Ryan Reynolds Jokingly Defends Naming Daughter James After His Dad: ‘I Didn’t Call Her Summer Squash Meadowlark’

02/05/2016 at 11:55 AM ET

Celebrities might have a reputation for bestowing unusual monikers on their offspring, but Ryan Reynolds has made it clear he doesn’t want to be considered part of that group.

The Deadpool star and wife Blake Lively named their now 13-month-old daughter James after Reynolds’ father, who lost his long-term battle with Parkinson’s disease last October.

“In the spectrum of weird celebrity baby names, I don’t really feel like we’re breaking new ground here. I didn’t call her Summer Squash Meadowlark,” he said Friday during an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, after explaining that “my father just passed away, but my daughter’s named after him.”

Ryan Reynolds
Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Reynolds’ comments came after host Kate Garraway mentioned that the name is “unusual” for a female in the U.K.

The actor, 39, later joked that he considered making his firstborn’s name even more surprising, in keeping with many stars who choose baby names considered outside the norm.

“I also thought of going with all the letters silent in her name and it’d just be pronounced [long breath out],” he deadpanned. “I’m just giving dumb celebrities ideas.”

On a more genuine note, the star sweetly spoke about how fatherhood has profoundly altered his life for the better.

“I love being a father,” he said, while also revealing his daughter is teething. “I think they are fangs actually, from what I can tell. They’ll draw blood … I don’t want to be one of those celebs who talks about being a parent like they’re the only person in the world who has ever managed to conceive and bear a child.

“It’s the most common thing in the world but the most profound,” he added later. “It’s super fun. I just love it.”

— Kathy Ehrich Dowd with reporting by Philip Boucher

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

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

Showing 30 comments

mer on

I just LOVE the name James for a girl. Very good idea.

Jane on

James for a girl is deeply stupid. It’s like naming a boy Tiffany or a girl Richard. It’s idiotic to pretend that gender doesn’t exist.

Jubby15 on

James is a straight up boys name and sounds awful for a girl. However, the reporter should have done a google search before asking him about it, as of course the reason is that his father had just passed away which is obviously a very sensitive subject for him. For that reason, I wouldn’t have said anything if I was her.

Liz on

James is a boy’s name. You could have used it as a middle name, and it would seem that she already has your last name, which also honors your father. She could have been given a lovely first name, suited for a girl. My dad died when I was a child, and we used his name as our son’s middle name. If I had had a girl, I wouldn’t have named her for my father. There are names that have a male and a female version, like if the man’s name was Sam/Samuel, then a girl could be named Samantha, etc. Maybe they will at least call her Jamie, that could work for a girl. It’s just asking for trouble, through all of the school years, when the teacher calls out the name James and then a girl answers.

Intreprid18 on

James is a terrible name for a girl. There will be continual confusion throughout this child’s life because her dumb celebrity parents chose to give her a name she will have to defend endlessly. There are other ways to respect your parents.

Melissa on

My daughter’s name is Meadow, and I think Ryan Reynolds is a bad example of a father already (making fun of names??). I’m sure anybody out there w/ the name Summer, Meadow or even Lark would be offended. Isn’t he the one all over the place in a superbowl ad this year? Why? I even forget why he is even famous anyway…

LuLu on

I’m sorry but everyone who has already posted on this needs to get a life! So he named is daughter James….who cares! James is no more or less stupid than Meadow (sorry Melissa but Meadow is a stupid name). I highly doubt that anyone posting on here will ever meet Ryan or James so what the heck do you care what he named her?

walt on

It’s sad he can’t reconcile his fathers death without potentially stigmatizing his daughter. Love and light to this baby girl.

LLS on

Easy Melissa, it’s the combo together of the names he’s talking about not Meadow individually. Way to judge.

blah on

I don’t know what’s so confusing about a girl named James. Child is girl, girl has name, name is James. It’s pretty straightforward. Many common girls names today were traditionally male. I don’t see anybody criticizing parents who name their girls Ashley or Mckenzie.

sunny on

There are many ways to honor the memory of your father, but naming a girl James is just not necessary. Middle name, fine, but we still live in a world that has gender identity between men and women. Not everything has to be unisex.

Audrey on

Let’s not forget that her mother’s name is Blake! I always thought that was a boy’s name too.

James on

I know plenty of girls called Jamie, James on the other hand.. boys name

Rose on

James for a girl is a unique name. Lovely name for either a boy or a girl.

Viktorya on

I love, love, love James for a girl! It’s gorgeous and regal! She can go by Jamie if she likes.

Milky on

I like James for a girl, it does have a nice feminine sound to it. I love that society is loosening the lines between genders in several ways; no one should be defined by gender. I think it’s cute the whole family has unisex names. (And btw, pp, Meadow is a lovely name, don’t worry about the trolls!)

Montie on

I don’t see anything wrong with it, I’ve heard it before. I named my daughter Brett which is traditionally a boy’s name.

Brianne on

Yeah, if a week goes by and I don’t hear ‘Really? It’s not Brian? Are you sure you’re a girl?’ I haven’t met anyone. And I don’t even have a boy’s name. I feel for that poor girl, that is going to give her a complex.

Vox on

Nice name James for a girl even though it’s considered outside the norm.

Claire on

Meadowlark is better.

Charlotte on

My sisters’ name is Jamie, but I always call her James as a nickname. So for me James sounds really normal for a girl haha

Serena on

Um the name James was for honoring Reynolds’ father, who dyed last October. Nice name for a girl though not common.

Abbie on

Wow you all need to get a life. How do you know they don’t call her Jamie as a nickname which can be for a guy or girl. I think if you guys are worried about his child being made fun of for her name being different for a girl, then you are the ones teaching children how to make fun of children. Now a days there are plenty of names that can be fore boys or girls. Ryan, Dana, Shannon, Francis, Jamie, Alex, Max, etc. Not to mention Ryan’s own wife has a name that can be used for males or females. Lighten up people!

Lauren on

I prefer name Jamie over James for a girl, this way people don’t get confused about the person’s identity if they don’t know this person yet.

Jen on

Jamie? Great! Summer? Great! Meadow? Still good with that. But, James? Really? It screams I-wish-I-had-a-son-instead. Just sad.

Niko on

“James is a terrible name for a girl. There will be continual confusion throughout this child’s life because her dumb celebrity parents chose to give her a name she will have to defend endlessly. There are other ways to respect your parents.”

Well, Intrepid18, the name James can easily be feminized as “Jamie”. Just sayin’….

Xaz on

Yes James is a lovely name for either a boy or a girl.

Anonymous on

James is a nice name for a girl, at least they didn’t name her Meadowlark.

ryannx211 on

Well, I happen to this Ryan is a dumb first name and it never was popular until Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal started going by Ryan

ryannx211 on

Well, I happen to think Ryan is a dumb first name and it never was popular until Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal started going by Ryan