Celebrity Names Blog

Did Nicole Richie Give Her Son a Girl's Name?

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden welcomed a son, Sparrow James Midnight Madden, early this morning, September 9, 2009.  Sparrow joins older sister Harlow Winter Kate Madden, 20 months. We're guessing the boy's second middle name, Midnight, is a nod to his birth time, just as his sister's middle name Winter is a nod to the season of her birth. Richie has quickly become a style tastemaker among the mommy set, especially given her new line of maternity wear.  But so far, the buzz on the name Sparrow is that it doesn't sound masculine enough.

NameCandy.com's own Name Lady has written extensively on the subject. (See "Did I Give My Son a Girl's Name?" and "A Boy Named Precious.")  What do you think?  Did Nicole and Joel give their son a girl's name?


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September 9, 2009 9:03 PM
By Erin (not verified)

"Sparrow" definitely has a softer sound, kinda like Jasper. But then it's meaning -- "little, flitty bird" does make it really femme for me.

INterestingly, the male fairies in the recent Tinkerbell movie are called "Sparrow Men."


September 10, 2009 1:38 AM
By Kelley (not verified)

While it does have a softer and more feminine sound/look, I think it will benefit from the masculine connection with Captain Jack Sparrow.

September 10, 2009 4:37 AM
By lisa (not verified)

i thought of Captain Jack Sparrow too! While i like Harlow, Sparrow is just too much, i don't like it. I'm also surpiresed that the name Michael or Jackson wasn't included somewhere in the name, since i heard a while ago that they were going to.

September 10, 2009 7:37 AM
By PunkPrincess (not verified)

I have to say I'm annoyed with the level of misogynistic gender-stereotyping in the comments (on other boards) about this name - the suggestion that "Falcon", "Hawk", "Talon", or "Eagle" are more appropriate to a little boy has come up a few times. So...boys can only emulate birds if they're predatory and sound like F-15 fighter-jets or sports cars????

Robin, Wren, Peregrine, all have a history as boy's names, so why the double-standard?

As an aside, the latest installment of the Fable video game has a main character named Sparrow - regardless of the gender you choose to play. Just a thought.

September 11, 2009 11:51 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Anyone who argues that she gave her son a girl name is ridiculous. It's not a girl's name. It's not a boy's name. It's a bird's name! That's like saying Ferret is a girl's name and Goldfish is a boy's name.

September 11, 2009 5:56 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, Sparrow sounds like a feminine name. It just doesn't sound like it can grow into a man. Imagine him applying for a job at age 25 with the name Sparrow. It might be cute for a little newborn, but not later in life. Maybe he can go by James when he is older.

September 11, 2009 7:32 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Sparrow does seem quite feminine, somewhat like the name Willow. In fact, it is the lead girl in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Whistle Down the Wind."

September 12, 2009 9:12 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The main character in "Whistle Down the Wind" is Swallow not Sparrow.

September 12, 2009 10:20 AM
By Em (not verified)

As someone who strongly prefers softer-sounding boy's names, I like Sparrow and think it's sweet.

However, when paired with Harlow, it's WAY too matchy for my taste. The identical ending sounds really bug me...but maybe I should just be grateful they didn't go with Marlowe? ;o)

September 12, 2009 2:00 PM
By ladyphlogiston (not verified)

eh, I like Sparrow. It's new enough to go either way, and the sound is kinda fun. And I'm with PunkPrincess - if Robin and Wren can be boys' names, so can Sparrow. (Peregrine, being the name of another predatory bird, isn't quite as relevant - though I do love that name too!)

December 18, 2009 6:14 PM
By André (not verified)

Of course it isn't.

No one mentioned Nicole herself having a boys name, since Nicole comes from the french name Nicholas, a boys name.

Sparrow sounds like a boys name to me, especially because usually "o" ending names are boyish.

Plus no one makes a big fuss when girls are given boys name, which happens ALL the time. In fact girls have stolen hundred of boys name. Time for boys to take them back.

December 30, 2009 5:11 AM
By strategy games (not verified)

I think no one mentioned Nicole herself having a boys name, since Nicole comes from the french name Nicholas, a boys name.
Thanks for sharing this

January 28, 2010 5:51 PM
By Faye (not verified)

My first thought was that it was probably to rhyme with Harlow. My second thought that it'd be quite easy to get a tribute-tattoo for a bird-named baby (something a Madden would probably do) and that "Swallow" would be a totally unfortunate baby name.

I think Sparrow is a cute name and that people need to stop judging.

July 30, 2010 3:35 AM
By online bollywood movies (not verified)

I must say I am angry at the level of gender stereotypes and misogynistic comments (similar systems), hence the name - the assumption that "Falcon"

August 14, 2010 7:00 AM
By drugstore (not verified)

think we finally found a celeb baby with a worse name than Bronx-and I never thought it would happen. I liked Harlow’s name but this is to much. I’m with you Kaiser I shall be calling him Row Madden as well. It’s not too bad. Or James. James is a nice name.

March 8, 2012 6:09 PM
By online games (not verified)

Yap I think no one mentioned Nicole herself having a boys name, since Nicole comes from the french name Nicholas, a boys name.

September 4, 2012 8:01 AM
By Lexapro (not verified)

I like how the names ending in "son" flow with my last name and wanted to get some ... I've liked the name Madison for at least 3 yrs now and have always planned on naming my girl that. ... Then you could call her Emmie .

June 2, 2014 3:50 AM
By never (not verified)

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