AJ McLean on Daughter, 9, Changing Name to Elliott: 'I Will Be in Her Corner a Million Percent'

AJ McLean will stand by his daughters no matter what.

The Backstreet Boys singer, 44, recently spoke to PEOPLE about his daughter's decision to change her name from Ava to Elliott, sharing that he will "support" the 9-year-old regardless of the reason she wanted to switch her moniker.

News of the name change first came when McLean's wife Rochelle posted a back-to-school photo last month that featured the pre-teen holding a balloon reading "Elliott's First Day of 4th Grade!"

"When my daughter asked to change her name to Elliott, initially, I didn't know if it was a transgender thing, which it is not, but it is a personal choice," McLean tells PEOPLE. "And it is her body, it's her name, it's her everything. And she's still Ava. She'll always be Ava to me."

"But at the same time, whatever reasoning it is, that's hers, and I'm going to support it a million percent, my wife will [too]," he adds.

aj mclean
aj mclean

Rochelle DeAnna Mclean/Instagram; Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty

McLean says Elliott came to him over a year ago and told him, "Dad, I just feel like my name is not that unique and not that original, and there's a lot of Avas at dance and a lot of Avas at school."

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aj mclean
aj mclean

Aj McLean/Instagram Aj McLean with daughters Elliot and Lyric

RELATED: AJ McLean's Wife Explains Why Daughter, 9, Changed Her Name to Elliott: 'Not a Gender Thing'

"She just finished watching Pete's Dragon, and she loved the name Elliot, but with two Ts," he says. "Now it just rolls off the tongue. Now she's Elliott."

McLean, who also shares daughter Lyric, 5, with his wife, continues, "Whatever journey both my girls have, I will be in their corner a million percent, my wife will be in their corner and support them, whatever their path is and whatever their journey is. That's just the family that we are."

After Rochelle referenced Elliott's name change for the first time last month, she later followed up on her Instagram Story to address questions about her name.

"For those asking … not that it's anyone's business but Elliott's name change is not a gender thing," Rochelle wrote, going on to explain that her daughter has tried a few name changes and Elliott "stuck" after she asked her parents to start calling her by the name last year.

"She wanted something unique that no one else had (There are so many Ava's). I didn't really see the harm in respecting her desire to be unique."

Rochelle went on to note that it's a "little odd" that parents pick names for children at birth and "expect them to forever indentify[sic] as that person."

"Anyway … so that's how Ava became Elliott. I knew once I put it out there people would have opinions, but be kind," she continued. "She's just a kid trying to make her way in this crazy world! I just want her to know she can always be whoever she wants to be🖤"