Tess Daly reveals her real name – twenty years after changing it

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  • Tess Daly has revealed her real name is Helen, after the model was forced to change it over twenty years ago.

    Credit: Getty

    The TV star – who is set to return to our TV screens tonight as the first Strictly live show kicks off – admitted she converted to Tess during her modelling days. 

    Despite being known as Tess for years – and forging a hugely successful TV career as Tess – the mum-of-two never officially changed her name, out of respect to her parents. 

    She told Weekend, “I’ve never changed it by deed poll or anything because I think it would be disrespectful to my parents.

    “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.”

    Credit: Getty

    Tess, 51, explained that when she started working as a model at 17, she was forced to change her name to prevent confusion with another model on the books with a similar name, Helen Davies.

    Having now lived with the new name for years, the Strictly star confessed she didn’t even choose the name Tess – that was decided by her agent.

    She said, “My agent was obsessed with [the actress] Nastassja Kinski at the time, who was in the film Tess, and thought I looked like her.

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

    With Tess back on our screens tonight it means Strictly season is officially upon us. And one of this year’s contestants, Ranvir Singh, has given an insight into how gruelling rehearsals have been.

    Credit: Getty

    The GMB star said, “When you’re sat at home you think ‘Oh that’s a nice little jolly dance’ but oh my goodness, we were broken! I was broken after that first day. Totally broken.”

    Ranvir also added that Giovanni had been putting her through her paces during the rehearsals, joking, “Don’t be fooled by his angelic face”.

    Speaking about the pair’s rehearsals, Ranvir admitted that she once stormed out on her partner, saying to him, “We’ve had our moments, haven’t we Giovanni?”

    “We had a 20 minute divorce, we needed 20 minutes apart and then it’s been plain sailing ever since.”