Angelina Jolie Makes a Very Public Name Change

angelina jolie pittLast week in all the excitement over Angelina Jolie's announcement about her cancer-preventing surgery one crucial detail went largely unnoticed: It appears she may be using her married name, Angelina Jolie Pitt, professionally.


Jolie Pitt was the byline used for her New York Times op-ed last week. And it's the name she used at last night's Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, where she won best villain for her role in Maleficent.

It's surprising because it's a rare choice in the entertainment world. Even when a celeb takes her husband's name legally, she'll usually keep using her given surname professionally. It's less confusing for everyone, I think. And you've worked incredibly hard to build a career under your own name. Why diminish that accomplishment?

(Plus, given the average length of a Hollywood marriage, odds are pretty likely you'll have reason to change your name back again in a few years.)

I used to feel very strongly about keeping your own name after marriage. In fact, it never even occurred to me to take my husband's name, professionally or legally, when I got married as a young and idealistic 25-year-old.  Why let your identity get swallowed up into someone else's?

More from The Stir: 5 Reasons NOT to Hyphenate Your Name After Marriage

But I get it now. Adding another name to your own is a way of saying you're part of a family. And that's definitely how we see Angelina Jolie Pitt -- her identity, public and private -- has become very much about her kids and her union with Brad Pitt. Even before they married, they demonstrated in many ways that they are a team, true partners.

And anyway, Jolie Pitt built a successful career under the name Jolie (a surname she took as an adult since she was born Voight). Nothing can diminish the accomplishments she accumulated before she became part of Team Jolie Pitt. Adding her husband's name, even professionally, is for her adding on, not taking away from her identity. It also says she's in this marriage, this family, for the long haul.

The kids all use the surname Jolie Pitt. The only thing missing at this point, really, is the news that Brad Pitt is now going by the name Brad Jolie Pitt. Now that would be surprising and exciting.

What do you think it means for Angelina Jolie Pitt to start using her married name professionally?


Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images


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