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The Maiden Name Debate
aka: Maiden Name Debate

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His new last name is Oven. Make of that what you will.


A soon-to-be-married woman has difficulties with the idea of changing her last name. Or perhaps, her soon-to-be husband has difficulties, or maybe his mother has problems (often because she doesn't like any daughter-in-law taking the same name she changed her own to). This trope usually starts with the woman in question writing out her maiden name along with her married name to try it out, or try saying it in front of a mirror for practice. Usually, the lady is an established career woman (or wants to be). Less often, there is the issue of the aesthetics of the name: should Rhea Mills have to be saddled with ridicule for the rest of her life for having married Robert Peer? (As a general rule, since you never know who she might marry, it would be wise to avoid naming your daughter "Anita".) Truth in Television, obviously, and a potentially contentious issue.


A traditional solution was for a married woman to take her maiden name as a middle name (e.g.: Laura Ingalls Wilder). It's still done today, as was the case with Robin Wright when she was married to Sean Penn (well... maybe that's not the most relevant case). Note that this is different from the more modern solution of a hyphenated name. Robin Wright Penn is not the same as Robin Wright-Penn, and this can cause quite a bit of annoyance as hyphenated names gain more prominence over time, while the "maiden name as middle name" falls out of favor.

Particularly applies if you're a media personality. This is partly due to working in an industry where your name is your brand, and partly due to the typical brevity of celebrity marriages.

Not a completely Universal Trope, as many cultures do not expect a woman to change her name (like Korea, Vietnam, China, Arab countries, and Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries), and some do not use surnames at all (like Iceland, Mongolia, many Indonesians, and the Tamil people of South and Southeast Asia). Asians in general tend to avert this, with women keeping their names after marriage being the norm. This came from the belief that while a woman is expected to value her husband, she is supposed to value her parents more, so discarding the surname inherited from her father is considered disrespectful. The only exception is Japan, which prescribes husband and wife to be listed on the same family register, and thus to have the same surname. While it's almost always the woman who changes her registration and surname, it's legally equivalent for the man to do so and is considered a decent compromise if the woman is from a particularly high-status family (especially if they have a large Family Business) and/or is the last of her name. This could similarly be required as part of marriage negotiations in England if the bride's family were nobility but had no sons to carry on their name. The husband changing his last name in this manner would however require either an Act of Parliament or a Royal Warrant to enact, and thus was only even an option among the most well-connected families.note  Invariably the would involve arranging a marriage with a younger son of another noble family, who would thus still have their eldest son to carry on their own family name and keep both family dynasties intact. Women did not change their name in France before the Code Napoleon, which is why they still don't in Quebec. In the former Soviet Union, the choice to change one's name is part of the (civil and very bureaucratic) ceremony, and the man changing his name is not unheard-of, though less common than the woman changing her name or there being no name change at all.


Note that keeping the maiden name is extremely common among female scientists and other academics, as their professional reputation is built upon their peers being able to track their body of work through published studies, most of which only show the last name and first initial of the contributor. Female authors, likewise, and especially their publishers, tend to prefer it if their readers aren't confused by their books appearing with two different names on the covers. Women who do change their legal names when they marry may also continue to use their maiden names socially or professionally, especially in fields like acting where stage names are common.

If a person with Only One Name marries a Two-Named person, regardless of gender, they will almost always take the Two-Named person's last name.

Whether a married woman reverts to her maiden name after marriage usually depends on how it ends. If she's widowed, she'll usually keep the married name unless and until she remarries. If not, she's likely to go back to her maiden name unless her married name is socially or professionally advantageous.

With same-sex marriage becoming legal in many parts of the world these days, the problem with applying this practice to a same-sex couple is obvious. Since there is no traditional protocol to follow, it's up to each couple to choose a solution that works for them. The most common solutions are for the spouses to simply keep their original names or to hyphenate. It's not unheard of for one partner to take the other's name, but it may lead to unwanted implications that the one who changes their name is the "passive" one in the relationship.

See also Meaningful Rename. Compare Nom de Mom, where the woman did change her name, and her offspring changed it back. Also see the Mrs. Hypothetical, who's gone through this debate well in advance.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Food Wars!:
    • Jouichiro Saiba took his wife's family name when he married, becoming Jouichiro Yukihira. The reasons have not yet been explored, but we know he loved his wife dearly, and there is enough of a whiff of scandal in his past that he may have seen it as a convenient way to change his name and drop off the radar.
      • As a corollary to the above, protagonist Soma Yukihira also inherited his mothers name, which (for good and ill) makes people not immediately realize who his father is.
    • Azami Nakamura became Azami Nakiri after marriage. In this case, his wife's family is extremely wealthy and powerful, and even if he wasn't the type who would want to brag about marrying a Nakiri (which he definitely is), the rest of the family would probably have had strong opinions about her changing her name and "leaving the family behind", so to speak.
  • Yui Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion kept her maiden name when she married, which is highly unusual in Japan (generally only done if the woman comes from a prominent family whose name holds power). Her husband, Gendo Rokubungi, became Gendo Ikari when he took Yui's last name, though the reasons why aren't explicitly made clear. If the ambiguously canon information that Yui is the daughter of a SEELE member is to be believed, it may have been to gain a foothold in the organization. Within the show itself, though, it seems Gendo did it because he really did love Yui, and wanted to prove that he was utterly devoted to her. Note that even Fuyutsuki found his name change odd. It's possible he just wanted to lose the 'Rokubungi.' There's some implication that Gendo had a dark past he wanted to get away from, or a bad relationship with his own family.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion changes this: in this continuity, Gendo's name was always Ikari, and Yui's maiden name was Ayanami.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Fate Testarossa became Fate Testarossa-Harlaown (or T. Harlaown) after being adopted by Lindy Harlaown out of respect for her biological mother. She is later integrated into the "Takamachi Family" but just keeps her previous hyphenated last name. Both because it would be too obvious and a tad wordynote . In the second Megami Sound Stage, she apologizes for how long "Testarossa-Harlaown" is, noting that "both Testarossa and Harlaown are (her) real last names".
    • In the original Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever continuity, Nanoha's father Shirou was originally a member of the Fuwa clan, but he changed his name to Takamachi when he married Momoko (presumably to throw his enemies off his track). It's ambiguous if this is the case in the Nanoha continuity.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: Itoshiki Rin looks forward to the day she can get married and change her Unfortunate Namenote . Sadly, the Itoshiki family is very high-ranking, so she has trouble finding an acceptably prominent suitor. In fact, her brother's friend who is in love with all things old tries to marry her in order to acquire an old name (that is, the right to sign letters "Itoshiki [First Name], Old name Ikkyu," though the age of the Itoshiki name does make it more attractive).
  • When Kaoru and Aoi finally get together in Ai Yori Aoshi, Aoi takes Kaoru's family name, but his mother's maiden name "Honjo" instead of "Hanabishi," as Kaoru has left the Hanabishi family (due to the abuse from his grandfather) and has taken to using that name.
  • In some Ronin Warriors side-materials, Shin Mouri (Cye of the Torrent) is troubled because his Ronin duties conflict with him becoming the heir of his family's traditional pottery business. To solve this, his older sister and her boyfriend agree on him marrying into the Mouri family and taking up the surname.
  • Kimagure Orange Road: Kyousuke and the twins's Kasuga surname is actually their mother Akemi's maiden name. Their dad Takashi married into the Kasuga clan since Akemi was the only daughter... which certainly explains why he's the only Kasuga without Psychic Powers.
  • If there's a rich Big, Screwed-Up Family in Case Closed, it's almost a sure thing that one of the daughters will be married to a man who has taken up the family name. Said man is very, very likely to become either a murder victim or a suspect.
  • Bleach: Rukia Kuchiki was tempted to fully change her name to Rukia Abarai after marrying her childhood friend Renji, but ultimately decided to keep her maiden name in the Gotei Soldier register. Rukia and Renji's daughter Ichika was named "Ichika Abarai" when she was born, probably because were she named after the Kuchikis, this could potentially mean the accidental creation of a branch of the clan and would bring up a HUGE mess.
    • Prior to this, Ichigo's father Isshin took the family name of his wife, Masaki Kurosaki. Given how obsessed he is with Masaki even a decade after her death (such as mounting a huge photo of her in the family's living room), it's seemingly just because he loved her so much. Eventually it's revealed that there's far more to it than this. Isshin is not only a former Captain of the Gotei 13, his family name was Shiba, one of the most powerful noble clans in Soul Society and an equal of the Kuchikis. Since he had deserted from the Gotei 13 to marry the human Masaki, keeping such famous last name would've been a potentially huge red flag had anybody come looking for him.
  • In Kotoura-san, Zenzou Kotoura is Haruka Kotoura's maternal grandfather. This implies her nameless father married into the Kotouras, likely a rural landed gentry household.
  • Naruto:
    • At the end of the manga, Sai becomes Sai Yamanaka considering he didn't have a last name and his wife Ino was the only daughter of her quite prominent family. note 
  • Shaman King: When Hao and Yoh's dad Mikihisa married their mom Keiko, the only daughter of the Asakura family, he took up her surname. Even more so, this is a case of Uptown Girl since he was a hobo-like street musician whereas her family was a very traditional shaman clan.
  • I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying:
    • When Nozomu married Rino he took on her last name due to her being the adopted heiress of a prominent family, but you wouldn't know this unless you read My Girlfriend Without Wasabi or you were really paying attention during the episode that adapted it.
    • Tanaka and her husband both kept their last names (which Hajime notes as being confusing). In her case, it's probably because she's a doctor.
  • Pokémon: This is implied to be the case for the husbands of Nurse Joys and Officer Junsars/Jennys, since the wives retain their family names after marriage, which also explains why every nurse is named Joy and why every officer is named Junsar/Jenny.
  • In Saki, Masae Atago, a professional mahjong player and coach for Senriyama All-Girls, is said to have kept her maiden name and passed it down to her daughters, as her character profile shows. By comparison, her younger sister opted to take her husband's name.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Konoka's father Eishun married into the very powerful Konoe clan and took up their surname. His original one is actually Aoyama, though his actual relation to Motoko Aoyama from Love Hina is unknown.
  • Gundam Build Fighters Try: Nils Nielson became Nils Yajima when he married Caroline Yajima. Likely due to the fact that the Yajima family is very powerful and influential.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Anthy's older brother Akio Himemiya took up the Ohtori surname after he and Kanae Ohtori became engaged.
  • Looks like this took place in The Garden of Sinners, as Shiki and Mikiya's daughter Mana has the Ryougi surname rather than the Kokutou one. Probably happened since the Ryougi family has quite the standing.
  • Sana from Kodocha kept her last name upon marrying Akito (as revealed in Deep Clear) due to being a famous actress, though their daughter has his last name.
  • Sailor Moon: While it never comes up, Ami Mizuno's mother Saeko must have had one in the past because even though she is divorced from Ami's father, she and Ami have the same last name. It's been suggested that her ex took her last name until they separated. Between their relationship and Japanese traditions of married names (assuming Saeko's family had no one else to carry on their name), it's not a stretch.

    Comic Books 
  • In Superman comics, Lois Lane is usually portrayed as having changed her name to Lois Lane-Kent legally while still writing under her maiden name. Daily Planet staff occasionally sarcastically call Clark "Mr. Lane".
    • Pre-Crisis, the Earth-Two Lois Lane changed her married name to "Lois Kent", but kept her maiden name for professional purposes like her post-Crisis counterpart. As a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, her name is a huge draw for readers of the Daily Planet, after all.
  • Similarly in Spider-Man, Mary Jane changes to "Watson-Parker", but continues to use "Watson" for her job since fashion models are another job where name recognition is essential. (At one point Peter gets depressed when they're separated and he tries to call her, only to hear a recording calling her by her maiden name.)
  • Supporting X-Men character Moira MacTaggert (formerly Moira Kinross) kept her late husband's name. Strange, considering the fact that he was horribly abusive and that Moira's son Proteus was implied to be the result of marital rape. Partially justified seeing as her husband refused to divorce her, leading to her running away and pretending she was widowed... but when he actually died, there was no reason to keep using the name.
    • However, academics and scientists have a tendency to retain the name under which they first published. Moira MacTaggert would also have achieved fame and peer recognition (e.g., her Nobel Prize) under the name MacTaggert, so she could not get entirely rid of it without causing confusion. At best, she could have called herself Kinross-MacTaggert.
  • Spoofed in one New Avengers issue where Luke Cage (a.k.a. "Power Man") tries to convince his wife to go by "Power Woman."

    Comic Strips 
  • In the comic strip Stone Soup, when the soon-to-be-hubby asked the soon-to-be-wife why she had any reservations about changing her name, she responded, "Why don't you change your name?" He began listing all the legal, financial and professional hassles that would entail for someone as established in life as he was (it was the second marriage for both), then stopped and said, "Oh, yeah."
  • Peanuts:
    • Sally decides to write to Mrs. Claus instead of Santa. At one point Charlie Brown mentions that he had heard she was called "Mary Christmas", and Sally congratulates her on deciding to keep her own name.
    • Linus's teacher, Miss Othmar, changes her name when she gets married. But she'll always be Miss Othmar to him...
  • In Safe Havens, Samantha keeps her name because her career was established as Samantha Argus. When asked if any future children would take her name or her husband's last name of Hamper, she and Dave refused to answer. When their daughter was born, Roger's blog revealed that Maria has Dave's last name, with Samantha's as a middle name. He emphatically stated there was no hyphen.
  • In Jump Start, Ruiz and Crunchy decide to get married after a whirlwind romance, and he is shocked when she wants him to take her last name. they end up deciding to both keep their last names.

    Fan Works 
  • A Little Angel on My Shoulder: In The Sohryus segments, when Asuka and Shinji got married he changed his surname to Sohryu. Asuka mentions it here.
  • The Ikaris: After Shinji and Asuka got accidentally married Asuka tells him there is no way that she is taking Shinji's name... but she already changed her name legally when they got married. So people calls her Asuka Ikari, and in NERV they had changed her name everywhere to Asuka Langley Ikari.
    • The lawyer handling their case jokes about it by mixing his and her surname.
    • In one scene, Asuka got confused due to Rei calling "Ikari" but ignoring Shinji when he answered. Then she realized that Rei was addressing to HER. And then she got angry.
  • In the Red Jewel Diaries chapter "For Better or Worse" of MGLN Crisis, Fate wonders where "Scrya" and "Takamachi" would fit into her already long name when she marries Nanoha and Yuuno.
    Fate: If I took both your names, would that make me Fate Testarossa Harlaown Scrya Takamachi? Or perhaps Fate Testarossa Harlaown Takamachi Scrya? Fate Scrya Takamachi? Fate Takamachi Scrya? Hmm, I need to think about this...
  • For the same reason, this trope also comes up for Fate in Relationships Series.
  • Infinity has a different example. Since the story starts off only a week or two after Fate was adopted, she hasn't fully decided what her last name will be. The story just goes with "Fate Who-Had-A-Last-Name-Even-If-She-Wasn't-Sure-What-It-Was".
  • This is constantly a question for writers of The X-Files fanfiction that feature Mulder and Scully as a married couple. While a large question is whether or not Scully would change her name, the larger question is: since they're on a Last-Name Basis and they got married, would he still call her Scully?
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry and Hermione have one of these... then realize they're having it. It's never really explored, but there must have been an interesting one at some point for Harry to end up with the surname Potter-Evans-Verres.
  • Hermione in Harry Potter fic gets this a lot in general, as you'd expect. Even Emma Watson thinks she'd keep her name. If you accept Pottermore as canon, she does.
  • In Altering Course, Elim Garak is willing to become Elim Bashir (as a result of Julian's status as Federation Ambassador to Cardassia giving his family name precedence due to higher status), but not terribly enthusiastic about it, and after actually discussing it they decide to just keep their original surnames.
  • Jiraiya in Son of the Sannin takes on Tsunade's surname Senju when they get married. When Naruto asks him about it, he reveals that he never had a last name to begin with, and even if he had he doubted Tsunade would change hers.
  • The Discworld of A.A. Pessimal sees Assassin Johanna Smith-Rhodes pointing out that just because she's getting married doesn't change anything, she is still going to be Doctor Smith-Rhodes to everyone around her. She scorns the compromise of Mrs. Johanna Smith-Rhodes-Stibbons as too unwieldy for everyday use, and anyway she doesn't see her husband becoming Professor Ponder Smith-Rhodes-Stibbons any time soon. Anyone calling her Mrs. Stibbons gets glared at. With the exception of Johanna's mother, who pointedly addresses all correspondence to Mrs. Stibbons. Johanna and Ponder's three daughters, in the fullness of time, all become Miss Smith-Rhodes-Stibbonsesnote 
  • Beyond the Outer Gate Lies... does this with Sona and Serafall's parents. Their mother is the original Sitri, and their father took the Sitri name. It was not an issue for him, since he was treated terribly by his family. Lady Sitri's second spouse (her wife) also took the Sitri name.
  • Demon's Path: At Mei and Zabuza's wedding, Naruto jokingly points out that Zabuza should take Mei's surname instead of her taking his, due to the fact that Mei is the Mizukage and Zabuza is not only one of her ninja but he technically didn't graduate so she has a higher social standing than he does.
  • SAPR: In chapter 124, "Re-Forged," Pyrrha reflects that when her and Jaune get married he's going to have to take her name because she's from an ancient royal house and he... isn't.
  • In Chapter 7 of The Grinning Goblins, it's stated that Artemisia Lufkin, the first woman to become Minister, kept her maiden name because she was already in office when she got married.
  • Green Tea Rescue; Hisashi Midoriya took on his wife's last name because, according to Izuku, his own had too much baggage attached to it. Given that he's an active member of the Meta Liberation Army, it was probably to hide from further scrutiny.
  • Implied in Fate/Sunny Order. While Shirou kept his last name, his children Ritsuka and Kana took their mother's name "Tohsaka" as it had more prestige and clout than "Emiya".
  • In Tales of Fairies chapter 499, Lucy reveals to Erza that the Heartfilia women always kept their last name while their husbands take theirs, hence why Lucy and Layla have a strong resemblance to their ancestor Anna Heartfilia, suspecting it was a way for Zeref to find them to help open the Eclipse Gate and bring the Dragons and dragon slayers to the present. She also says that while her father Jude was happy to take his wife's last name, he had trouble getting other eligible men to take his daughter's name, since they refuse out of pride. Natsu calls those men idiot and happily states that he would be proud to be "Mrs. Heartfilia", before Lucy states that since she wanted to escape all of her old family traditions and rather be Mrs. Dragneel instead... then realized she inadvertently confessed her feelings to him.
  • In ''The Many Quirks of Investigayion Teamery, it's revealed that Ryota Dojima, Yu Narukami's uncle, was born Ryota Narukami, having taken his wife's last name to escape from his family's lifestyle of cutthroat business and wealth. Yu's father also took his wife's last name, albeit because of how controlling she is.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Despicable Me franchise has Lucy Wilde, whom Word of God confirms kept her last name after marrying Felonious Gru.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • It's a Wonderful Life shows George getting a phone call (on his wedding day) from "Mrs. Bailey," and he mistakenly thinks that the caller is his mother. "I don't want to talk to Mrs. Bailey! I want to talk to my wife!" Apparently it takes him some time to get used to the idea, too.
    • Earlier, when Harry Bailey introduces his new wife Ruth Dakin to George and Uncle Billy, she corrects him: "Ruth Dakin Bailey, if you don't mind."
  • In Woman of the Year, career woman Tess Harding ruins her marriage to Sam Craig by neglecting her personal life in favor of her public life and then fails when she tries to make up for it by playing the traditional domestic wife. In the end, Sam suggests she doesn't have to pick one role or the other: she can be Tess Harding Craig.
  • Parodied in Meet the Parents, Pamela chooses to take Greg's surname and keep her middle name the same. This results in her new name being Pamela Martha Focker.
  • In The Wedding Singer, Julia Sullivan bursts into tears when she realizes that after she marries Glenn she'll be "Mrs. Julia Guglia".
  • Inverted in the film Whipped. The main character, a hen-pecked boyfriend, briefly considers changing his last name to his fiancée's. They split up before the marriage.
  • In the sequel to Father of the Bride (1991), Annie Banks ponders this question, and she and her husband discuss which surname their upcoming child should use at the same time that they're discussing first names. They even discuss the possibility of making up a third surname just for the child; father George dreads the possibility of having a granddaughter named "Chloe Zankman".
  • A different take of this happens in A History of Violence. Edie Stall has been happily married for years, until she discovers her husband is a former Professional Killer living under a false identity. She's furious that the name she now has is literally meaningless when her husband admits he chose the name Stall simply "because it was available".
  • In It's Pat!, Pat and Chris are asked at their engagement party if one of them will change their last name (in the hopes of finding out which one's male and which one's female, which they both considered not doing.
  • Variation in Die Hard. At the beginning of the movie, John McLane and his wife Holly are separated; she is living and working in Los Angeles under her maiden name Gennaro. At the movie's end they reconcile, she reverts to using his surname, and he moves to L.A. to be with her.
  • Independence Day: David Levinson mentions that his now ex-wife Constance Spano didn't take his last name during their marriage. While searching the phonebook for her current cellphone number he finds it under Constance Levinson, a hint that she still has feelings for him.

  • Inverted in Arrivals from the Dark series, where a commodore whose last name is Trevelyan-Krasnogortsev explains that an ancestor of his was a Tsarist Russian officer named Krasnogortsev who has escaped to France during the Romanovs And Revolutions period and married into the wealthy and respected Trevelyan family, choosing to hyphenate his name in order to be considered one of them. Several generations later, the commodore's descendants choose to drop the Overly Long Name (for bonus points, the commodore's names were Olaf Peter Carlos) and stick with the French surname.
  • In the Aunt Dimity series, Lori retains her maiden name (Shepherd) after she marries, and is often found correcting people who call her "Mrs. Willis". That said, she is characteristically upbeat about the matter, and will ask people to call her "Lori".
  • In the BattleTech Expanded Universe, women who come from prominent families or are prominent in their own right either keep their own surname (e.g Melissa Steiner, Asai Rhys) or hyphenate their names (e.g. Siriwen Mcallister-Kurita). The latter is more likely if their husband is also from a prominent family or prominent in his own right, though it is not universal as both Melissa and Asai married prominent men (Hanse Davion and Gerald Monroe respectively).
  • In the short story Bis zum Nullpunkt des Seins (1871) by Kurd Laßwitz, which is set in the year 2371, gender equality has resulted in a formalized system: Everybody has two (hyphenated) surnames, one inherited from the mother, the other from the father. When they marry, women drop the paternal name and men the maternal one and replace it with the surname of their spouse.
  • Chocoholic Mysteries:
    • Both Jeanette TenHuis (born Jeanette Vanderheide) and Sally McKinney (born Sally TenHuis) kept their husband's names when they were widowed and divorced, respectively. Jeanette later added her second husband's surname of Jones when she remarried.
    • It's never specified whether or not Lee herself had changed her name when she married and later divorced Richard Godfrey. However, when she marries a second time, she has it legally changed to Lee McKinney Woodyard.
    • Regina "Gina" Woodyard, a serial monogamist (her most recent husband as of Jewel Case, a man named Art Atkins, was probably number five) apparently used to change her name to match her husband's, until she got to the point where she stopped because she wasn't staying married to them long enough.
  • Discworld:
    • In Going Postal, Moist's initial impression of Saccharissa Cripslock (who was last seen in a sort-of-relationship with William de Worde) is "Wedding ring, but still 'Miss'. Probably has Views. Do not attempt to kiss hand."
    • In Lancre meanwhile, there's a sort of tradition of matrilinearity, at least amongst witches. So when Miss Gytha Ogg got married, she became Mrs. Gytha Ogg and her husband became Mr. Ogg (as did her subsequent husbands — well, the ones that were actually hers). Her married sons, however, are still Oggs, because none of her daughters-in-law are brave enough to explain to Nanny that they shouldn't be. (And the witches are not feminists. Their attitude to sexism is that it is fine to impose it on ordinary women, but that witches are, of course exempt from such rules.)
  • In Empire from the Ashes, Dahak wants Earth-born Battle Fleet personnel to follow the naming rules of the Imperium when they marry, creating names like "Tamman-Amcolgiv" and "Amandacollettegivens-Tam". None of the humans find this appealing and Colin puts his foot down about it.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: Dana Fenton kept her surname when she married her husband. Justified, because her family's name is on "Fenton's Family Festival", the carnival they run.
  • In Fifty Shades Freed, Ana, after marrying Christian, insists that she wants to keep using her maiden name at work. Christian... doesn't take it well.
  • Harry Potter:
    • It's never said if Nymphadora Tonks changes her last name after marrying Remus Lupin, but the other characters continue to call her "Tonks" (except for Lupin, who calls her "Dora"). Their son, meanwhile, is Edward Remus Lupin.
    • The Grey Lady's revelation as Helena Ravenclaw implies that Rowena adopted her surname after marriage and named her House after it. Considering that Rowena was a great witch, however, it's more likely that she kept her surname after marriage and Helena inherited hers from Rowena.
    • According to Pottermore, Professor McGonagall was actually married for a short period in the 1980s, but kept her last name as "she had always been a bit of a feminist."
    • Also on Pottermore, post-series Ginny writes Quidditch articles using Harry's last name. In Rita Skeeter's gossip column, however, all of the other women (Hermione, Luna, Angelina) are referred to by their maiden names.
    • Pottermore reveals that Professor Trelawney's marriage ended "when she refused to adopt the surname 'Higglebottom.'" Aside from the silliness, she's also very proud of her descent from a famous Seer with the "Trelawney" name.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Apparently "bride changes name" is common in Valdemar. In the Collegium Chronicles, Lena points out that now that she's married to Bear, when she gets Scarlets she'll be "Bard Tyrall" instead of "Bard Marchand" (her maiden name). note 
  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians: Cruella is the last de Vil and she brings it up as the reason she didn't take up her husband's surname.
  • Lieutenant Eve Dallas in the In Death series keeps her maiden name after marriage to the multi-billionaire Roarke, a decision which is never really discussed but seems to be illustrative of the fact that she married Roarke in spite of, rather than because of, his wealth and has no intention of assimilating any of his high-class lifestyle. It doesn't keep the clueless from calling her "Lt. Roarke" (or worse, "Mrs. Roarke") and being quickly shut down. Roarke himself has Only One Name, but does not adopt "Dallas" as a surname after marrying Eve.
  • Discussed Trope in Jorōgumo no Kotowari, where Straw Feminist Mrs. Sugiura expresses a desire to divorce her husband and return to her maiden name (and acted militantly antagonistic of males in general). Reijiro Enokizu laughingly points out the obvious—her maiden name came from her father, so if she really were that dedicated to having a name that only belongs to herself she should just come up with a completely new one.
  • Comes up in the Lord Peter Wimsey book Thrones, Dominations when Lord Peter's new wife, Harriet Vane (properly addressed as "Lady Peter" in the previous book, Busman's Honeymoon), informs her publisher that "You'd better just keep on calling me Miss Vane, it's so much easier" to the great consternation of Peter's aristocratic family. Lord Peter himself remarks that, when consulted, he agreed to the idea with alacrity, as "It gives one the illusion of having both a wife and a mistress, which is obviously gratifying."
  • A Love for All Time by Bertrice Small begins in Elizabethan England. Queen Elizabeth commands one of her courtiers, Conn O'Malley, who is a troublesome Irishman, to marry Aidan St. Michael, who is a titled Englishwoman, and to take her name along with the title that went with it. He agreed, mainly because of the title. One of the queen's advisors pointed out that this would effectively make Conn an Englishman.
  • In E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels, the recurring character Olga Braceley has kept her maiden name. Upon first meeting Olga's husband, Lucia commits a faux pas by mistakenly addressing him as Mr Braceley (his actual surname is Shuttleworth). The general thrust of the incident is that Olga to a large extent represents a more glamorous and more bohemian world to which Lucia aspires, but about which she is so naive that it would never even occur to her that a wife might not take her husband's name.
  • The Bruce Coville book Monster of the Year has Michael McGraw, whose mother (Elsa Adams) changed her name to her husband's when she got married, changed back after they divorced, and said she'd stay with her maiden name for the rest of her life. Michael, on the other hand, had his name changed to match his stepfather's. As he puts it, "This confuses outsiders, since they can't figure out who I really belong to, but it suits the three of us just fine."
  • Sebastian Barth (a series by James Howe): Sebastian's mother Katie Hallem kept her maiden name when she married Will Barth.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles:
    • Jocelyn changed her surname from Morgenstern, her husband's surname, to Fray after she escaped the failed Uprising that claimed the lives of her parents. Fray isn't actually her maiden name (which is Fairchild), but a made-up portmanteau of Fairchild and "Gray", Tessa's surname. Since Shadowhunter society is rather patriarchal, her daughter, Clary, is still legally known as "Clarissa Morgenstern", even though she prefers to be called Fairchild.
    • After she becomes Consul, Charlotte reverts back to her maiden name, Fairchild, with both of her children inheriting it instead of their father's, Branwell. This is important, because Charlotte is ancestor to Jocelyn and Clary; had she kept her married name, Clary could have easily been Clary Branwell.
    • Tessa Gray changes her surname to Herondale after she marries Will, but reverts it back to Gray after his death. Not to disrespect Will, but because she consciously exiles herself from Shadowhunter society in favor of a warlock one.
  • In The Sharing Knife, farmers have the wife take the husband's name and Lakewalkers have the husband take the wife's name. This causes a minor issue for interracial couple Dag Redwing and Fawn Bluefield. While they briefly consider splicing their surnames (Redfield, Bluewing) or merging them (Purple-something), Dag eventually takes Fawn's surname.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Queen Cersei keeps her maiden name Lannister despite marrying King Robert Baratheon, and gives her children a double-barreled last name of "Baratheon and Lannister." Westeros tradition established by the Targaryens prevents the consort of the King (or any Targaryen prince, for that matter) from taking his name, in part because the Targaryens were very weird about blood purity and didn't want "outsiders" being brought into the Targaryen line. For every other position, such as Lord of one of the Seven Kingdoms, the wife takes her husband's name.
    • Exceptions are made for women who either hold or are the heir to a title. In that case, both husband and wife keep their names and their children take their mother's name to ensure its continuation. If both spouses are heirs or title-holders, they split the inheritance between their children, where the heir to the man's title keeps his/her dad's name, and the heir to the woman's title takes his/her mother's name.
      • Even those who inherit a different family's title through a female ancestor are expected to take that family's name for themselves. For instance, the current heir to the Vale, Harrold Hardying, is the grandson of the sister of Jon Arryn, and he is expected to change his name to Harrold Arryn when he inherits.
    • Going back to the setting's history, when one Lannister king died without male heirs, his son-in-law changed his name from Joffrey Lydden to Joffrey Lannister as a condition of being given the throne.
  • Susan Silverman of the Spenser novels uses her ex-husband's surname. Brad Silverman, however, changed his name after the divorce to the less Jewish-sounding "Sterling".
  • Inverted in Star Carrier books, where a woman taking her husband's last name is considered an archaic holdover from a primitive past, like the "perverted" concept of monogamy. Lieutenant Shea Ashton (née Ryan) constantly has to correct people to call her by her new name.
  • This is the twist ending of the classic Soviet SF novel Star KETs by Aleksandr Belyaev. A mysterious stranger asks the protagonist about his girlfriend. He says he knows her former co-worker Paley, who disappeared with important research data. But he has no time to explain, gives his forwarding address and leaves. The protagonists chase the stranger all over USSR and end up spending eight months working on the eponymous space station waiting for his return from an expedition to the asteroid belt. Nobody they ask knows of Paley. In the end the stranger turns out to be Paley, who took his wife's name. The idea was still novel for mid-1930s. And the data was waiting for them in Leningrad right from the start.
  • Possibly implied in the To Ride Pegasus trilogy: during the Time Skip between the first two books, Dorotea Horvath goes from a small child to a venerable grandmother without changing her surname. A grandson who appears as a character also has the Horvath surname.
  • Tortall Universe: Beka Cooper not only keeps her own name, but her husband decides to take on her last name, citing that his mage name of Farmer Cape is nothing special. When asked what his birth name was, he reveals that it was Pincas Huckleburr.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Nik Keralis and his wife Lina Mayeux decided to keep both family names, but not hyphenate them resulting in Lina's name looking like a middle name, their children are named Jason Mayeux Keralis and Alia Mayeux Keralis.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andi Mack has an episode where Bowie at first assumes the family will be taking his last name, Quinn, when he and Bex get married, but Bex and Andi are unsure about changing their name. They discuss options such as keeping separate names or combining names, and ultimately Bowie decides to change his name to Mack instead.
  • Arrow:
    • Lyla becomes Lyla Michaels-Diggle after she remarries John Diggle.
    • After she marries Oliver, Felicity doesn't seem to change her surname from Smoak to Queen. When they have a daughter, she ends up inheriting her surname as a way to protect her from Oliver's enemies. After the Crisis, however, Mia becomes "Mia Queen", though it's unknown if Felicity also changes her surname.
  • Andre Johnson on black•ish is shocked that his wife Rainbow did not take his last name. He never noticed in twenty years of marriage because her maiden name is also Johnson, so the argument only matters in theory, but Dre is still furious that she goes by "Rainbow Johnson" and not "Rainbow Johnson".
  • On Charmed (1998), the Halliwell women seem to have kept their name for several generations and passed it onto their children. When Leo seems mildly bummed that his and Piper's child wouldn't have his surname, Wyatt, Piper decides to name him Wyatt Halliwell.
    • Note that this is actually a Retcon—in one early episode their father's name is Victor Halliwell, implying that their mom took his name, but later it's Victor Bennett, with "Halliwell" explicitly belonging to their maternal line. A flashback shows that the girls' grandmother forbade their mother from taking their father's name. Later flashbacks imply (but never outright state) that the name came from Grams's first husband and true love, whose death caused her to become the warlock-hunting superwitch she was known as. Leo points out that the name Halliwell is highly respected in the magical community.
  • Given a nod in The Closer, when one of the first things Brenda says when Fritz proposes to her is that she's keeping her maiden name, which he immediately agrees to.
  • On Cougar Town, Grayson asks Jules why she hasn't taken his name, especially since she is still using her ex-husband's name.
  • The Crown (2016): After Elizabeth becomes Queen she and Prince Philip assume their children will have his surname of "Mountbatten". Philip's adopted uncle leads a toast at a party that the "House of Mountbatten" will now take the throne. Word of this gets back to the Queen Mother and Parliament who insist that the children will not take the name and that the house of "Windsor" will continue to hold the throne. Philip is outraged and complains about being the "only man" in Britain who can't give his children his name. In Real Life a compromise was made after the Queen Mother's death to let their male-line descendants use "Windsor-Mountbatten".
  • Sara Sidle in CSI has not changed her surname despite marrying Gil Grissom.
  • Lindsay from CSI: NY switched her name from Monroe to Messer on marrying Danny.
    • Jo Danville, on the other hand, had stuck with her maiden name while she was married to Russ. Otherwise, she bemoaned, her name would've been "Jo Josephson."
  • A Different World: Whitley and Dwayne argue about this because Whitley wanted her name to be Whitley Gilbert-Wayne as opposed to just Whitley Wayne.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The End of Time": Although not seen on screen, when Martha and Mickey tie the knot, the former becomes Martha Smith-Jones. And when Donna gets engaged to Shaun Temple, the Doctor gets worried because "Donna Noble-Temple" would sound stupid. Wilfred assures him she's going for "Temple-Noble" instead.
    • When Rory Williams and Amy Pond get married:
      The Doctor: Amelia, from now on I shall be leaving the kissing duties to the brand new Mr. Pond.
      Rory: No, I'm not Mr. Pond. that's not how it works.
      The Doctor: Yes. It is.
      Rory: ...yeah it is.
      • And then, after the birth of their daughter:
        The Doctor: Hello. Hello... ehh... baby.
        Amy: Melody.
        The Doctor: Melody! Hello Melody Pond.
        Rory: Melody Williams...
        Amy: a geography teacher. Melody Pond is a superhero!
      • According to the Doctor, this even goes up a generation for Rory:
        The Doctor: Brian Pond, you are delicious.
        Brian Williams: I'm not a Pond.
        The Doctor: Of course you are.
      • While it is never revealed how (if at all) their legal names change, they call each other "Mrs. Williams" and "Mr. Pond" as terms of endearment, shown respectively in "A Good Man Goes to War" and "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe".
      • Amy goes by "Amy Williams" when signing divorce papers (don't worry, they get better) and ends up using "Amelia Williams" on her gravestone. She also used Amelia Williams as a pen name when she wrote Summer Falls.
  • Downton Abbey has a lot of this, considering the setting. It mostly comes from a combination of strict protocols regarding how servants are addressed and the characters’ habit of marrying their coworkers:
    • Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore are entitled to use “Mrs.” in combination with their maiden names by virtue of their positions as housekeeper and cook, respectable positions that a woman would historically have to forgo marriage to achieve.
    • Anna would normally be called “Bates” upon her promotion from head housemaid to lady’s maid, but keeps going by “Anna” because her husband is a valet, the male equivalent, and therefore already “Bates.”
    • There’s a lot of joking and a bit of dread both upstairs and downstairs at the prospect of Mrs. Hughes becoming “Mrs. Carson,” to the point that Robert proposes a toast when he learns that she plans to keep using her maiden name professionally.
    • Finally, Lady Mary Crawley takes her husband Matthew Crawley’s last name, but because they’re (distant) Kissing Cousins nobody really notices.
  • Michaela Quinn and Sully from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman faced this dilemma when they decided to get married. In the end, they agreed that she didn't have to change her last name.
  • As seen on the future newspaper in The Flash, Iris West apparently hyphenates to Iris West-Allen. This eventually comes true in season 4, when she marries Barry. Their Kid from the Future, introduced the same season, is called Nora West-Allen.
  • Friends:
    • Monica doesn't change her last name when she gets married, feeling that Bing was a weird name. At first Chandler agrees and suggests that they "name the kids Geller and let Bing die with me", but in the end they stick with Bing. At one point, Phoebe refers to her as "Monica Geller Hyphen Bing".
    • After Phoebe gets married, she has a similar dilemma. After marrying Mike (Paul Rudd), Phoebe does change her name - but instead of changing her last name to her husband's, she instead has her full name legally changed to Princess Consuela Bananahammock (not realizing that "Bananahammock" is actually a pseudonym for the skintight appearance a Speedo gives to a man's, er... private area, until Mike tells her later on in the episode); in retaliation, Mike chooses to change his name to, of all things... Crap Bag ("just think of a bag of crap"). Luckily, both change their names back by the end of the episode.
    • When Courteney Cox married David Arquette and became Courteney Cox Arquette, the first episode after that happened all the other actors took the second surname Arquette for the opening credits: Jennifer Aniston Arquette, David Schwimmer Arquette, etc.
  • Pretty much all of the married women on Grey's Anatomy keep their maiden names, for obvious professional reasons. At one point April addresses Meredith as "Mrs. Shepherd" and Meredith quickly corrects her that she's Dr. Grey. The one exception is Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd, although she reverts to Dr. Montgomery after she and Derek get divorced.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Lily keeps her last name after marrying Marshall, though they do consider both adopting a brand new last name (with candidates including "Skywalker", "Hasselhoff", and "Awesome").
    "Have you met the Awesomes, Marshall and Lily, their son Totally, and their daughter Frickin'?"
    • Humourously subverted with Ted and Barney, when arguing about hypothetically marrying Robin (who is currently not in a relationship with either of them) each try to bring up whose respective surname would be most compatible with Robin's given name. After several back and forths with "Robin Stinson" and "Robin Mosby," Ted finally goes with "Ted Scherbatsky! I'll take her name, I don't care!"
  • JAG: Following her marriage with Bud Roberts, Harriet continues to be referred to by her maiden name, Sims. It’s likely done for convenience (because there would otherwise be two lieutenants Roberts in the same workplace) and it’s unknown if she changed her legal name.
  • Eames from Law & Order: Criminal Intent kept her maiden name when she married her husband Joe. She uses this to her advantage when Joe's murder case eventually has to be reopened, pointing out to Captain Ross that no one will immediately connect her to Joe and convincing Ross to reluctantly allow her to remain on the case.
  • On Lois & Clark, Perry gives Lois a new nameplate for her desk that says "Lois Kent". She is later seen sliding her previous plate and new one together to see how she likes "Lois Lane Kent". In the end she's still not sure.
    • Earlier, there was also a Tear Jerker scene just before Lois was to be married to Lex Luthor, where she stands in front of a mirror in her wedding dress, trying out names: "Lois Luthor. Lois Lane Luthor. Lois Luthor Lane... Lois Lane... Kent..."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Since the very first episode, Fitz and Simmons have been The Dividual referred to as the singular entity "Fitzsimmons", long before they actually become a romantic couple. After they get married, Simmons suggests hyphenating their last names. Fitz jokes that he's against the idea because "Simmons-Fitz" doesn't roll off the tongue very well.
    • Luke Cage (2016): A running gag comes in season 2 out of Bushmaster correcting everyone who refers to Mariah Dillard by her married name with a very firm "Stokes, Mariah Stokes". In this case, it's to highlight how in Bushmaster's mind, Mariah may take on the surname of her late husband Dr. Jackson Dillard, but she's still as much a Stokes as her late cousin Cornell or her grandmother Mama Mabel. Eventually, when she carries out the Rum Punch Massacre, Mariah does this sort of correction herself on someone.
  • In The Middle, when Sue is contemplating marrying Darren, one consequence that Axl brings up is that her full name would be Sue Sue McGrew.
    • Ironically, her full name in the end ends up being Sue Sue Donahue.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • Discussed in "The Potion Notion" when Kimberly (who is under a love spell) can't decide whether to change her surname or hyphenate it to Hart-Skullovitch.
    • While not outright stated, one can assume this is probably how Jason ended up with two surnames. Although it's not hyphenated.
  • Inverted in Mork & Mindy: Mork takes Mindy's last name (McConnell). This is because Mork has no last name.
  • On Murphy Brown, Corky Sherwood marries Will Forrest. She chooses to keep her maiden name as a middle name, until she realizes that she will then be Corky Sherwood Forrest.note 
  • A variant from My Family, with the parents going into a therapy session:
    Susan: I'd like to be known as Susan Ryman.
    Ben: Your maiden name was Riggs!
    Susan: Maiden name? (To shrink) Harper is my husband's name, Riggs was my father's name, but Ryman was my grandmother's name. She chose it herself, no men involved.
    Ben: She was reared by wolves.
  • On My Hero when George and Janet finally married:
    George: Arnie says you can have my name now. How'd you like to be "George"?
  • On The Office (US), Pam almost marries Roy Anderson and indicates that she would have begrudgingly taken his name if they had gone through with it.
    Pam: That's as close as I ever want to get to being Pamela Anderson.
    • On the flipside, she's more than excited to change it when marrying Jim. Squeeing Ensues when Kevin hands her a check made out to "Mrs. Pam Halpert".
  • On Parks and Recreation, Leslie's jealousy spirals when she finds Ben flirting with Shauna Malwae-Tweep in End of The World.
    Leslie: I know how Shauna operates. She smiles, and then they fall in love and then they get married, and then she changes her name to Shauna Malwae-Wyatt. Or he's going to be really progressive and changes his name to Ben Wyatt-Malwae-Tweep. God, I am so annoyed that he would hypothetically do that.
    • Also, in "Leslie and Ben," Ben insists that Leslie take his last name so that "Leslie Knope disappears and becomes Leslie Wyatt. Or Councilwoman Mrs. Ben Wyatt." Leslie's face freezes in horror before she realizes Ben is just messing with her.
    • In a joke on this trope, Ron Swanson's ex-wife Tammy, who even after their pre-show divorce was still using the name Swanson, is at her bridal shower following her sudden remarriage to Ron and one of her librarian coworkers gives her a new library card bearing the name "Tammy Swanson-Swanson." (The remarriage doesn't last.)
  • In Saved by the Bell, the core six do a pretend-marriage project in which the following pairs occur: Zack-Kelly, Jessie-Slater and Screech-Lisa. Jessie insists on hyphenating her new last name for feminist reasons and Kelly takes the old-fashioned approach and Zach's name. Screech? Takes Lisa's last name.
  • Turk and Carla in Scrubs faced this problem. Turk's classic response to Carla wanting to keep her name: "Okay baby, I guess we'll be one of those New Age couples that don't love each other!" They eventually compromise: Carla keeps her name, and Turk keeps his mole.
    • She does use it for "official" things. Including letting him call her "Mrs. Turk" in the bedroom.
    • Off-camera, J.D. and Elliot apparently also went through this. She still goes by "Dr. Reid".
  • On the Israeli sitcom Shemesh, the eponymous character finds out Eti, his employee-turned-wife, is credited by her maiden name on the telenovela she stars on, she explains to him that she got the job before they got married and she can’t change it anymore for professional reasons. He’s irked by it, but accepts it anyway.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Voyager, B'Elanna and Tom debate about whether she'll be B'Elanna Paris or if he'll be Tom Torres. Neither one undergoes a name change.
    • In Nemesis, Captain Picard jokingly calls the newlywed Riker "Mr. Troi."
      • This is likely a reference to an earlier episode where it was implied that Betazoid women own their men, even though that would imply slavery, which is illegal in the Federation. But regardless, Betazad is very much a matriarchal society, and the Troi family is the "Fifth House of Betazed", one of the most prestigious noble families and the protectors of the planet's greatest historical treasures.
    • In the Next Generation novel Greater Than The Sum, Jean-Luc Picard greeted his newlywed wife Dr. Beverly Crusher with "Good morning, Dr. Picard." She answered back, "Good morning, Captain Crusher. Or is that Howard?" note  Picard simply replied, "I'd be proud either way."
    • In the possible future shown in the TNG Grand Finale, Picard and Crusher are divorced, but Crusher has chosen to keep Picard's name instead of going back to Crusher or Howard, which results in an awkward moment when a bridge crewman calls out for "Captain Picard", meaning Beverly.
    • The episode "Sub Rosa" has a particularly bizarre case, with its references to Beverly's ancestors as "the Howard women", implying that she was the first of the line in several centuries to not keep her maiden name, despite the practice going back to a time where this would be completely unheard of.
  • In That '70s Show, when Eric and Donna get engaged, he says that "some day, you're going to be Mrs. Forman". Donna doesn't like it, and squicks Eric out, reminding him that Mrs. Forman is his mother. "Mrs. Forman is feeling dirty..."
  • Gwen Cooper kept her name when marrying Rhys Williams in Torchwood, at the request of Gwen's actress Eve Myles.
  • On Wings, Fay goes by the last name Cochran, the name of her third husband. When the others find out that her name was previously Dumbley, after her first husband, the others express surprise. (Brian: "You married a man named Dumbley and took his name?") Of course, her maiden name was Schlob, so she wasn't exactly trading down.
    • Her second husband's name was DeVay, leading to the pun "Old soldiers never die, they just Fay DeVay."
    • She kept them all; her legal name in the series is Fay Evelyn Schlob Dumbly DeVay Cochran.
  • The X-Files: While working on a case in Florida ("Agua Mala"), Mulder suffers the wrath of a Hispanic woman after calling her by her husband's surname.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Mike Bennett began competing in the WWE in 2017 (with his real-life wife, the returning Maria Kanellis), taking Maria's real-life last name as part of a gimmick of a young couple in lust with each other.

  • Variation in Bandstand. Donny thinks that Julia Trojan should use her maiden name in the show, as he says that Trojan is a joke and Julia Adams sounds like a star. Julia refuses because it's the only tie she has to her late husband.

    Video Games 
  • In Escape from Monkey Island, Elaine is far better known than her new husband Guybrush, so everyone keeps calling him "Mr. Marley". Officially they're both "Threepwood" now. Guybrush occasionally introduces himself as Marley-Threepwood.
  • In The Sims 2, the couple takes the name of whomever initiates the marriage action. A lot of player challenges place restrictions on this (legacy heirs must keep the legacy family name and such) and there are mods to choose the name or to enforce a "traditional" marriage. So, quite a few male Sims end up taking their wives' last names.
    • The Capp and Summerdream families of Veronaville seem to follow a matrilineal tradition, as multiple generations show husbands taking their wives' surnames upon their marriage.
    • The Tricou family of Downtown might follow the same tradition, as Kiernan and Kvornan took their wives' surnames upon marrying into the family, but we only see a few generations, so it's not known for sure.
    • Jason Greenman (né O'Mackey) from the Seasons expansion pack took his wife Rose's surname. This was apparently out of love for her and possibly a desire to become closer to her PlantSim heritage.
    • In the third game, the two adopt the surname of the house. Sims can also go to City Hall and pay for a name change. Like the second game, there are mods allowing you to choose a name on marriage or enforce certain expectations for name change.
      • Geoffrey Landgraab of Sunset Valley took his wife Nancy's surname upon marriage because the Landgraabs are old-money aristocrats who helped build the town.
    • In the fourth game, both sims keep their surnames and it's up to the player to decide if and how the names change.
    • The Sims Medieval has a unique case; if a hero marries an NPC, the NPC takes the surname of the hero, regardless of gender. If two heroes get married, whichever hero moves houses changes their surname, with the player deciding which house the couple lives in. The sole exception is if another hero marries the monarch, in which case they always move into the castle and take the royal surname. It's a bit of a moot point, of course, since we don't even see the surnames outside of Create-A-Sim.
  • A variant of this becomes a matter of international politics in Crusader Kings. While the persons marrying keep their dynasty (and thus their last name), what dynasty the children will belong to is critical. Normally children will belong to their father's dynasty, but there are special matrilineal marriages where the children are of the mother's dynasty.
  • In the backstory of Corpse Party, the Shinozaki family maintained its spiritual power by having the women in the family marry men willing to discard their family names for the sake of love. Unfortunately, the men who marry into the family have a tendency to die within a few years of their children (almost all female) being born.
  • According to the lead writer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the ancient hero Nerevar took his wife Ayem's House name, Indoril, upon marrying her. She was a high priestess belonging to one of the Great Houses, whereas he was formerly a caravan guard born to an irrelevant minor house. (Ayem later became the goddess Almalexia.)
  • In the backstory of Umineko: When They Cry, Eva Ushiromiya, having been passed over to be the family heir, proposed to her husband Hideoyoshi in the hopes of producing a child when her older brother and his wife had trouble conceiving. For Hideyoshi, who didn't have any remaining family of his own, it was an easy decision to take Eva's last name.
  • Persona 4
    • It's implied early on that Misuzu Hiiragi, wife of Taro Namatame, kept her maiden name after being married, possibly because of her career as an enka singer.
    • If the protagonist romanced Yukiko Amagi, on Valentine's Day, she'll tell him that if he marries her, he'll have to take on her family name, since the Amagis run a historical inn. Given that Yukiko's mother is the current manager, it's likely that Mr. Amagi also had to change his former last name.
  • The main couple in Phantasmagoria are Donald Gordon and Adrienne Delaney. Why is never addressed, but since Don is a photographer and Adrienne is a novelist, they likely kept their own names for business purposes.
  • In the Grim Tales series of mystery hidden object games, protagonist Anna Gray eventually marries a man named Dorian Black. However, as clarified in the installment The Generous Gift, he recognizes that Anna's name is synonymous with her detective work, and decides to take her last name instead of having her take his. And yes, this means that he becomes Dorian Gray.

  • Ki in General Protection Fault ponders the issue as her wedding to Nick nears, but decides to take Wellington as her surname after getting married, since it's easier to spell.
  • Kevin & Kell:
    • When Kevin married Kell, he changed his (and his adopted daughter's) last name to his wife's, mainly because he had been disowned by his family. Considering he's a rabbit and Kell's a wolf, the name change was the least of people's concerns.
    • Lindesfarne keeps the name Dewclaw after she marries Fenton, likely because she's already a published scientist. Nothing was really made of it besides an offhand comment from Fiona to the effect of 'huh, she's keeping her name'.
    • According to the FAQ, Kell convinced Rudy to change his surname from Foxglove (his father's last name) to Dewclaw after his father's death.
    • When Dip marries Caniche, he takes her last name of Chien, since, as a former wild animal, he never had a last name to give her. Or a first name, for that matter: Dip is short for diploma, which was his original occupation, being raised to be eaten by a college graduate (Rhonda, in Dip's case), with their diploma tattooed on him to be removed and tanned after being eaten.
  • John Penn from Leftover Soup was born John Cartwright, and changed it when he married Nicole.
  • The former Dr. Summer Winters M.D. from Moon Over June made a point to adopt her wife's name after they married because: A) she considered her old name silly in its own right, B) she was tired of being so close to the end of the alphabet, C) she finds her brothers aggravating enough to take any opportunity to distance herself from them, and D) having researched what Akagawa actually means ('Red River') she found it fitting. Hatsuki for her part decided to change her last name essentially on impulse after overhearing Summer answer the phone, leading later to considerable confusion when Doctors Akagawa (M.D.) and Winters (PhD) went before a judge to formally adopt each other's daughters.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Daigo hasn't taken his wife's last name (Kato), but they've used it for the name of their newly-established noble house. Daigo is saving his own last name for an emergency.
  • In Precocious, the Oven family's surname came from Sydney. Joseph changed his when they married.
    Joseph Oven: I mean, my last name was Brungster! I couldn't subject my kids to that with a clean conscience.
  • PvP had some back and forth over Jade changing her name. Lampshading on the issue’s resolution, they deliberately decided to ignore it until the last minute. She eventually becomes Jade Sienna.
  • Amy Chilton from Scary Go Round is Amy Beckwith-Chilton in the Spin-Off webcomic Bad Machinery, due to her marriage to Ryan Beckwith. (She is quite successful with her antiques shop she has set up back in SGR, so this may probably be for the bussiness-strategical reason of name recognition.)
  • In Shortpacked!, Leslie (Bean) wants to take Robin (DeSanto)'s last name, "like a trophy or a prize I mount on my wall." Robin, on the other hand, suggests a variety of combinations ("Robin an' Leslie DeSantobean!") or anagrams ("like Beans and Toe, or Satan Be Done"), to no avail.
  • In Something*Positive, Jason (Pratchett) decides to take Aubrey (Chorde)'s surname, mostly because of issues with his dad.
    • Davan and Vanessa are taken aback when there's a sign at their wedding reception saying "Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Macintire." The guy organising it tries tacking a sign saying "Ms. Cubbins" over the word "Mrs.", but in the end they tear it down and replace it with one saying "Bow before your lizard overlords, lesser meatlings".
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Various ways to deal with it have been seen across families:
    • The Västerström name has been mostly male-transmitted and taken by women married into the family, but Mia had to keep it for it to make it to the current generation.
    • Saku Hotakainen took his wife's name.
    • Averted with Ensi Hotakainen. The author confirmed that her twin sons were conceived on a one-night stand, with a guy whose last name is not even recorded on the family tree that was given to the readers.
    • Tuuli Hollola was technically married into the Hotakainen family, but her keeping her last name and transmitting it to her son is the reason Taru is not a Hotakainen.

    Web Video 
  • In the 4th episode of The Website Is Down, Nancy Johnson married a man with the same name and changed her name to Johnson-Johnson. Derek kept ignoring her requests to change her name in the system. A week later she forces him to do his job, and he accidentally resets all user passwords and has to spend a week setting them manually.
  • Similarly, Gayle Waters-Waters married a man with the same surname as her but insisted on hyphenating anyway.

    Western Animation 
  • Discussed more than once in The Simpsons
    • Marge's sister, Selma Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Stu-Simpson-D'Amico, probably should have considered this debate a bit more.note  She eventually used this as a reason not to marry Apu, saying adding "Nahasapeemapetilon" to it would just be too much. By the way, they never showed Selma married to Hutz.
    • Also, Mrs. Krabappel still keeps her husband's surname even after he ran off with their marriage counselor.
    • Referenced in "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", during the production of the Lisa Lionheart doll.
      Lisa: (recording her voice for the doll) "When I get married, I'm keeping my own name." Oh, no, that should probably be "If I choose to get married."
  • On Phineas and Ferb people seem rather confused about the parents' surnames: Linda's has alternatively been given as Flynn (like her biological children), Fletcher (like her husband and stepson), and Flynn-Fletcher. Word of God says it's the former. Lawrence was also called "Mr. Flynn" on at least one occasion.
    • Isabella's mom seems to have hyphenated (Garcia-Shapiro), unless that's her own maiden name; she's an odd blend of Hispanic and Jewish stereotypes. Meanwhile, Charlene kept her ex-husband's name, Doofenshmirtz, after their divorce.
  • Total Drama World Tour:
    • The contestants fake getting married for a challenge, with Alejandro and Heather paired up. After he refers to her as "Mrs. Alejandro," she sarcastically calls him "Mr. Heather."
    • Later, when Sierra thinks that she's really trapped Cody in an Accidental Marriage, she tells Chris that her name is now "Sierra-Cody. It's hyphenated." Apparently none of these kids know how last names are supposed to work.
      • The weird part is, Sierra knows Cody's last name is Anderson - she's the one who revealed his full name!
  • South Park had an episode where the Broflovskis moved to San Francisco, where all the couples had different surnames and gave hyphenated names to their kids. In one case the parents both had hyphenated names already and their kid had four strung together.
  • On American Dad! Stan and Francine are about to be stoned to death in Saudi Arabia, and Stan consoles himself with the fact that their son Steve can carry on the family name. Then he finds out that Steve is being put to death for a separate crime, and comments that their daughter Hayley, as a "filthy liberal," will probably hyphenate. (Cue Hayley's "Yeah, I'm here too.")
  • On Pepper Ann, one of the title character's friends comments on the fact that her mother, Lydia, continues to use her ex-husband's surname. Lydia says something about there being a lot of paperwork involved and sheepishly leaves the room.
  • In The Legend of Korra, a Sequel Series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, both of Toph Bei Fong's daughters, Lin and Suyin, use her last name. On the one hand, this makes sense, since it's a setting where most other characters have Only One Name, but many fans were annoyed since it helped obscure the issue of who their fathers were. It's eventually implied that Toph never married, and at least in Lin's case we know her father was nobody fans are familiar with.
  • In Milo Murphy's Law, Milo's middle name is "Danger", though pronounced "Dawn-zhay". Apparently it was his grandmother's maiden name. (His parents, meanwhile, are both "Murphy".)
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, when Star Butterfly's parents married her father (born River Johansen) took her mother's last name. Whether this is standard for everyone on Mewni is unclear, because Moon Butterfly was already the reigning Queen of Mewni.
    • The same thing happened with demon prince Tom's parents. His Mewman father Dave ("maiden" name unknown) took his wife's last name after marrying the demon queen Wrathmelior Lucitor.
    • This is apparently tradition for the Butterfly Family; since the throne is matriarchal and most of its born members are female, the husband of a queen or heiress apparent always takes the Butterfly name so they can continue the lineage.
  • In one episode of King of the Hill, Luanne considers marrying a man she's only known for a few days (both of them had taken a chastity pledge and he was eager to sleep with her). She announces she'd be keeping her own name, because she didn't know his last name and thought she wouldn't like it. She rescinds when he tells her his surname and she does like it, but in the end, they don't get married.
  • Gargoyles: According to Word of God, Fox has Only One Name before and after her marriage to David Xanatos, though she doesn't mind if people refer to them together as "Mr. and Mrs. Xanatos." Their son is named Alexander Fox Xanatos, with "Fox" presumably being a middle name.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: When Veronica Vreeland married her husband Michael in the episode "Chemistry", and in the credits, he's listed as "Michael Vreeland", so he apparently took her name; this would make sense considering that he was actually a plant creature created by Poison Ivy as part of a plot to marry off the single rich people, kill them, and inherit their fortunes through their spouses. Veronica's future daughter Bunny, as seen in Batman Beyond, has "Vreeland" as her surname, which means that either Veronica's real husband took on her last name or she was a single mom.

    Real Life 
  • Germany has changed laws multiple times in attempts to figure out the issue. Currently parents have to settle on one "family name" for all their children (which can be either the name of the mother or the father, but not a combination of both to avoid overly long family names), while the parents themselves might (depending on the current ruling at the time of marriage) either stick both to their names, or one of them having to use a combination. In general, the husband taking the family name of the wife has become more common.
  • This is an issue for same-sex couples since obviously there either isn't a wife or there isn't a husband in the picture. Therefore, there's no tradition to go by. Some take just one of their names. Some hyphenate. Some even pick out an entirely new name for themselves. Lately, there's also been a discussion brewing about how male couples who change one or both of their names are supposed to refer to their old name(s) since "maiden name" obviously doesn't work.
    • Official documents in Poland usually circumvent this by using the term nazwisko rodowe (translated as "family name") for the surname one is born with, as opposed to nazwisko ("surname") meaning the bearer's current name.
    • Dan Savage wrote an interesting piece about trying to figure out what last name to give their son when he and his husband (then boyfriend) adopted him. They compromised by giving him his birthmother's last name, which seemed like a sweet gesture at the time, but wound up leading to a lot of trouble later on - it was hard enough to convince workers at airports and national borders that they weren't two strangers kidnapping a baby even without having to explain why the baby didn't share either of their last names.
  • It's not entirely unheard of for a newly married couple create a new last name,[1][2] whether it is original symbolizing the new life as a married couple[3][4] or a portmanteau of the spouses' original family names.[5]
  • Many actresses (at least American ones) actually will legally change their names when they get married, but continue to use their Screen Actors Guild-registered unmarried names professionally. Alyson Hannigan, for instance, changed her name to Alyson Denisof upon marrying Alexis Denisof, but still uses "Hannigan" as her screen name.
  • Some cultures avoid this:
    • In Korea, for instance, the wife never changes her surname (the children retain their father's surname or mother's surname if couple agreed on it when they did the legal marriage paperwork).
    • Something similar happens in Spanish naming customs. Maiden names don't exist and children have two surnames, usually the first surname from the father and the second surname from the mother. The order can be legally swapped if the person wishes.
      • Also, anyone may choose to go by whichever of their surnames they choose, even if they don't change it legally. note  Case in point: José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the former Prime Minister of Spain, had a strained relationship with his father and chose to go by his maternal surname Zapatero rather than the more typical Rodríguez. Or Pablo Ruíz Picasso that is known for his mother's surname.
      • It used to be traditional in Hispanic cultures for the wife to take their husband's name with the preposition "de" meaning "of". Thus when María García married Juan Pérez she'd be known as "María de Pérez (María of Pérez). The custom has fallen out of practice due to the rather unfortunate implication that the wife is her husband's property. However, a form of the custom does live on: while no woman would call herself "María de Pérez" but always "María García" if trying to be short, a full introduction (e.g. in an official context) might have her introduce herself as "María García de Pérez". A prime example is the President of Argentina, Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner, who typically goes by "Cristina Fernández" (although she'll often add the "de Kirchner" part to invoke the memory of her late husband, her predecessor Néstor Kirchner).
      • Actually, Spanish people have officially two last names, one from the father and the other from the mother, but extra-officially they also inherit the last names of the maternal grandfather and both grandmothers, to the point when they can recite six or eight last names. This fact has led to the stereotype that Hispanic people have really long names.
    • In Quebec, it is actually illegal for one spouse to take another's name.
    • In Japan, it's not unheard of for the husband to take the wife's name if she's the last of the family line to bear the name (and it helps if her family is well-off).
      • A notable example of this would be Jiroemon Kimura, primarily known for being the only male verified to have reached 116 years of age. He was born Kinjiro Miyake, and changed his name on marriage, since his wife's family did not have a male heir.
      • Technically, because of the koseki (family register) system, the idea is that the couple must be listed as members of the same family. A man taking on his wife's name is actually taking on the family name of her father, since a woman will always be on the koseki of either her father's family or her husband's family.
    • There's an interesting variation in traditional Chinese naming. A woman who marries would keep her own surname, and their children would take the father's name. However, they could be referred to in various manners, like Mrs. husband's surname, or husband's personal name plus appropriate address form for stranger, or husband's surname plus her own surname plus the word 氏 shi, which is akin to saying née in English. Today Chinese women may follow Anglo-Western naming customs, but as an example, a woman whose name is Chen Jiao (陳嬌) who marries a Shi Dachuan (石大川) could be referred to as the following:
      • 陳嬌 Chen Jiao (the woman's own name);
      • 石夫人 Shi Furen (archaic, "Madame Shi");
      • 石太太 Shi Taitai (modern, "Mrs. Shi");
      • 川嫂/嬸/姨/姑/婆 Chuan Sao/Shen/Yi/Gu/Po ("Aunty Chuan," rather than "Aunty Jiao");
      • or 石陳氏 Shi Chen shi ("Mrs. Shi née Chen", although it's archaic and mainly restricted to historical fiction)
    • In Ancient Rome women kept their family names, but by the late Republic era most women didn't have given names as once they married they would be the only person in the household with their family names and could simply be referred to as thus.
      • To elaborate. Every daughter of Gaius Julius Caesar was named simply "Julia Caesaris", the feminine of the family name. Roman noblewomen married very young, at approximately 13, so this did not normally become a problem, as she would be the "Julia" of her husband's family.
    • In Italy both partners keep their original last names but can choose to add their partner's at the end. They lose it in case of divorce, but can continue using it if widowed until they remarry. It is however customary to refer to a married woman by her husband's name.
      • Children can take both of their parents' names, without hyphens. This is usually not done, but older families can do it, especially if the father married in a noble one.note  This is according to post-Italian unification laws, as before unification the rules depended on the countrynote 
      • Foreigners marrying in Italy keep their own names, but can have it changed in their own country and then update their Italian IDs.
    • In France both partners keep their birth name forever, with the woman being customarily called Mrs. and with her husband's name unless she specifies. This is the law, but most people assume that the woman always takes her husband's name and act as if she legally changed it.
    • In Greece, the wife keeps her original surname, while the children take the surname of their father. In past decades, the wives of prolific families would use both their surname and that of their husband in tandem, but this has since been dropped.
  • Cheryl Cole of pop group Girls Aloud and judge on The X Factor was originally Cheryl Tweedy. When she married Ashley Cole in 2006, she changed her name to Cole for personal and professional use. She kept the name after their divorce in 2009 as she became more known as Cole. After she remarried, she adopted Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, but bills her music as just Cheryl because it was easier for the designers of her album covers. When her second marriage ended, she has simply refers to herself as just Cheryl.
  • When Hillary Rodham married Bill Clinton, she had already established herself as a successful lawyer and writer. Up until her first tenure as first lady of Arkansas she kept that name, but when Bill lost the governorship in 1980 his advisors claimed her decision was one of the main reasons he lost (forget the thousands of Cuban refugees he permitted to enter the state and Reagan's coattails), presumably because voters in the Deep South perceived a woman who was using her maiden name as a Straw Feminist. She compromised, changing her name to Hillary Rodham Clinton for publishing and law-practicing purposes. Since her 2016 presidential campaign she's been known officially as Hillary Clinton.
  • Annie Mae "Tina" Turner kept her married name after divorcing Ike, enduring the bad memories attached to it, for business purposes. It worked, however, as she brought far more good to that name than Ike ever did.
  • There was (and still is, in many places) a significant Double Standard about this. For women to change their names after marriage was a simple procedure, while for the man to take his wife's name required moving hell and earth. The most famous person to do this is probably the NFL's London Fletcher-Baker, who adopted the Baker to honor his father-in-law.
  • J. K. Rowling is actually named Joanne Murray since marrying in late 2001. She just didn't bother to change her pen name (which technically was a pseudonym anyway, since she never had a middle name). All three of her children have "Rowling" as a middle name, however.
  • Similarly, Agatha Christie was Agatha Mallowan from 1930, but she kept Christie (her first husband's surname) as her pen name.
  • An interesting case with Jon Stewart. His birth name was Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, and he chose Jon Stewart as his professional name (mostly because he'd had some really nasty fights with his father). About a year after he married Tracy McShane, they both changed their legal last names to Stewart. Note that even before he got married, Stewart refused to respond to anyone who called him by his birth name except when it was unavoidable (e.g. on official ID documents).
  • Meg and Jack White (i.e. The White Stripes) invert this: John Anthony "Jack" Gillis married Megan Martha White in 1996 and they divorced in 2000. He took, and kept, her last name of White and they remained on good enough terms to keep going in the band together.
  • Cherie Blair, wife of Tony Blair, uses Cherie Booth (she's the daughter of actor Anthony Booth) for her legal work. A confusing situation in that she had already been a barrister for four years when she married Tony Blair, and for the fact that she accepts being called "Cherie Blair" or even "Mrs. Tony Blair" outside of being a barrister.
  • When Geraldine Ferraro, who didn't change her name, was the 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee, no one quite knew what to call her on the campaign trail. Senator Barry Goldwater insisted on referring to her as "Mrs. Zacarro." George HW Bush referred to her as "Mrs. Ferraro" in their vice presidential debate. This was before "Ms" really caught on as the marriage neutral honorific for professional women. Fast forward 30 some years and high ranking female politicians like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (the highest ranking woman in the American government’s history until 2021). are usually referred to as "Ms." even if they changed their names upon marriage (as she did). Women who didn’t change their names also are referred to as “Ms.” In the former case, it just comes down to editorial standards. For example, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post use “Ms.” as a blanket term, while The New York Times asks if they want to be referred to as “Mrs.” or “Ms.” and uses what they prefer.
  • While, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg did take her husband Martin’s surname when they got married in 1954, she abhors being called “Mrs. Ginsburg”. She’s always used “Ms. Bader Ginsburg” instead, both personally and professionally. She did, however, know to pick her battles about it when she was younger.
  • When John Lennon married Yoko Ono, she became Yoko Ono Lennon. And he became John Ono Lennon, legally changing his middle name from Winston to Ono.
  • A contestant on Win Ben Stein's Money told the story of his marriage to a woman surnamed "Wolfe". His own surname was "Dark", so they decided to both change to the hyphenate "Dark-Wolfe."
  • A somewhat notorious case of that occurred in Russia around 1830. Colonel Zass, having no sons, would allow major Rantsev to marry his daughter only if the newlyweds take the name Zass-Rantsev. And he would not accept Rantsev-Zass, since Zass family was much more noble. Nothing unusual for those days, except that "Zass-Rantsev" sounds like "shitter" in Russian. The groom had to petition the tsar to change the name to Rantsev-Zass. Fortunately, Nikolai I didn't like "discordant" names and encouraged his subjects to change them.
  • Polar explorer Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard was born Apsley Cherry, but the terms of his great-aunt's will required his family to take her name in order to inherit her estate.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner Connie Schultz wrote a column about a reader who consistently criticizes her for not taking her husband's surname and insists on using it in lieu of her chosen maiden name.
  • For any reason, sometimes women keep their husbands names after divorce, and even after remarrying.
    • Current Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel still uses the name of her first husband, even though they divorced back in 1982, and she's currently married to Joachim Sauer. (Her birth name is Angela Kasner.) While Merkel had already been divorced for 8 years by the time of her first election, she was a chemist involved in scientific research before that. And while she'd been dating her current husband long before entering politics, it took them well over a decade to marry... by which point she was one of the most prominent politicians in Germany and thus would've potentially caused confusion on the ballots by changing her name again.
    • Opera singer Angela Giorgheu has a similar pattern (she became famous using the name of her first husband, and carried on using it even after she'd divorced and remarried. Possibly because her birthname sounded rather unglamerous- for that matter it wasn't 'Angela' either.)
    • A similar example: Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick (born Grace Barnett Wing) married Jerry Slick in the early 1960s and kept her married name after their divorce and her later remarriage to Skip Johnson.
    • Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (née Herring) also kept her first husband Jim's name after divorce. She had already built up her law practice under that name by the time they got divorced. She's been married to her second husband Bruce Mann since 1980.
  • Averted by BBC Radio 2 newsreader Fenella Haddingham, who has exactly the accent you'd expect a woman with a name like that to have, when she became known as Fenella Fudge after getting married. Listeners are still wondering why.
  • Another inversion: Paul Landers of Rammstein was born Heiko Paul Hiersche (he later dropped his first name), but when he married Nikki Landers, he took her surname and still kept it after they divorced.
  • Kim Deal lampshaded this trope for her first two albums with The Pixies, crediting herself as "Mrs. John Murphy" to mock a woman she'd met who insisted that she wanted to be known by her husband's name.
  • Roosevelt administration Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (1933-45), who was the first woman ever appointed to a Cabinet position in America, kept her last name and even won the right to do so in court. At 33, she got married late for the era and had already built a name for herself working in New York State politics. She didn’t want to confuse anyone. She also wanted to keep her work separate from her husband’s, who also worked in state level politics. Her husband was also mentally ill, making her the family breadwinner in a time in which both were very stigmatized, so keeping her name gave her a level of separation from the situation.
  • While Elisabeth Sladen, who married fellow actor Brian Miller in 1968, kept her maiden name for her professional career, she was "Lis Miller" at home.
  • Olympic beach volleyball legends Misty May and Kerri Walsh both got married between Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and are now credited as Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, illustrating two of the options mentioned above.
  • Carrie Underwood married then Ottawa Senator Mike Fisher in 2009, perhaps to not be mistaken for actress Carrie Fisher.
  • Japanese writer Fuyumi Ohno, author of The Twelve Kingdoms, kept her maiden name as her pen-name after marrying.
  • Since her marriage to David Mitchell in 2012, Victoria Coren has used all three variations of her name note , in both personal and professional capacities, as chronicled in her The Observer column.
  • Susan Sarandon, née Tomalin, has always used the surname of first husband Chris Sarandon in her professional life, during and after her common law marriage to Tim Robbins.
  • Science fiction/horror writers Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem chose a new surname on marriage. He still uses his "maiden" name as a middle name because he had published under it when he was single.
  • Actor/singer Carlos Pena, Jr. and actress/singer Alexa Vega took a combined surname of PenaVega upon marriage.
  • When Antonio Villar, Jr. married Corina Raigosa in 1987, they combined their surnames into a new name, Villaraigosa. They eventually divorced two decades later, but Antonio, who'd gained huge name recognition as the mayor of Los Angeles, elected to keep the combined name.
  • Norman Geddes and Helen Belle Schneider devised a new surname for their union: Bel Geddes. Norman became a celebrated theatrical and industrial designer, and the Bel Geddes name gained further prominence when their daughter Barbara became a famous actress. Barbara was married twice but kept her distinctive maiden name.
  • When Trading Spaces host Paige Davis married her husband, Broadway actor Patrick Page, she kept her maiden name for understandable reasons.
  • Vera Miles kept the surname of her first husband, Bob Miles, after they divorced. She couldn't go back to her maiden name, Vera Ralston, because there was already a well-known actress by that name (a former champion figure skater who moved to Hollywood). To make things even more confusing, both Veras co-starred in films with John Wayne.
  • Actress Stockard Channing still uses the name of her first husband, Walter Channing, even though they divorced in 1967 and she has been married three more times since.
  • A Hollywood talent manager named Elaine Lively divorced her husband but kept Lively as her surname, rather than go back to her maiden name, McAlpin. In 1979, she married character actor Ernie Brown. Realizing that "Lively" was a much more distinctive last name than "Brown", Ernie became a rare example of a man adopting his wife's name, using Ernie Lively as a Stage Name. Blake Lively and Eric Lively, the two children of Ernie and Elaine, have Brown as their birth name, but use Lively professionally, matching their half-siblings from Elaine's first marriage, Jason Lively, Lori Lively and Robyn Lively.
  • Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (born Johnson) and director Sam Taylor-Johnson (Taylor-Wood) adopted each other's hyphenated last names after marrying.

Alternative Title(s): Maiden Name Debate


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