Daniel Gillies and Rachael Leigh Cook Really Put a Lot of Thought into Their Son’s Name

07/16/2015 at 12:15 PM ET

Nobody can accuse Daniel Gillies and Rachael Leigh Cook of rushing into a name for their son.

The Originals actor, 39, said it took days after their son was born on April 4 to settle on the perfect name for their progeny: Theodore Vigo Sullivan Gillies.

“We just couldn’t settle on a name because it’s such an important decision,” the actor tells PEOPLE, explaining that he went with nicknames including “sweetheart,” “raisin” and even “calcified alien” in the interim.

The couple had it narrowed down to two names before birth — after compiling individual lists that included upwards of 700 names to start, then creating a sort of “Venn diagram” to see which names overlapped between them, before coming up with their top choices.

“Even after he was born we couldn’t determine whether or not he was Theodore or Vigo, because he was just so beat up from [being born],” he says. “Some might say he should be Vigo because of Viggo Mortensen, kind of battle-scarred. But there was something so adorable about him.”

Daniel Gillies Son Theodore Vigo Sullivan Name
Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP

After much discussion, their son was given each of them — with a bonus name thrown in for reasons that would make numerologists proud.

“In the end, he got both names: Theodore, Vigo, and my wife likes Sullivan,” he says. “He was born on the fourth [day] of the fourth [month], and I said, ‘Let’s give him four names. Four seems to be his number.’ ”

Even though his name has been officially chosen, Gillies says the nicknames remain: “We call him Zoolander — he has these really pouty lips. It’s really [funny] because they don’t come from Rachael or me.”

This isn’t the first time the pair were meticulous about names. Gillies said their 22-month-old daughter had been around for more than a week before they finally settled on her name: Charlotte Easton.

“I’m amazed that people name their children before they meet them. What the hell is that?” he jokes. “Because your kid bring so much wisdom.”

— Kathy Ehrich Dowd with reporting by Caryn Midler

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 7 comments

Bree on

While I respect their decision not to pick names for their children until after they were born there is no need to insult those of us who already had names chosen. My kids are 3 1/12 and 1 1/2, we had their names picked for months before they were born and we have no regrets, we love the names and they suit our kids.
Choose names for your kids however you want but don’t insult people who do it differently.

Pam on

We didn’t want our son to be born into the world nameless. We finally decided on a name for him a few hours before he was born. Before that the nurses were calling him baby (last name). That didn’t feel right. It felt great to write his name up on the board as baby Dylan John. So he came into the world with a name one that we thought about for a long time. Leaving them unnamed seems kind of careless.

Jen on

To each his own, but don’t knock that other parents pick out their kids’ names before birth. And “kids bring so much wisdom?” They are newborn babies, not the second coming of a deity. Chill the f- out.

Nicole on

I haven’t been blessed with children yet but I already have a list of names that I really like. I don’t know maybe I’m a dork but I’ve always loved putting names together. I do understand though why some people maybe want to wait until they meet their baby before they give them a name. Anyway, I’m sure their newest little one is very adorable 🙂

Anonymous on

Bree- I couldn’t agree more! Sometimes a name just “comes” to you and you know that is the perfect name for your child (that’s how it happened for my parents- they had my name picked out before I was even conceived!)!

klutzy_girl on

hahaha so much hurt feelings over his comment. Chill out and don’t let it bother you all so much!

Jen on

Seriously? Are you overly sensitive people illiterate? He was JOKING, like “what’s up with all you people who have names picked out?” It’s called teasing. Stop giving yourselves so much credit, I doubt he gives two damn shits when you picked out your child’s name.
God, what this country has come to, it’s embarrassing. Stop LOOKING for reasons to be insulted so you can sulk. If this is all it takes to hurt your wittle feewings then give up now, you’re not equipped for this life. What a bunch of crybabies, Christ Almighty.