Celebrity Names Blog

Jesstin? Timberbiel?: Jessica and Justin’s Names Through the Years

Jesstin? Timberbiel?: Jessica and Justin’s Names Through the Years

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s "magical" "fantasy" wedding in beautiful Fasano, Italy went down this weekend, according to People. The gorgeous couple was joined in a union of two of the most popular names of the 80s. Yes, there’s a baby name angle on this A-list merger. How have the names fared since Jessica and Justin were born?

Jessica, a name of unknown (but widely speculated) provenance and a decorative sound (like Vanessa and Pamela), broke into the top 100 names in 1970 and rose quickly over the next decade. Jessica’s incredible run included a span of 16 years (1981-1997) as the first or second most popular girl’s name in the US.  While you can probably think of a couple famous older Jessicas (Jessica Lange of American Horror Story and more) there are many celebrity 20 and 30-somethings (Alba, Biel, Simpson) who have come to prominence recently.  If you are a child of the 80s, you probably remember a few fictional Jessicas (whose names were ahead of the trend) including Jessica Rabbit and the mystery-solving Jessica Fletcher of "Murder, She Wrote…"

In 1982, the year Biel was born, Jessica was the second most popular name. The top five names for girls then were:

1

Jennifer

2

Jessica

3

Amanda

4

Sarah

5

Melissa

Last year, the same names were ranked:

134 

Jennifer

120

Jessica

226

Amanda

39

Sarah

184

Melissa

Justin, has not had such a meteoric rise (it appeared in the top 100 in 1972 and is steady still at #59). As we know, boys names are not usually subject to the extreme trendiness of girls’ names that stamps them as being from a particular era, e.g. Fear of Jennifer. The year Timberlake was born, Justin was #12. Justin reached its apex at #7 a few years later and has stayed in the top 100 from 1972 through this past year. Though Justin seems like an omnipresent name, it may just be the result of its steady popularity combined with the prominence Timberlake, Justin Bieber and even Justins Bartha and Theroux.

Biel has gotten jokey name suggestions based on her last name (Batmo Biel anyone?) while Timberlake has played on his name with his debut album title "Justified" in 2002, so we eagerly look forward to their name choices if they decide to have kids.

What names scream 80s to you? Do you have a favorite name that is just too overused?

--H.A.

 

Comments

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October 22, 2012 12:39 PM
By Allison (not verified)

Jennifer, Jessica, Heather, Lauren - my classes were filled with these names. I was born in 1980. Boys were all Brian, Michael, Jason and Josh.

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