Deal with it

AJ Mclean Let His 9-Year-Old Daughter Pick Out A New Name That She Liked More

Nine-year-old Ava felt her given name simply wasn’t true to her, so she decided to change it, end of story.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 31: Backstreet Boys bandmember AJ Mclean attends the official gift lounge ...
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AJ McLean’s daughter has officially changed her name, and it’s not because her birth name doesn’t align with her gender. She just wanted a cooler name — can you blame her? The Backstreet Boys singer’s daughter was originally named ‘Ava,’ but according to mom Rochelle Deanna Mclean, she’s been going by different names since she was five years old.

The couple posted a shared photo of their daughters Elliot and Lyric on Wednesday in honor of their first day back to school, a common trend for parents on Instagram every year whether you’re a famous boy band member or not.

“After two and half years years of homeschool, these two beauties are back to school! Lyric is starting kindergarten and Elliott (Ava) is in fourth grade! I can’t believe it! I’m so proud of these girls. As much as I am going to miss them, I’m excited to watch them spread their wings and fly!” the photo was captioned.

Followers began to comment in reference to the name change, with one user saying “Elliot? Is Ava going to become a boy? I don’t understand this about Elliot,” and another writing “Elliot? Uh yeah Ava.”

As this was the first time the couple had publicly referred to Elliot by her chosen name, mom Rochelle decided to address the topic in her Instagram stories, explaining “For those asking... not that it's anyone's business," she says, "but Elliot's name change is not a gender thing. 'Ava' has changed her name quite a few times since she was about five. Last year she asked us to start calling her Elliot and it stuck. She wanted something unique that no one else had. (There are so many Ava's.)”


“I didn't really see the harm in respecting her desire to be unique. Come to think of it, it's a little odd that as parents we choose names for people we haven't even met yet and expect them to forever [identify] as that person! Anyway... so that's how Ava became Elliot. I knew once I put it out there people would have opinions, but be kind," she says. "She's just a kid trying to make her way in this crazy world! I just want her to know she can always be whoever she wants to be,” she concluded.

While some had opinions on the decision, many were also very supportive, saying things like “Your family is so beautiful and the way you and AJ embrace the uniqueness of Lyric and Elliott is inspirational ❤️,” and “How smart of Elliott!! I hated my name growing up, talk about embarrassing moments when teachers would mispronounce it 🙊 Wish i would have thought to change it lol.”

Dad AJ also spoke out about the name change, opening up during a TODAY interview.

“There are a few girls named Ava at her school and she felt like she wanted a name that was unique to her,” he told TODAY Parents on Tuesday. “But she’ll always be Ava to me.”

He went on to say that she got the name idea from Pete’s Dragon (who does not love that movie!?) and that while the name change isn’t legally official, it’s still her accepted name for now.

“I was like, ‘Well, this is new,’” McLean recalled. “But I support my kids in whatever they want to do. So now Elliott is Elliott. We haven’t legally changed her name, and I don’t know if that is going to happen. She may wake up tomorrow and say, ‘I’m Ava again.’”

He also stressed that the name change doesn’t have to do with gender identity and pronouns. It’s more about style.

But the parents are putting their foot down in one respect: it’s not going to become a regular trend in their household.

"(Elliott) did almost start this domino effect because then Lyric wanted to change her name to Ava," McLean said to TODAY. "And I was like, 'No. No. No. We're not gonna do this.'"

Nice try, Lyric! You already have a unique name.

AJ has always considered his daughters to be his ‘#1 fans’ and even wrote the song ‘Give You Away’ about them on his country album in 2019.

Any parent who is open enough to do something unconventional for the wellbeing of their child is changing the world, because they are supporting the new generation in the way they need it — children are our future, let’s listen to them more.

Way to trailblaze, Elliot.

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