted to honor her roots. It’s like saying you named your kid after grandpa Joe and then you named the kid Bob.

Oy, let’s hope they stay in America where people might think the name is foreign and unusual. In israel the name is nothing but made-up and weird.

Noa on

Mickey, while Alif is indeed the first letter of the arab alphabet (even for non muslim arabs). The term “quranic alphabet” is wrong since arabic predates the Quran.

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (yes there are similarities both languages being semitic but hebrew, as a written language, also predates the Quran by a few thousand years) and Natalie Portman, being jewish and a hebrew speaker (since she is Israeli) obviously chose Aleph because of her Jewish heritage. Which makes the name Aleph, pronounced AH-LEF and not Alif as in AH-leef

LRL on

I guess I know people named Jay, Dee, Bea…so maybe it’s not so bad. Not my taste though.

MiB on

Maybe she just doesn’t want his real name to be known, so she just calls him baby “A”?

first time mom on

kids gonna have trouble in school

Bella Mama on

I like it.. Sounds smart.

Bella Mama on

it could have been worse.. she could’ve named her kid Morrocan..

Capri on

Meh….not fond of it at all…but Congrats nonetheless.

jp on

I don’t like it at all ~

Aspidv on

Love it, I have met a lot people named ALPHA, n nobody complain about it! lol
A name is just a word used to indentified a individual, soo RELAX! that is the word that THE PARENT chose! it’s a unique name that any adult could feel confortable with!

alise on

Funny how some people say to name a child as if one day they were to become president. The U.S. president today has a highly unusual name that did not seem to impede his success in the least 🙂

Brooklyn on

Definitely not a fan.

Terri on

I really like it.

Jacqui on

I think it’s ridiculous. And I’m Jewish.

sam and freya's mum on

Not keen.

Esti on

It’s not awful, and I don’t really dislike it, although it is very strange.

I wish she’d just chosen something common in Israel or an otherwise nice Hebrew name.

Liz on

Nope, not a fan of that name at all. But, to each their own! It could be as bad as Pilot Inspektor, Banjo or one of the many, many REALLY ridiculous names of celebrity kids.

zeta on

pronounced Ah-lef. What’s the next one going to be called? Bet? (second hebrew letter). She should have stuck with R2D2 or C3PO.

Tiffany on

I kind of like the name, it’s original without being too weird. I’m not Jewish so it doesn’t sound weird to me. As others have said, people in America do name their kids letters, so whatever (Dee, Bea, Jay, Kay). We name our kids after countries, and states, too. At least his name isn’t Kal-El!

Josie on

I’m just happy she didnt name her kid an inanimate object, like those other hollyweird celebs do.

CelebBabyBlogAddict on

She may just really like the name Aleph… I think it is kind of cute… Who says she used it because it is the first letter and her first child – seems like kind of jumping to conclusions.

Most people I know pick names because they like the sound of them, not because of their meaning…

Luciana on

It’s such a pretty name! Loooove it!

Shannon on


BelevationMom on

There will be no waiting game to learn their 2nd child’s name. Clearly it will be Bet – the 2nd letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Aleph is a beautiful name – simply meaning A or numerically One. Better than calling your kid A.J. But, then it’s the couples choice, like circumcision, if your family doesn’t believe in doing that – then don’t have one.

GingerR on

Aleph Millipied? Right. He’s going to make it through school unscarred.

MKH on

I’m not surprised by anything Natalie does or doesn’t do or changes her mind about. She is searching and has no real idea of who she is. She made a huge deal about getting back to her Jewish roots, was studying Judaism, the language, the culture, etc. and claimed she had found a more spiritual way of life. She produced and directed that lame movie where her fiance was a Hasidic Jew in real life. He and his family were nearly shunned from the Hassidic community they were part of because he was to act married to a woman who was not his wife and the leaders of the Hassidic Jew community went ballistic…Natalie should have know that if she was so in tune with her Jewish roots. He ended up leaving the movie and the movie was an epic fail.

There is nothing “spiritual” about getting knocked up by another woman’s live-in boyfriend. She just does and says whatever to stay in the public eye. I used to like her and have a lot of respect for her. But, her hypocritical behavior has left me cold. Of course she’s not going to settle for a nice, traditional Jewish name. She’s going to go with something she feels is elite enough for her baby. It could save time in picking out names though, because the next babies could be named the Hebrew equivalent of two, three, four, etc., but the “name” she chose goes beyond numbers and, like some posters said, borders of implications of her giving birth to God. Pretentious, trying too hard and not even that “in tune” with her supposed Jewish “faith.” Sounds about right for her.

MKH on

For the person who says the name is not that hard to pronounce and we should all know how…I believe there are people who purposely CHOOSE to pronounce names differently. I know three Evas. One is pronounced EE-vah. The other, AY-vah. The third, “EH-vah.” So don’t be so freaking superior. The name, hah, number could be pronounced, if Miss All Things Jewish should choose, “AH-lef,” “AL-ef” or “Ah-LEEF, depending on which way she chose. Just like the name is really a number, the way it is usually pronounced goes out the window when a person wants to be different.

Misha on

I like this choice. It’s unique and different yet not crazy. It has meaning behind it, unlike naming children made-up words or objects. If she planned to live somewhere like Israel again, it might be strange because it is a number. However, i think its unique and acceptable in the U.S.!

alise on

LOL, Ginger, I doubt this child will attend public school. I doubt that when he does attend school it’ll be a sophisticated one where the children have rather unique names 😉

ecl on

So what if it implies giving birth to god…people name their children Jesus all the time.

peri on

i’m turkish and ‘elif’ is a very commonly used GIRL name in turkey.

i don’t think most people know the meaning of the name in turkey (first letter of arab alphabet). it’s mostly used because of being simple and cute in pronunciation; but also some religious people prefer this name because it is mentioned in Qur’an..

Jillian on

You have so much wrong. It’s not even close to the truth. Your dislike for her is so strong you missed the truth and where the actor regrets quitting the film. You should get the facts first.

Cammy on

I bet their second child will be named “bet” (meaning “two” in Hebrew)