‘Southern Charm: New Orleans’: Reagan Charleston Explains Why She Didn’t Change Her Name After Divorce

It’s only been a year since Reagan Charleston from Southern Charm: New Orleans split from her first husband Jeff Charleston, but this southern belle has definitely moved on. She’s married to Reece Thomas and is expecting her first child any day now.

But one thing hasn’t changed for Reagan: her last name. Though her marriage of six years might have ended in divorce, she opted to keep her first husband’s name rather than becoming Reagan Thomas. Here’s why.

Reagan reveals why she didn’t change her name

Recently, Reagan took to Instagram to share an update on her soon-to-arrive baby. She just passed the 38-week mark in her pregnancy, but revealed that a couple of months ago it seemed that the baby might be born prematurely. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and their little girl is expected to arrive right on time.

One fan, however, had a question for the reality TV star that didn’t have anything to do with the baby. Instead, it related to Reagan’s name.

“Why didn’t she change to her new name why is she still going by Jeff’s name ?? Someone tell me,” wrote one confused fan on Instagram.

Reagan herself quickly weighed in to clear up the confusion.

“[B]ecause it’s the professional name I’ve used since 2012, it’s on all of my degrees, my scholarly legal articles are published under the name, I have thousands of clients in the US & abroad that know my jewelry by that name, it’s the name I’ve had as I’ve built my career, and Jeff gave me his blessing. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly,” she replied.  

The choice she had to make

Reagan Charleston
Reagan Charleston| Erika Goldring/Bravo

Reagan married Jeff Charleston in 2012, when she was 24. Like many women, she opted to drop her maiden name in favor of her husband’s last name. (About 80% of women choose to change their name when they wed, according to wedding website The Knot.)

But when her marriage ended, Reagan had a choice to make. She could revert to her maiden name, or keep using her first husband’s name. Or, when she married Reece, she could have started using his name.

The 31-year-old decided to simply stick with the name she’d been using for the past six years. As she explained in her comment, it’s the name she’s known by professionally, both as a jewelry designer and as a lawyer. (She graduated from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 2018 and is currently an executive law clerk for the Louisiana attorney general, according to her LinkedIn profile.)  

She has this advice for other women

While Reagan ultimately opted to keep her first husband’s name, she suggested that if she could do it all over again, she’d never have changed her name in the first place. And she says she’d encourage other young women with professional careers to stick with their birth name, since it’s impossible to know what the future might hold.

“I’d advise any young professional woman to keep her maiden name,” she wrote. I didn’t imagine when I was 24 that I’d be getting a divorce when I changed my name.”

Read more: ‘Southern Charm’: Thomas Ravenel Accused of Cocaine Use on Night of Son’s Birth

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