Would Your Boyfriend Take Your Name If You Got Married?

Would Your Boyfriend Take Your Name If You Got Married?

Jennifer Aniston hasn't, Kim Murray has; where do you stand on the name-change debate, asks InStyle features writer Lucy Pavia?

Justin Theroux has joked in an interview that his new wife Jennifer Aniston is far too established to take his name. "I don't think it would be great if she did," he said on Wednesday, "I think 'Aniston' is going to stick with her if she likes it or not."

Theroux, who got married to Aniston in secret this summer, previously joked that Aniston had taken his full name: 

"I made her change both names," he deadpanned, "so she’s now Justin Theroux."

Unlike Jen, the majority of women do still take their husband's surname when they get hitched - just as Kim Murray did when she wed tennis star Andy earlier this year - though statistics show that this number appears to be declining, particularly across the pond. 

Zoe Saldana revealed earlier this year that her husband - artist Marco Perego - had taken her name when the pair got married. Zoe didn’t really think this was a big deal. A lot of other people did. ‘Did you make him do that?’ Jimmy Kimmel asked all too predictably on his chat show last week. ‘No! Oh my God!’ Saldana replied, ‘why does it mean that a woman has to hold a gun, like, ‘you’re gonna be Saldana!'

Saldana eventually took to her Facebook page to address the heat head on. ‘Why is it so surprising, shocking, eventful that a man would take his wife’s surname?’ Zoe wrote, ‘men, you will not cease to exist by taking your partner’s surname. On the contrary you will be remember as a man who stood by change.’

Zoe Saldana appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show 

Saldana’s husband didn’t actually take her name completely, as Kim Sears did for Andy Murray. What he did was to double-barrel his name to Marco Perego-Saldana, while Zoe became Zoe Saldana-Perego. Both parties did exactly the same thing, so why was Marco's name change such a shocker?

Here's why InStyle features writer Lucy Pavia (who got married this year) thinks the subject of name-changing is still a hot potato subject:

Here’s the thing about traditions, sometimes they’re brilliant: the coin you get in your Christmas pudding, Easter egg hunts, having a day off to watch the royal wedding on TV. All of the above are good traditions because they’re 1) harmless 2) fun and 3) totally OK to opt out of if you don’t really fancy them. 

My issue with name-changing is it can often eradicate the crucial ‘opt out if you like’ part of tradition. I got married recently and was surprised by the way some people flinched when I said I wasn’t going to change my name completely. Though I’m very happy for people to call me Mrs H I found the idea of going the whole way didn’t feel right. A good pal of mine felt the same and didn’t change hers.

But for some reason, because we both decided against doing it ourselves, people wrongly presumed we'd have an issue with others doing the opposite.

Dawn O'Porter, who merged her surname with husband Chris O'Dowd 

Actually no. My sister changed hers and I happen to love her new name (even though I need to sometimes be reminded that she’s no longer a Pavia) and I’m sure Saldana has plenty of friends who took their husband’s name and she didn’t go nuclear when the post popped up on Facebook. 80% of UK women still choose to take their husband's name like Kim Sears, because they like the tradition and want to embrace it.

Because surely our complex species - who put men on the moon and invented the skort - can handle a world where people do both? 

A week after I got back from my honeymoon I went round to a friend’s house for dinner. The subject of name changing cropped up and she turned to her boyfriend and asked him if he would have a problem with her not taking his name. ‘Of course I would!’ he replied, ‘it’s tradition.’

But tradition simply isn’t a big enough reason to keep something going if one party doesn’t feel right about it. Changing your name is a far greater decision than a chocolate egg at Easter or watching the royals waving from a balcony. Saldana is quite right to point that out.  

By Lucy Pavia / @lucypavia

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