Why AJ McLean's 9-Year-Old Daughter Changed Her Name to Elliot

The singer's wife took to Instagram to share that their eldest daughter no longer goes by "Ava," asking fans to "be kind."

AJ McLean's daughter is making her own way in the world, looking for a more "unique" name than the one she was given at birth. 

In an Instagram Story post on Wednesday, McLean's wife, Rochelle Karidis, addresses the couple's 9-year-old daughter and why she requested to have her name changed from "Ava" to "Elliot." 

"For those asking... not that it's anyone's business," she begins, "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.)" 

Rochelle continues, "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." 

Elliot's mama then issues a call-for-kindness on behalf of her daughter. 

"I knew once I put it out there people would have opinions, but be kind," she says. "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." 

Rochelle Karidis / Instagram

Earlier that day, both Rochelle and AJ shared a classic back-to-school snapshot of their daughters, including Lyric, 5, each holding pink balloons to commemorate the new school year. One reads, "Elliot's First Day of 4th Grade" and the other, "Lyric's First Day of Kindergarten." The sisters are all smiles in the shot. 

"After two and a half years of homeschool, these two beauties are back to school!" the caption reads. "Lyric is starting kindergarten and Elliot (Ava) is in fourth grade! I can't believe it! I'm so proud of these girls. As much as I'm going to miss them, I'm excited to watch them spread their wings and fly!" 


Back in January, the Backstreet Boy shared a sweet video of his eldest daughter dancing along with Derek Hough, showing she may have been bitten by the showbiz bug! "Best experience ever. You’re a true legend and rock star!!"  AJ captioned his video.

AJ was part of Dancing With the Stars season 29 and was partnered with Cheryl Burke. The pair, known as #TeamPrettyMessedUp, came in seventh place.