Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean says it was his 9-year-old daughter's choice to change her name to Elliott
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Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean has revealed that he supports his 9-year-old daughter’s decision to change her name and will always back her up ‘a million per cent’.
McLean, 44, is one of the founding members of the American vocal group Backstreet Boys, and has more recently enjoyed appearances on reality TV shows Dancing with the Stars and RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race.
McLean’s estranged wife, Rochelle McLean, 41, broke the news by posting a back-to-school photograph 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’.
Following questions from fans, Rochelle took to her Instagram Stories to explain her daughter’s decision to go by Elliott rather than her given name, Ava.
Rochelle wrote: “For those asking… Elliott’s name change is not a gender thing. She wanted something unique that no one else had (There are so many Ava’s).
"I didn’t really see the harm in respecting her desire to be unique.”
Following the reveal, McLean sat down with People to elaborate on his daughter’s decision to go by a different moniker
“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,” he said.
“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.”
He added that regardless of Elliott’s reasons, he will always support her ‘a million percent’.
Elsewhere, McLean said that his daughter discovered her new identity after watching the classic children’s 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.”
McLean also stated that his unwavering support also extends to his youngest daughter Lyric.
He told People: “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.”
Last month, McLean announced that he and his wife of 11 years, Rochelle, were temporarily calling it quits, with hopes of reconciling in the future.
He told TMZ: “The plan is to come back together and continue to nurture our love for one another, and our family. We ask for respect and privacy at this time.
“Separation is hard enough without the commentary, please be kind and remember there are children involved,” the statement concluded.
The pair insist they are on good terms and talk “every day” — with McLean dubbing Rochelle his ‘superhero’.