She wanted to have a unique name and her parents didn't inhibit her desire to stand out.
The Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean has allowed his daughter to unofficially change her name. She just wanted a cooler name and her parents had no objection to it. The child was originally named "Ava" but has been going with different names since she was 5 years old, according to her mother, Rochelle Deanna McLean. On Wednesday, the couple uploaded a photo of their daughters Elliot and Lyric in honor of their first day back at school, according to Scary Mommy. The photo was captioned, "After two and half 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."
People noticed the change of name and started commenting in confusion. One user wrote, "Elliot? Is Ava going to become a boy? I don’t understand this about Elliot." Another wrote, "Elliot? Uh yeah, Ava." This was the first time the family had publicly referred to Elliot by her chosen name. To clear the air, Rochelle took to Instagram stories to explain the situation.
She wrote, "For those asking... not that it's anyone's business 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.)"
She added, "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'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." Elliot's father, AJ McLean, spoke to TODAY about her change of name. He said, "There are a few girls named Ava at her school and she felt like she wanted a name that was unique to her. But she’ll always Ava to me." He explained that she got the idea for the name from the movie "Pete's Dragon." The name isn't legally official but is now an accepted name for her.
AJ explained, "I was like, ‘Well, this is new.' 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.’" However, the parents have made it clear that this will not become a regular occurrence in their home.
He said, "(Elliott) did almost start this domino effect because then Lyric wanted to change her name to Ava. And I was like, 'No. No. No. We're not gonna do this.'" Despite the criticizing comments on social media, many people did not highlight the fact that Elliot has changed her name and were supportive. A person commented on the couple's Instagram, "Your family is so beautiful and the way you and AJ embrace the uniqueness of Lyric and Elliott is inspirational." Another said, "Happy back-to-school day, girls! Going back myself in a few weeks and quite excited to meet all my critters again and see how much they've grown."