No Lisas Allowed

Celebrity Baby Names: Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey, David Beckham

It’s only August, but 2011 is shaping up to be the craziest year ever in celebrity kids’ names.

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The Year in Crazy Celeb Baby Names!

By Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz

What’s all this fuss about Harper Seven? The newest Beckham baby’s name is not only much more down-to-earth than her brothers’ names (Brooklyn, Romeo, and Cruz)–nearly 3000 non-celebrity baby girls were given the name Harper last year–but it’s already been used for the children of other stars, from Tiffani Thiessen to Lisa Marie Presley. 

And Seven?  Didn’t we see that on Seinfeld, like, 15 years ago?

The whole Harper hubbub is diverting attention from the bumper crop of truly outrageous celebrity baby names we’ve seen in 2011.  Rather than retreating to more traditional baby name territory, stars seem to be setting the crazy bar ever higher.

Already this year we’ve had a Morocco and a Moroccan, a couple of animals and a pair of exotic flowers, several invented spellings, the name of a combustion engine, and the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

To counteract the scorn heaped upon some of these names, their bestowers rush to their defense, sometimes offering elaborate explanations and insights into the inspirations behind them, from great-grandparents to home décor to, yep, other celebrities.

Here, our picks for the wildest celebrity baby names of 2011– so far, with suspected crazy baby-namers Keri Russell, Lily Allen, Tori Spelling, Jenna Fischer, and January Jones due in the coming months. 

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

MONROE and MOROCCAN SCOTT—Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon

After several days of teasing tweets about the names of their newborn twins (“They both start with ‘M’”), the couple finally announced that the baby boy was Moroccan Scott—nicknamed Roc--and the girl, yes the girl, was Monroe, NOT, to our knowledge, nicknamed Roe.  Monroe’s name was in honor of Marilyn, an idol of Mariah’s, while Moroccan’s name was inspired by the décor of the room where Nick proposed to his wife. And Scott is Cannon’s own middle name. Little Monroe doesn’t have a middle name because Mariah doesn’t. Fair’s fair.

KCSPresse / Splash News

ELULA LOTTIE MIRIAM—Isla Fisher & Sacha Baron Cohen

Fisher and Cohen, whose own first names are both rising in popularity, kept their second daughter’s name a secret for months. Elula is the Hebrew name for August, the month the child was born.

Dan Steinberg / AP Photo

DIESEL DEAN—Jennie Finch & Casey Daigle

Diesel Dean fits the sports couple’s neo-macho name theme, joining big brother Ace Shane. Singer Toni Braxton has a Diezel, and one of the original crazily-named starbabies was Dweezil Zappa.

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BINGHAM HAWN—Kate Hudson & Matt Bellamy

He’s the baby with three last names. Kate Hudson and Matt Bellamy were quick to explain that the stiff, Jane Austen-ish name Bingham they gave to their son actually had legitimate family connections to the baby’s grandparents.

Valerie Macon / Getty Images

KANNON VALENTINE—Kevin James

Think of this name as a big gun with a heart of gold. Kannon reflects the Kardashian fashion of updating a C name (or word) by spelling it with a K; the softening Valentine is a nod to Kevin’s dad, Joseph Valentine Knipfing.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

KASE TOWNES—Jewel & Ty Murray

Kase may be a cowboy name, a nouveau spin on Casey, or it might be a nod to Austin country music station KASE. Townes is for Texas musician Townes Van Zandt, who has inspired everyone from Merle Haggard to Bob Dylan, but died early from alcoholism.

Marco Garcia / AP Photo

MOSLEY THOMPSON—(girl twin)—Peyton Manning

Since the days when Ashley ruled the popularity list, names that end in –ley have been growing in popularity, with Hadley and Kinley trendy right now. But Mosley, usually a surname as in mystery author Walter, is a new entry to the pack.

Peter Kramer / AP Photo

WINTER MORGAN—Gretchen Mol

Considering Mol named her first child Ptolemy, Winter for a girl seems downright sedate. It was Nicole Richie who brought Winter to the fore as a girls’ name, choosing it as one of the middle names of daughter Harlow.

Daniel Boczarski / Getty Images

CREE TAYLOR—Tia Mowry

Cree Taylor is both new-fangled name and a family tradition, in keeping with Tia’s family's practice of giving children names that begin with the first letter of the father’s name–daddy is Cory Hardrict – and also of using T names. While Mowry has claimed that Cree means “warrior,” it’s actually a Native American tribal name that’s either a twist on the French word for Christian or the Algonquian word for “first people.”

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ZUZU AUDREY—Tania Peterson (of Top Chef Just Desserts)

Zuzu is most famous as the little girl who notes at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life that every time a Christmas bell rings, an angel gets its wings. An old-fashioned nickname for Susan, Zuzu joins such trendy if once-outlandish double names as Coco and Lulu.

Matt Sayles / AP Photo

ALEPH—Natalie Portman & Benjamin Millepied

Portman refused to release her baby’s name for a month after he was born, a move that’s increasingly popular among celebrities who may want to protect their name choices from ridicule, may be trying to preserve their privacy, or may even–call us crazy–want to maximize the name’s publicity potential. Portman and Millepied’s long-awaited choice: Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the eternal number one of the Kabbalah. 

Dan Steinberg / AP Photo

BEAR BLU—Alicia Silverstone

Lots of expectant parents give their child an in-utero nickname like Bear, but few actually use it for the birth certificate. Color names in the middle–as with John Travolta’s Ella Bleu or Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke’s Levon Green–are one hot, if outrageous, trend.

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

JOURNEY JAMESON (boy)—Taboo

The Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo’s Journey travels further down the road of J names, following big brothers Jimmy Jalen and Joshua along with his rapper dad, whose real name is Jaime.

Jeff Christensen / AP Photo

MOROCCO ELIJAH—Mike Tyson

Morocco is Tyson’s second child with wife Lakiha Spicer, joining big sister Milan to create a theme of place names beginning with M. Next up: Manhattan? Missouri?