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28th Apr 2023

Backstreet Boys’ AJ says it was daughter’s choice to change name to Elliott

Steve Hopkins

‘Elliott’s name change is not a gender thing’

AJ McLean has said he supports his 9-year-old daughter’s decision to change her name and backs her “a million per cent”.

The Backstreet Boys singer’s eldest daughter changed her name from Ava to Elliott in August 2022.

The 44-year-old, who has recently appeared on reality TV shows Dancing with the Stars and RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race, spoke to People about the decision after his estranged wife, Rochelle McLean, broke the news on Instagram.

In the picture, Elliott and her younger sister, Lyric, 6, can be seen holding balloons that read, “Elliott’s First Day of 4th Grade!” And “Lyric’s first day at kindergarten”.

Rochelle later explained that her daughter had chosen to go by Elliott rather than her given name but made clear it wasn’t “a gender thing”.

Rochelle wrote: “She wanted something unique that no one else had (There are so many Ava’s),” the 41-year-old wrote, adding: “I didn’t really see the harm in respecting her desire to be unique.”

Speaking to People, AJ recalled: “When my daughter asked to change her name to Elliott, initially, I didn’t know if it was a transgender thing, which it is not, but it is a personal choice.

“And it’s her body, it’s her name, it’s her everything. And she’s still Ava. She’ll always be Ava to me.”

AJ added that regardless of the motivation, Elliott will always have his support, “a million per cent”.

He went on to say that his daughter chose her new identity after watching kids’ movie, Pete’s Dragon.

“She just finished watching Pete’s Dragon, and she loved the name Elliot, but with two Ts,” he said.

“Now it just rolls off the tongue. Now she’s Elliott.”

The proud dad also spoke about Lyric and also respecting her wishes.

“Whatever journey both my girls have, I will be in their corner a million per cent, my wife will be in their corner and support them, whatever their path is and whatever their journey is. That’s just the family we are.”

In Match, AJ announced that he had Rochelle were calling time on their marriage after 11 years.

He told TMZ: “The plan is to come back together and continue to nurture our love for one another, and our family.”

The pair insist they are on good terms and talk “every day” — with AJ dubbing Rochelle his “superhero”.

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