Sunny Hostin, who was born Asunción Cummings, is opening up about the real reason why she changed her professional name. According to The View co-host, she got rid of her Spanish moniker because Court TV host Nancy Grace couldn’t pronounce it properly.
On a recent episode of Finding Your Roots on PBS, Hostin — who worked as a federal prosecutor before joining The View — recalled the time she was invited to bring her legal knowledge to Court TV, where Grace allegedly had a difficult time pronouncing Asunción.
After several failed attempts, Grace allegedly asked Hostin to change her name.
“Then she said, at the break, ‘Can I say something to you?’ I was like, ‘Sure.’ She was like, ‘Do you have another name? A nickname? I don’t know.’ And she just kept at it,” Hostin recalled. “She was basically telling me, ‘You’re very good at this, but that name is not gonna fly. You need to just go by a nickname.’”
She continued, “I said, ‘Well, some friends in school who couldn’t pronounce my name call me Sunny. But, no one in my family calls me Sunny, I don’t use it professionally.’ And the next segment, I was Sunny Hostin.”
Once she changed her name, Hostin said her “career took off” and “all of a sudden, people remembered who I was.” According to the legal expert, it said “something about our world.”
Decider has reached out to reps for Grace for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
During her Finding Your Roots stint, Hostin was also shocked to learn that her Puerto Rican lineage on her mother’s side was predominately Spanish — and they were slaveholders.
“Wow, I’m a little bit in shock. I just always thought of myself as Puerto Rican, half Puerto Rican, I didn’t think my family was originally from Spain and slaveholders,” Hostin said, per Entertainment Weekly. “I think it’s actually pretty interesting that my husband and I have shared roots, so I do appreciate that, and I think it’s great for our children to know this information.”
She added, “I guess it’s a fact of life that this is how some people made their living, on the backs of others.”
Finding Your Roots airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on PBS. You can also catch Hostin on The View when it airs on weekdays at 11/10c on ABC.