George and Amal Clooney are officially the parents of twins Ella and Alexander. The actor and the human rights attorney likely sparked a flurry of Googling around their babies' names, which are simultaneously popular and classic. Given the couple's reputation, it's not surprising they went the classy route with their little ones' names. Here's the background of their monikers.
Ella was the 17th most popular name for baby girls born in America in 2016, according to the Social Security Administration. The name has shot up in popularity in recent years, especially around 2002 and 2003, and hit its height in 2012, when it was ranked number 12. Though now that a Clooney has the name, chances are the number may spike once more.
Alexander is also a very popular name, ranked 11 among baby boys in 2016. It has always stayed around the top 200 names since the 1900s, though became more popular right around the time Ella did. In 2009, though, it was number four on the Social Security list, so it could shoot back up to the top thanks to George and Amal's pick.
According to the website BabyCenter, Ella is an English name which is a shortened form of Eleanor and Ellen, which can be translated to "light" or "beautiful fairy woman." Nameberry adds that celebrities like Ben Stiller, John Travolta, and Alex Rodriguez have given their daughters the name as well.
Alexander is a Greek name that means "defender of men." It doesn't seem like George has ever played a character named Alex or Alexander, at least according to his IMDb page, which is actually remarkable given the number of roles he has played throughout his career.
Overall, the picks are classic and nothing too crazy on the celebrity baby-name scale. Compared to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's kids, Apple and Moses, they're practically boring. "Ella and Alexander are both fashionable classic names that have been around for centuries yet rank high on the popularity list right now," says Pamela Redmond Satran, the creator of the baby-name site Nameberry. "They're lovely names that are compatible without being too matchy for twins. Definitely no crazy celebrity baby names here. But I can't help wishing for something a wee bit more creative!"