The newlywed name game: Does taking your husband's surname take away your identity?

Priyanka Chopra has revealed why she chose to take new husband Nick Jonas’ surname [Photo: Getty]

Priyanka Chopra has opened up about her decision to take new husband Nick Jonas’ name following their marriage.

In December 2018, Priyanka tied the knot with her beau in an unforgettable wedding ceremony that featured several dresses, a host of celebrity guests and multiple parties.

And now that the nuptials have come to an end (we think), the 36-year-old actress has been discussing her reason for adopting a double-barrel surname.

Shortly after their wedding, Chopra officially changed her name across her social media accounts to Priyanka Chopra Jonas, while her husband kept his the same.

Appearing on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ on Tuesday, the newlywed said she took his name because she’s a little “old school” and wanted to feel more connected to him.

“I always wanted to add his name to mine because I feel, like, you know, we’re becoming family, and I’m a little traditional and old school like that,” she said.

“But I don’t take away my identity. He gets added to who I am.”

She went on to say that she hadn’t realised it was such a big deal until she went through with the name change.

“The gravity of it, it’s like a big deal! I didn’t realise it was that much of a big deal until I did it.”


Priyanka isn’t the only A-lister to take her new husband’s name recently.

Model, Hailey Baldwin, legally married Justin Bieber in a New York City courthouse in September last year.

Two months later, and mere hours after Bieber made the marriage Insta-official by calling her his “awesome wife”, she switched up her own Instagram handle to her married name Hailey Bieber.

And it isn’t just women taking men’s surname post knot-tying. Back in 2015 Zoe Saldana opened up about criticism she received after her husband’s decision to take her surname rather than the other way round.

“Why is it so surprising, shocking, eventful that a man would take his wife’s surname?,” she asked on her Facebook page.

“Men, you will not cease to exist by taking your partner’s surname. On the contrary you will be remembered as a man who stood by change,” she writes.

Are more couples opting to switch up their their surnames after signing the marriage certificate?

A recent YouGov poll certainly seems to suggest so. While attitudes are gradually changing and many women now keep their own surnames after getting married, the name-change convention is still going strong in the UK with the research revealing that the majority of women (59%) would still like to take their spouse’s surname post nuptials – and 61% of men still want them to do so.

And, somewhat surprisingly, it’s the younger generation, the Chopra-Jonas’ and Baldwin-Biebers’, who are driving the way with the poll revealing that younger women are just as likely to want to take their spouse’s name than older women.

Much less popular is for both partners to keep their original surnames upon marriage (14% for women and 12% for men).

Naming alternatives are also gaining traction with 8% of people wanting to combine surnames, although this is more popular with women (12%) than men (5%).

Are more couples choosing to take each others’ surnames after getting wed? [Photo: Getty]

But does the decision about whether to change your surname after tying the knot change how people perceive you?

According to recent research women who choose not to take their husband’s surname after marriage are often perceived as having distinctly different relationship dynamics to those who do change their name.

The study, published in the journal Sex Roles, found that a woman’s choice of surname can influence how outsiders view the balance of power in her marriage, with women who kept their maiden name generally seen as having more authority in the relationship.

A woman’s decision about her post-nuptials surname may also affect how people see her husband, with the same research revealing that men whose wives keep their own surnames after marriage are generally seen as being higher in traits, such as being “submissive”, “caring”, “understanding” and “timid”. 

Ultimately, there are many different reasons why women, and men, might choose to stick with or switch their surnames after getting married.

What’s important is what feels right for you and not what other people think of your decision, your other half or the power balance within your relationship.

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