Why Julian Lennon Legally Changed His Name: ‘For Me, It’s a Whole Other World’

John Lennon‘s son Julian Lennon legally changed his name. His name change was long overdue, considering many had compared him to his father for years. Starting in the music industry was hard, especially with his legal name, John Lennon.

Julian Lennon at the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Joni Mitchell in 2022.
Julian Lennon | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Julian Lennon legally changed his name in 2020

Just before the pandemic forced everyone inside, Julian officially changed his name to Julian Charles John Lennon. His father and mother (John’s first wife, Cynthia) named him John Charles Julian Lennon. Since he was a child, everyone called him Julian (the male version of Julia, John’s mother’s name). John’s fellow Beatle, Paul McCartney, even wrote a song about him, “Hey Jude,” originally called “Hey Jules.”

However, on legal documents, Julian’s name was still John Lennon. The name didn’t help while he was trying to make a name for himself in the music industry.

Why Julian legally changed his name after all these years

The Beatle’s first son had to live with his given name for years. So, why change his name now, after all this time? On the Word in Your Ear podcast (per People), Julian explained that his recent name change resulted from the pandemic.

“It was in 2020, just before we all got locked in a cage that I finally actually decided to legally change my name by default,” Julian explained. “Because originally my name was John Charles Julian Lennon, and the c*** that I had to deal with when traveling and security companies and this and that and the other.

“Whenever you had to present yourself, especially on like boarding passes, just as an example, you know they only use your first name, and so it would always be ‘John Lennon, John Lennon.’

“So I became quite fearful and anxious about those scenarios, because there would always be wise cracks or jokes, and most of the time people didn’t even recognize me. It became really uncomfortable over the years because I’ve always been known as Julian and so it [being called John] never felt like it was me. So finally I just decided in 2020, ‘Yeah, I wanna be me now. This is it, it’s time for a change.'”

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John’s son feels better about the change

Julian might have changed his name from John Lennon to Julian Lennon, but he still has respect for his father and mother.

“I want to respect the legacy and the wishes of my parents, but all I did was switch the ‘John’ and ‘Julian’ so I’m Julian Charles John Lennon,” Julian continued. “It’s as simple as that, but for me, it’s a whole other world, it really is. Not that I’m ashamed or have disrespect.

“I needed to be me. I needed to finally be heard as Julian. This is what Julian does, not ‘John’s son,’ so that has been a part of the path and…it just made sense for me.”

The name change, along with the positive reception of his recent first-ever performance of his father’s famous song, “Imagine,” at Global Citizen’s televised Stand Up for Ukraine benefit concert, has helped Julian come to terms with being John Lennon’s son.

“I feel, probably for the first time ever, that I can walk around not being afraid with my head held high,” Julian shared on the iHeartRadio podcast Inside the Studio (per People).

“I used to have to deal with that c*** all the frigging time. It was so frustrating. Anyway, I’m over all of that now. I think I’ve laid my foundation on many levels of what I do and I’m proud to be doing everything that I’m doing now. So it’s a different world, you know? I’m feeling like maybe just a little bit of an adult now… It’s been magical. It’s been magical probably for the first time ever.”

Unfortunately, Julian spent most of his life feeling uncomfortable with his legal name. However, now, he’s been set free. He’s still proud of his name and family.