Olivia Wilde: Why We Named Our Son Otis

06/18/2014 at 10:40 AM ET

Olivia Wilde Third Person New York Premiere Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

What’s in a name, anyway?

Olivia Wilde announced her and fiancé Jason Sudeikis‘s delightfully distinctive moniker for their baby boy — Otis Alexander — shortly after welcoming their son.

“He was named after Otis Redding,” Wilde, 30, told PEOPLE at the New York City premiere of her new film, the dramatic romance Third Person, on Tuesday.

“I’ve just always been a huge fan,” the new mom went on of the 1960s singer behind hits like “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” “I was a 10-year-old kid with posters of Otis Redding on my wall.”

Although she’s still getting into the swing of motherhood with her 8-week-old, Wilde says she’s already got some newfound perspective.

“The amazing thing about becoming a mother is it snaps everything into focus and really makes you understand what’s important,” she says.

“It’s tricky! It’s tricky for every mother, and I salute working mothers everywhere. We are warriors,” she says of balancing work and motherhood, adding with a laugh that making the rounds on the red carpet is no sweat compared to parenting. “Suddenly these press lines are less stressful!”

Soon the actress won’t be the only new mom on the Third Person cast — costar Mila Kunis is expecting, too!

Wilde’s advice? “Enjoy the pregnancy, not racing ahead and relishing the moment,” she says. “I think people see pregnancy as something to get over with, but every stage of becoming a mother is really special.”

— Jeff Nelson

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Showing 42 comments

PacificGirl on

Whenever I hear the name Otis all I can think of is the character from Martin. LOL

Hea on

I figured Redding was the reason for it. 🙂 He was amazing and, sadly, he passed away too soon. I love the name.

esi on

She is 30?? Good L she sure looks much older! And she sounds really boring.

Europa 19 on

It’s an awful name and the kid will probably hate it. But he can change it when he’s of legal age or adapt a nickname that he can live with.

Megan on

Esi, I’m sure she still looks better than you 😊.

Lacey on

I thought maybe he was born in an elevator…

Hey on

Europa I’m sure he’ll do just fine with that name with an upperclass upbringing. Insecure people change them name in adulthood.

Bonnie on

Ugly name, sorry to say.

Tamarin on

Really, Europa? At least it’s an actual human name, a heck of a lot better than the crazy s*** other people are coming up with these days. Some of the classic, traditional names are coming back as a result of all that insanity. I can respect that and I wish them well.

manomer on

He will be just fine. It is doubtful he will grow up to be insecure and change his name. And yes Esi I am positive she looks way better than you. Olivia Wilde is gorgeous.

Gina on

Poor kid..

Rhonda on

I don’t like the name Otis, but he’s not my child. The name reminds me of the drunk guy on The Andy Griffith Show.

Susan on

I’m showing my age… first Otis I thought of was the drunk on the Andy Griffith Show also. I would hardly classify Otis as a “traditional” name. Thank goodness they gave him a normal middle name!

Krissy on

I agree to enjoy the pregnancy. I was always so excited for new milestones that I never relished in each moment. Now my baby is 16 years old and I don’t want any new milestones because that’s just one step closer to her not being my baby anymore. And enjoying the teen years is not an easy task. Ha!

Amy on

I love the name Otis, but then I don’t have a problem with most names. I can completely envision him growing up in to an adult Otis. I think most people are over-thinking it.

She seems pretty down to earth. 🙂

Poor Thing... on

I love Otis Redding too…but when I think of Otis, I think of the town drunk from THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW.

JD on

I’m not really a fan of the name Otis personally but I grew up with a kid named Otis and while it was definitely different, it was just his name. However I don’t think Otis Sudeikis flows well together, but its not my kid lol.

denise on

He can always use his middle name Alexander which I love. Something tells me the use of that name when he is school age will be more of a bully repellent! Lol

Marky on

Kids have all sorts of names now, and many children are in this country with all sorts of names that no one has heard of, so kids are rarely teased unless the other children have ignorant parents who joke about the children’s names. People don’t often immigrate and immediately change their name to an “American version”, as the used to. Our children go to school with boys named Joon or Justin, and girls named everything from Misty to Vishnapriya, and I never hear anything about their names. Some kids love their names, and some don’t…I went by my middle name until I was grown, now I’m called by my first name; many people do that or use a nickname. My BIL has a first name that he obviously wishes were different, and he just uses a diminutive of it, and never says a word or complains about it. Much ado about nothing…people get to name their own kids, that’s the rule in America. Move somewhere else, if you think people should choose from a gov’t approved list. There are countries who have that law…..

Gail on

Love the name, congrats!

LC on

I don’t understand why people are saying they don’t like Otis. It is a normal, cute name. Where did you grow up where you think its not normal?

Melany on

I remember a brand of elevators named OTIS. ahahahha
probably they made out in one of this =P

Gina on

She is dumber than I thought..

Gunterosa on

It is funny from her saying that she salutes working mothers. She has a lot more of facilities than other real working mothers out there. She can carry her son to shot, he has father also and they have money to hire a nanny if needed… real working mothers are those that have to work endless hours without couldn’t do anything at all at home… and don’t earn those amounts of money, those are warriors to me and all my respect for them.

bkable on

I’m not a fan of the name either but let’s name his graduation class: North West, Bear, Future, River … Otis really isn’t that bad relatively!

Carrow on

I was going with conceived in an elevator or they were really fascinated by the life story of Elisha Otis.

Sandra on

Real mothers are women that do what we do regardless of how much or little they have. People just kill me with that crap saying…..Well she has money and can hire nannies and trainers and whatever. So what! she has money, that doesn’t make her any less of a mother- working or not.

Michelle on

Thank God she didn’t say it was because he was conceived in an elevator!

Mel J on

Apparently, she’s too young to remember Otis the Drunk from Andy Griffith. That’s what Otis means to me.

Angie on

name the kid elevator lol.

Yo-Yo on

Unique name. Just not a fan of it.

Sunny on

Otis won’t seem so bad when he gets around North, Royal, River, Apple, Moses, Bear, Sparrow, Ace, etc.

zoom on

i like it But really she does not have to explain to anyone why she named her kid ..Its their biz ..

Um on

Otis Redding was an AMAZING singer.

Susan on

I love Otis Redding as well but, I would never stick one of my kids with that name.

Gunterosa on

Sandra, I’m not saying she is not a good mother or anything like it, not even mentioned it and not judging her or that topic. I was just saying that given her facilities (of course she can do whatever she wants with them, she earned it) she shouldn’t call herself warrior, thats all. To me warrior is other thing.

Dee on

I think she can call herself a working mom all she wants…some of those actors work longer hours than we work at our full time jobs. They get paid more than us and go months between jobs sometimes but when they work it’s usually a long time. Yes, they can afford a nanny/babysitter, but every other working parent hires babysitters for their kids while they’re at work also. Doesn’t make her less of a “warrior” mom. Anyone who can be there for their kid daily, teach them, and raise them is a warrior parent.

Amy on

Amen Dee. I’m a little confused about how having money makes someone any less of a parent – or why anyone would waste their time thinking that. Talk about reverse prejudice. Holy judgmental, Batman.

Shane on

I figured Otis Redding was reason for name. So cool. What a cute name Otis Sudeiksi!!

Mandy on

I lost all respect for this woman when she publicly trashed her ex-husband saying he made her vajay jay die that’s why she took off. I thought that was very arogant and immature. She’s fugly and looks much older than 30.

Gail on

Otis is a quite uncommon name though not too thrilled about it.

Bartholomew on

Otis is of Old English and Old German origin, and is very trad, meaning ‘wealth’ . It also means ‘keen of sight and hearing’ in Greek. So put that in your naysaying pipe, and smoke it.