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Celebrities Mourn Gregg Allman After News Of His Death

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News of Gregg Allman’s death was met with an outpouring of grief on Saturday. 

The legendary musician “passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia,” according to a statement on Allman’s official website, which noted his family planned on releasing their own statement soon. “Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.”

Celebrities and friends, including Allman’s ex-wife Cher, took to social media to remember the singer:   

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Gregg Allman, Classic Rock Legend Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead

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Gregg Allman, one of the two brothers from legendary rock band the Allman Brothers Band, has died. He was 69.

Allman was born on Dec. 8, 1978, in Nashville. He was also born a ramblin’ man, if his band’s 1973 classic rock hit was any indication. He, along with his brother Duane, helped to create one of the most successful classic rock bands of all time. With that came not just music, but drugs, women and ― at times ― tragedy, including the early death of Duane.

In his later years, Allman developed hepatitis C, and suffered from an irregular heartbeat and a respiratory infection and had to have a liver transplant. In 2017, he canceled a planned summer tour, sparking worries about his health. 

Allman was born to Willis Allman, a WWII veteran who stormed Normandy Beach, came back to his bride after the war, and had two sons. His father’s life was cut short when Gregg was just 2 years old. After Willis Allman offeredstranger a ride home from a bar one night, the man fatally shot him in the back.

Neither Gregg nor Duane showed any interest in emulating their father’s military career. The boys hated the military school their mother sent them to, but found their footing in music while there, according to Rolling Stone.

“I learned to play mostly from black people,” Allman told The Guardian in 2015. “We used to listen to a station that called itself ‘The black spot on your dial.’ It played Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and it hit Duane and me like spaghetti hitting a wall.”

By the time the Allman Brothers Band was formed in 1969, Gregg and Duane were legitimate country hippies ― long-haired, drug-smoking free-loving spirits. Duane played guitar, with Gregg on vocals. Other founding members of the band included drummers “Butch” Trucks and Jai “Jaimoe” Johnny Johnson, along with “Dickey” Betts on guitar and Berry Oakley on bass.

The Allman Brothers Band blended country, jazz, blues and Southern rock in such seamless riffs, pounding drums and twangy vocals that it earned them a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and a Lifetime Achievement award at the Grammys in 2012. The movie “Almost Famous” was also, in part, inspired by the band.

The Allman Brothers Band produced their biggest hits in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, including “Ramblin’ Man,” “Midnight Rider” and “Whipping Post.” During this time, the band experimented heavily with drugs and attracted many groupies on tour.

“Gregg was just a pretty boy,” drummer Butch Trucks told Rolling Stone in 1999. “He had blond hair, and the girls were hanging all over him.”

In his book My Cross To Bear, Gregg bragged about his sexual exploits.

“I would have women in four or five different rooms,” Allman wrote about staying in hotels while on tour. “Mind you, I wouldn’t lie to anybody; I’d just say, ‘I’ll be right back.’”

During those earlier years, he and his bandmates were also experimenting with drugs, including (but not limited to) PCP, cocaine and speed. The band loved psychedelic mushrooms so much, they made them their unofficial logo and tattooed a mushroom on each of their calves, according to Rolling Stone.

In 1971, just as the band found itself being propelled into stardom, Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident. He was  24.

“Duane was the king of laughter, always making jokes,” Gregg Allman told The Guardian in 2015. “You’ve got to keep laughing. It was what Duane would have done, and wanted us to do.”

At Duane’s funeral, Gregg played songs on his older brother’s antique guitar.

“This is a very old guitar, a very beautiful piece,” he said to a crowd of 300. “It was made in 1920 and I’m very proud to have it. And I’m very proud that you all came.”

In 1975, Allman married singer Cher in Las Vegas. The marriage lasted nin days, ending after Allman allegedly pulled a knife on her while trying to score heroin. They reconciled after learning Cher was pregnant with their son, Elijah Blue.

In 1977, Cher divorced Allman for good. The final straw was reportedly at an awards show, when Allman passed out face-first in a plate of spaghetti.

“Every now and then,” Allman wrote in his 2012 memoir, “I’ll think of all the hell I caused other people over the years.” 

Allman eventually embraced sobriety. 

“I’m doing great,” Allman told the Savannah Morning News in 2013. “I’ve been clean and sober for 19 years. I just came off one of best the tours I’ve ever done, and I feel good every day.”

In “Ramblin’ Man,” Allman croons: “And when it’s time for leavin, I hope you’ll understand / That I was born a ramblin’ man.”

We understand, midnight rider. 

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Newly Single Leonardo DiCaprio Surrounded By A Bevy Of Models In Cannes

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Looks like Leonardo DiCaprio is doing just fine after that breakup. 

The newly single actor, who split with his model girlfriend Nina Agdal earlier this month, was spotted in Cannes on Thursday at the amfAR Gala, surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women including Bella Hadid and Rita Ora. DiCaprio is known for his penchant for models, having previously dated Gisele Bundchen, Bar Refaeli, Erin Heatherton, Toni Garrn and Kelly Rohrbach, so these photos are, shall we say, priceless. 

DiCaprio and Agdal dated for over a year before their split was announced last week. Shortly after the reveal, the actor was spotted with friend and fellow bachelor Tobey Maguire at LA hotspots The Peppermint Club and Avenue LA. Maguire was also in attendance at the amfAR event in France’s Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. He was photographed onstage with Chris Tucker, Uma Thurman, Will Smith and Jessica Chastain during the soiree. 

We can imagine Tobey sending Leo a text about letting loose in Cannes, to which Leo responds: You mean tonight, Boo Boo? Club-wise?

Head over to the Daily Mail to see more photos of DiCaprio in his element. 

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Ben Stiller And Christine Taylor Split After 17 Years Of Marriage

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Actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor are calling it quits after 17 years of marriage, the couple announced on Friday. 

“With tremendous love and respect for each other, and the 18 years we spent together as a couple, we have made the decision to separate,” the couple said in a joint statement to Entertainment Tonight. “Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends. We kindly ask that the media respect our privacy at this time.”

Stiller, 51, and Taylor, 45, met in 1999 on set of the never-aired TV pilot “Heat Vision and Jack.” After a short engagement, they married in May 2000 in Hawaii. The couple have two children together; Ella Olivia, 15, and Quinlin Dempsey, 11. 

In 2013, Stiller opened up about his relationship with Taylor to Parade magazine. “[Our] relationship was a gradual thing that happened over a quick period of time, maybe seven or eight months,” he said.  “We just started hanging out with each other and it developed into, “Wow, this feels great. I really like this person. I think I love this person. I really do – I love this person.” It hit me out of the blue.”

News of the split comes as somewhat of a surprise, given that the “Zoolander 2” star told “ET” that the secret to the couple’s long-lasting marriage was “having a sense of humor.”

“I think you got to laugh. Because you know after a while you know life is life you know?” Stiller said in February 2016. “We all have to deal with what life throws at us, so you got to have a sense of humor about it. If you can share that, at the end, it makes a huge difference.”

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Brad Pitt, Courtney Love Among Mourners At Chris Cornell’s Funeral

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Soundgarden rocker Chris Cornell was laid to rest on Friday in a funeral and memorial service at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery attended by celebrities Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Courtney Love and the singer’s family.

Cornell, 52, was found dead in his hotel in Detroit last week hours after his band played a concert in the city. The Detroit Medical Examiners Office determined he had committed suicide by hanging himself.

Outside the cemetery, dozens of fans gathered to pay tribute to the grunge rocker. 

“Honestly, it feels like I’ve had a death in my family,” said Regina Padilla, 42, who took the day off of work and drove 40 miles (60 km) to attend the service.

“I just feel like his life was cut short,” she added.

Cornell had spoken openly of his drug and alcohol addiction in the past, as well as periods of depression and agoraphobia.

But his wife, Vicky, said last week she did not believe the singer intended to kill himself, suggesting that an anxiety drug he was taking may have played a role in impairing his judgment.

In an emotional open letter published by Billboard this week, she said she was sorry she was not with her husband the night he died.

“I’m sorry, my sweet love, that I did not see what happened to you that night,” she wrote. “I’m sorry you were alone, and I know that was not you, my sweet Christopher.”

After Soundgarden broke up in 1997, Cornell in 2001 joined members of Rage Against The Machine to form Audioslave, which released an acclaimed self-titled album. Soundgarden reunited in 2010 and the band embarked on its latest tour in April.

A lot of his lyrics could be sad, but his music was so beautiful,” said fan Chris Heathcoat, 46, who brought white roses to the cemetery.

“Chris was also like that second brother I never had that can sing my pain away or sing me to sleep or wake me up and give me the determination to move on,” he said.

Seattle-born Cornell was the latest member of the elite 1990s grunge rock movement to die from either a drug overdose or suicide. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who was married to Courtney Love, killed himself in 1994. Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots both died of drug overdoses. 

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Ariana Grande Announces Manchester Benefit Concert In Powerful Open Letter

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Four days after a deadly terror attack claimed the lives of 22 people and injured scores of others at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, the pop star has announced she’s hosting a benefit concert to raise money for the victims and their families.

In an open letter shared on social media Friday, the “Dangerous Woman” singer expanded upon her original tweet, in which she wrote she was “broken” and “so so sorry.” 

“My heart, prayers and deepest condolences are with the victims of the Manchester Attack and their loves ones,” Grande wrote. “There is nothing I or anyone can do to take away the pain you are feeling or to make this better. However, I extend my hand and heart and everything I possibly can give to you and yours, should you want or need my help in any way.”

“The only thing we can do now is choose how we let this affect us and how we live our lives from here on out. I have been thinking of my fans, and of you all, non stop over the past week,” she continued. “The way you have handled all of this has been more inspiring and made me more proud of you than you’ll ever know. The compassion, kindness, love, strength and openness that you’ve shown one another this past week is the exact opposite of the heinous intention it must take to pull of something as evil as what happened Monday.”

Grande revealed she plans to return to the “incredibly brave city” of Manchester for a benefit concert, suggesting that she’ll be joined by other musicians, who have yet to be announced. Details about the concert are limited, but Grande promised to keep her fans updated once everything is confirmed. 

In the wake of the attack, the singer canceled all dates on her Dangerous Woman tour until June 5, while the fate of the rest of the tour remains in limbo. 

“From the day we started putting the Dangerous Woman Tour together, I said that this show, more than anything else, was intended to be a safe space for my fans,” the 23-year-old added. “A place for them to escape, to celebrate, to heal, to feel safe and be themselves. To meet their friends they’ve made online to express themselves. This will not change that.”

For Grande’s full letter, read below. 

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Father’s Emotional Letter To Ariana Grande Goes Viral: ‘Take Care Of You First’

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In the days following the deadly terror attack in Manchester at an Ariana Grande concert, many have reached out to the pop star with well wishes and heartfelt notes on social media.  

One such tribute from Patrick Millsaps, a father of three living in Georgia, has gone viral after he was struck by Grande’s response to the tragedy

The “Dangerous Woman” singer tweeted that she was “broken” and “so so sorry” after 22 people, including seven children, were killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi exploded a device at Manchester Arena. Grande later left England, and returned to her home town of Boca Raton, Florida, where she was greeted by her boyfriend Mac Miller and family. 

As the father of three daughters, Millsaps felt particularly connected to Grande and her music, so he decided to write an open letter, encouraging her to never blame herself and “take care of you first.”

“I am the father of three daughters — ages 13, 12 & 12. So, you have been a part of our family for years,” Millsaps wrote. “After reading a tweet you posted on Twitter the other night; I’m afraid I need to set to straight girl. So listen up and receive some redneck love from a daddy of daughters.”

“You don’t have a dadgum thing to apologize for. If some jackass had gotten drunk and killed someone with his car next to your hotel in Manchester, would you feel responsible? If the night before your concert, a tornado hit Manchester and tragically killed several people who were going to your concert; would you feel the need to apologize?” he continued. 

“You see, you are no more responsible for the actions of an insane coward who committed an act in your proximity than you would be for a devastating natural disaster or acts of morons near your hotel.”

Millsaps, who is an American film producer, also shared some advice with Grande on how to heal during this difficult time. In the wake of the attack, the singer canceled all dates of her “Dangerous Woman” tour until June 5, while the fate of the last legs of the tour remain in limbo. 

“Spend time with your God, your family and your friends who will give you space and support when you need it. Hell, go lick as many freaking donuts as you want. Girl, you deserve it!” he wrote. “When and only when you are ready, on behalf of all dads who love your … um … whose daughters’ love your music SING AGAIN. Music is the international language of peace. Every time you open your mouth and share that incredible God-given gift to the world, you make this crappy world a little less crappy.”

To read Millsaps’ full letter, head over to his Twitter account

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Did You Hear The One About Al Franken in 2020?

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WASHINGTON ― Al Franken and I have been friends for 30 years, so I got right to the point.

“Will you ever run for president?” I demanded to know in an interview with the 66-year-old Minnesota Democratic senator this week.

There was an ever so slight, theatrical pause.

“Aaah … no,” he then answered, letting loose his patented chest-bursting cackle.

“I’m going to ask [Democratic National Committee Chairman] Tom Perez to start a primary just for vice president. I would run for that.”

“Really?” I asked humorlessly. 

“NO! I wouldn’t! That was a joke! See, I thought it was a funny idea because I would be the only one running in that primary. Get it?” 

Got it. 

An eerie amount of Franken’s career arc from comedian to politician has consisted of life imitating art and/or vice versa. It’s often hard to know what is meant to be a joke and what isn’t. 

This isn’t even the first time Franken has thought about running for president. But in the past it was about comedy, not politics. 

He and I discussed the topic at D.C.’s Palm Restaurant 20 years ago. He was planning to write a book making fun of presidential politics. His method would be to chronicle his own imaginary, victorious campaign and his later resignation in disgrace. 

Along with the scholarly über-pundit Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Mandy Grunwald, one of the Democrats’ leading media consultants, I became a Franken “adviser” for the day. 

We brainstormed our way to a “platform” that was vaguely realistic but also risibly trivial: exorbitant ATM fees. Al would “run” on a crusade to reduce them, and would sweep the nation. 

Which, in his mind and in the narrative, is what he did in the resulting book, published in 1999, called, Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency. It’s a side-splitting tale from beginning to end, and a sendup of every absurdity and hypocrisy of our way of public life. 

Now, on the eve of the publication of his new, facetiously named autobiography, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, the presidential question is out there. This time it is all in real life. 

The book is a witty, candid account of his life so far, including his wife Franni’s battle with alcoholism, the joy and pain of writing comedy, the moments of crisis and doubt in his difficult first Senate campaign, and his struggle to balance his need to make audiences laugh with the serious work of the Senate. 

Out Tuesday, it has prompted speculation about whether he might run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Publications from The Washington Post to Politico to People are asking the question. After all, if he were to run, the new book could serve as what consultants call “inoculation” ― surfacing the “worst” material early to lessen its impact later. 

Especially in an era when politics has become almost interchangeable with entertainment (and even comedy), there is a weird  logic ― something vaguely approaching destiny ― to the idea that he now at least should consider stepping even higher. 

“Trump has so devalued the presidency that people are coming up to me and saying, ‘Al, of course you can do it. … And I say, ‘No! You can’t compare me to him and just say, yeah, you can do it.” 

But is the idea realistic? Well, Franken and I have been friends ever since we met at the Iowa caucuses in 1988, and even I have to admit that at first glance the answer is no. 

After all, in a three-decade comedy career, Franken appeared half-naked on “Saturday Night Live”; said beastly, crude things at 2 a.m. in the writers’ room; and, in the early years, did a fair amount of cocaine. 

Franken is an emotional person, with the ups and downs of a stage performer. He yearns to be liked and can be stubborn to a fault. 

Relatively late in life, he has risen fast in politics through his lacerating writing, talking and gift for humor as a rhetorical weapon. He’s never really managed much besides his own career, which actually has been managed by the saintly and ever-patient Franni Franken, to whom Al has been married for 41 years. 

Franken does not mention Why Not Me? in his autobiographical Giant of the Senate. Why? Well, it wasn’t a bestseller. More seriously, he wants to run for a third term as a senator in his home state of Minnesota in 2020. He also has a good relationship with the state’s senior Democratic senator, Amy Klobuchar, who definitely IS running for the presidency. 

“If Al showed any interest in the nomination it would get very awkward with Amy very fast,” a leading Minnesota political expert told me. 

And yet… 

In the age of Trump, Franken is a force. With his sharp mind and the presentational skills he learned in comedy, he has become a progressive star by eviscerating Trump and his circle in Congress, including, famously, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The comparisons with Trump are telling. The president is a performer who intuitively “knows the room” and defeats foes with words. His feel for TV and social media is unrivaled. 

Franken in that sense is the anti-Trump. 

He has the theatrical gifts and media experience that Trump has. But Franken studies his briefs with maniacal intensity. He always knows precisely what he is talking about. He is honest to a fault by political standards; indeed, his humor is largely based on “kidding on the square,” which means to say something funny that is also true. He is a devotedly square family man with one wife for life, two adoring kids and a small but growing brood of grandchildren. His idea of fun is to be with them all. He is diligent about spending as much time as he can in Minnesota. 

There is no Minnesota bean feed too small for Franken to attend. He is vigilant about his home state’s interests. Like his “SNL” character Stuart Smalley, he genuinely likes people and earnestly wants them to like him back. They usually do.

No bridge-burner in the Senate, Franken in his book eviscerates the deeply loathed Sen. Ted Cruz (no one in the Senate would object) but otherwise is careful to tell only the most anodyne stories, all of which he cleared (as dictated by custom) with the members involved. 

He actually enjoys legislating. To that end, he is almost obsessively polite about Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with whom he disagrees on virtually every matter but whom he has the good sense to flatter personally. He has an even better relationship with Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. 

Franken can become a power in the Senate if the Democrats ever take it back. 

But what about the Big Job? 

I asked him whether the thought he could handle it, and he gave a long answer that indicated he had in fact pondered the topic. 

“I know what a heavy job it is. That’s all I can say,” he began. He used Syria as an example.

When he first heard that President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons to kill civilians in Syria, Franken said, his first reaction while at the state fair in Minnesota was to demand swift retaliation.

But when it seemed that the Senate might have to vote to authorize such retaliation, the studious and detail-oriented Franken immersed himself in briefings and documents and saw the another side. More innocents would be killed as Assad used “human shields” at all the sites the United States would target.

“The president has to make those kinds of decisions all the time,” Franken said earnestly, “and I am not sure that I would be terribly comfortable having that job for four to eight years.”

That doesn’t sound like a flat no to me.

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Ellie Kemper’s Baby Only Calms Down When He Sees Allison Williams

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Ellie Kemper’s baby is keeping his parents busy.

Appearing on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” the actress talked about her adventures as a new mom. Kemper and her husband, Michael Koman, have a 10-month-old son named James.

“James is a … spirited child,” she told Meyers. On a flight to Los Angeles a couple of months ago, Kemper and Koman struggled to calm their fussy baby, but nothing worked … until they showed him the airline magazine with Allison Williams on the cover. 

“Her gorgeous face delighted my child,” the mom said. “It was the only thing that worked.”

Since then, Kemper has used different magazines that feature Williams to make James smile.

Watch the full clip above to see some adorable photos of the baby with pictures of Williams and hear more of Kemper’s parenting experiences.

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12 Celebrity Baby Names That Are Actually Quite Nice

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Nameberry is honoring the veteran celebrity moms ― the ones who have gracefully combined high-profile careers with parenting and added another baby to the mix since last May.

These stylish mamas have chosen a mix of traditional and surprising names for their new additions. Plenty of these could prove influential in the upcoming years. What are your favorites? From Amalia to Zen, there’s something here to suit every style.

Amalia

Natalie Portman made headlines when she named her firstborn Aleph in 2011. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Recently she and husband Benjamin Millepied added a daughter to their family. Amalia is a slightly more conventional choice, but sticks with the A theme. With Amelia near the top of the popularity lists, cousin Amalia promises to inspire.

Caleb

Kerry Washington has stuck with a winning strategy for naming her two children with husband Nnamdi Asomugha. New baby Caleb Kelechi joined big sister Isabelle Amarachi last October. Both first names are mainstream favorites, but the “Scandal” star and her NFL husband chose middles that honor his Nigerian heritage.

Daisy

Olivia Wilde impressed us all when she and husband Jason Sudeikis named their son Otis Alexander. They did it again, with daughter Daisy Josephine’s name in October. The first names are vintage and nickname-proof, while the middles feel longer and slightly more traditional. Otis re-entered the U.S. Top 1000 following his birth announcement; Daisy already ranks in the Top 200, but might also get a boost.

Dimitri

After Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher named their daughter Wyatt Isabelle, we knew their son’s name would be equally unexpected. Sure enough, the couple went with Dimitri Portwood for their November 2016 new arrival. Ashton has shared that Mila suggested the name, but not explained why. Since Mila was born in the Ukraine, it feels like a great heritage choice for the couple. 

Hugo 

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas might be the best boy namers of our time. Firstborn son Oliver Finlay arrived in 2014. The “Once Upon a Time” stars added son Hugo Wilson in June 2016. Oliver has raced up the popularity charts in recent years. Now his little brother’s name seems likely to do the same. The subtle connection between an O-starting and an O-ending name links the boys nicely, too.

Ines

After bestowing family name James on a daughter in 2014, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds surprised us with their second daughter’s name, too. Instead of a borrowed-from-the-boys pick, the famous family opted for a traditional Spanish choice, Ines. A form of Agnes also spelled Inez, it was quite stylish in the US circa 1910. No word on why they made the choice, but Ines feels like one to watch.

Lula

Liv Tyler knows what it means to grow up with a trendsetting name, and now her children will, too. She welcomed firstborn Milo back in 2004. Now she and David Gardner are parents to son Sailor Gene, born in 2015, and July 2016 arrival Lula Rose. Vintage Lula fits in with Lucy and Louisa, an early 20th century favorite all but forgotten until now.

Major

Like Natalie and Benjamin, Eva Amurri and husband Kyle Martino stuck with their favorite initial for their children. Daughter Marlowe arrived in August 2014. The family added son Major in October 2016. Eva has talked about sticking with her instincts and choosing unusual names that feel right for her family. Major makes for a big name, but like many bold word names, it feels very current. 

Onyx

Alanis Morissette went with the short and meaningful Ever Imre for her son back in 2010. Now she and Mario Treadway have added a daughter to their family with an equally brief and bold name: Onyx Solace. The double word name fits nicely with big brother Ever. While gemstone names like Ruby and Pearl are familiar for girls, Onyx tends to lean masculine – at least for now.

Phoenix

Vanessa Lachey and husband Nick have traveled the U.S. with their children’s names. Eldest son is Camden, followed by daughter Brooklyn. In December 2016, they added son Phoenix. While it sounds like the couple is borrowing from the map, that’s not quite the case ― though Camden was inspired by an LA street and Brooklyn by New York. This last time, Vanessa just plain liked the fast-rising and meaning-rich name.

Sally

Audra McDonald’s firstborn was already a teenager when she welcomed her second. The Tony-winning actress named her elder daughter Zoe Madeline, a choice that proved very stylish in recent years. Last October, she and husband Will Swenson added daughter Sally James to the mix. We know that James is a white hot middle name pick for girls. Is Sally the next Sadie?

Zen

Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego added a third son to their family earlier this year. Zen joined brothers Cy Aridio and Bowie Ezio, twins born in 2014. Zoe and Marco have opted for modern names with roots, unexpected and seldom heard but still very wearable. All three choices could prove influential in the coming years. What we’d love to know: Zen’s middle name!

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