BBC Strictly host Tess Dalys real name revealed after she ditched it aged 17

Tess Daly, best known as one half of the presenting duo on Strictly Come Dancing, has been in the public eye since the age of 17.

The television presenter, 54, married to Vernon Kay, began her career as a model after she was discovered outside a McDonald's restaurant in Manchester while waiting for her sister.

However, at that time, Tess wasn't yet officially known as Tess Daly. As it turns out, Tess isn't her real name, it's her stage name.

Born in 1969, she was named Helen Elizabeth Daly by her parents, Vivian and Sylvia.

Tess later adopted her stage name when she began her modelling career, but didn't legally changed her name out of respect for her parents.

Explaining why she changed her moniker, she said that when she started modelling at the age of 17, there was already someone named 'Helen Davies' at the agency, so she was advised to abandon 'Helen Daly' as it was considered too similar.

Tess was given the name 'Tess' because her agent at the time was "obsessed" with the actress Nastassja Kinski, who starred in a 1979 film called Tess.

Tess explained: "So Tess it was. I was gullible and impressionable. Mind you, two weeks later, I was in Japan, then I travelled the world – Paris, Milan, New York."

Her agent thought she bore a striking resemblance to the German actress Nastassja.

Revealing that her mum is now the only person who still calls her Helen, the TV presenter said: "My mum’s really the only person who still calls me Helen, and that’s not often.

"She tends to call me ‘love’, so when she does say ‘Helen’ it can take me a while to respond."

Tess continued: "I’ve never changed it by deed poll or anything because I think it would be disrespectful to my parents."

Although Tess's husband, Vernon, doesn't call her Helen, they exchanged vows under her real name in 2003.

Vernon, also a former model who gained fame on T4 and T4 On The Beach for Channel 4, married Tess in Bolton, his hometown, on September 12, 2003. The couple have two children, aged 19 and 14, named Phoebe and Amber.

The couple recently gave a rare glimpse into their family life as they shared a photo of their eldest daughter, Phoebe, over the summer as she received her A-level results.

They celebrated with a special night out at the Ivy Asia in Manchester’s Spinningfields and shared the joy of the special milestone.

The family also enjoyed a trip to California in August, with Tess posting highlights from their sun-soaked holiday, including a romantic bike ride with Vernon.

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