Tess Daly is the first to admit her marriage to former All Star Family Fortunes presenter Vernon Kay, 43, is a work in progress, and they have definitely had their fair share of ups and downs.
In our exclusive interview with the Strictly Come Dancing host, 48, she tells us her dream of leaving the UK and moving to New Zealand with daughters Phoebe, 13, and Amber, eight…
Every time we visit my sister Karen in New Zealand I spend the next two months Googling properties and dreaming of escaping the British winter. Its summer over there and its gorgeous. I love the laid-back way of life, the people are friendly, the foods incredible, the climates great, the landscape is beautiful. But its not really feasible. I work on Strictly for five months of the year, and the kids are in school. You cant take them to one place or the next because then they spend the whole time catching up. So its not really a plausible solution, but never say never. I do miss my sister terribly because were so close.
My youngest is forever saying to me, “Mummy, can we please move to New Zealand because I just want to be near my cousins?” and it does break my heart because I grew up with my cousins so close by. We were like brothers and sisters, we played out together, so Im well aware she misses that time.
I co-hosted Strictly with Bruce Forsyth for so many years. Now, outside my dressing room, theres a photograph of myself and Brucie taken about four years ago just before we started our last series together. The photographer did this lovely thing where he took pictures of high-profile people and asked them to close their eyes for a collection he was doing. So Brucie and I closed our eyes. I got the photo blown up and its in a frame just outside my dressing room in Elstree Studios, so I see it whenever I go on to the studio floor. And its so gorgeous because we were having fun.
Brucie had fun in every moment and that was what was so joyful about him, he was always looking to find joy and make people laugh and have fun. And it was just amazing being around that, he had such a positive spirit and Im sure that kept him young. I have so many very precious memories of him and I think about him all the time, and every week when Im standing at the top of the stairs. He was a huge part of the show for me. I miss him terribly.
Claudia [Winkleman, Tess co-host] is super superstitious. We have this secret signal we do at the top of the stairs before every show. I adore her and we have so much fun working together.
The royal family are fans of Strictly. Whenever Im lucky enough to see Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall she always wants to chat about the show and she says she enjoys it and doesnt miss an episode, which is lovely to hear. Its quite surreal really. But it would be great to have the royal seal of approval. Id give anything to see her on the show, but I think shes quite busy.
Zara Tindall, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie watched the show. It would be really wonderful to get them involved.
I also want Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr and David Walliams to dance on Strictly! Imagine those three – they would be the dream team in Lycra and sequins. Im sure David would embrace it wholeheartedly!
My youngest daughter Amber is spending a lot of time at the weekend playing games against her cousin in New Zealand. Its so sweet because its almost like theyre playing together and I can hear them chatting. Its how they enjoy playing, so Ive been quite surprised. For that reason I learnt how to play Minecraft with gaming guru Ali-A at a Vodafone #FamilySquad gaming bootcamp.
Vernon loves gaming. Amber was given an Xbox for Christmas. Vernon has been in the garage for years and he sneaks in to use hers. I see him when no-one else is around – he picks up the controller and puts Call of Duty in and Im not allowed anywhere near that! I wont be playing against him – its way too violent!
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