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Strictly's Tess Daly 'fell apart' over heartbreak days after Vernon Kay wedding

The Strictly host married Vernon in September 2003

Tess Daly in an off the shoulder dress with her hair up
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
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Tess Daly was on honeymoon with her new husband Vernon Kay when she was delivered some heartbreaking news that left her "completely broken up on the inside."

The Strictly Come Dancing host married the All Star Family Fortunes presenter on 12 September 2003 in front of her closest friends and family, including Big Brother winner Brian Dowling and T4 presenter June Sarpong. One particularly special guest was her father Vivian Daly, who insisted on walking his daughter down the aisle despite being very sick with emphysema. 

Newlyweds Tess Daly and Vernon Kay leave St Mary's Church in 2003© Getty
Tess Daly and Vernon Kay got married at St Mary's Church in 2003

Just 18 days later, Vivian sadly passed away and Tess has made several candid comments about how she has dealt with the grief, especially when it came to her first appearance on Strictly just months later and the birth of her daughters Phoebe and Amber.

"The show that turned things round for me was Strictly Come Dancing, but no one had any idea how torn up I was when I did that very first show," she told The Mirror.

 Tess Daly and Vernon Kay© getty
The Strictly host found out about her father's death on her honeymoon 18 days after she got married

"Yes, I made sure I looked the part and laughed and did everything I had to do, but I was completely broken up on the inside."

Explaining her special connection to the BBC dancing competition, Tess continued: "My dad loved ballroom dancing. He got me into it when I was a kid. It was his sort of thing old-fashioned, graceful. He just loved it. Everything about it would have appealed to my dad. He'd particularly liked to have seen me in the clothes I wear on the show," she said.

tess daly vernon kay kids© Instagram
Tess said her "biggest regret" is that her father never met her daughters

Recalling the aftermath of his death, she explained: "I fell apart. I miss him so much, every day." She has admitted she is delighted that he got to meet her husband, but said the fact that he was never part of her daughters' lives is her "biggest regret."

"I know my dad was glad to see me with Vernon. Even though he was so ill when we got married he still wanted to walk me up the aisle. I'm glad he got to see us settled," she continued during her chat with The Mirror.

WATCH: Inside Vernon Kay and Tess Daly's love story

The couple returned to Vernon’s hometown of Horwich for their low-key wedding at St Mary’s Church, before hosting their reception at Rivington Hall Barn. Modelling a strapless Marina Adanou gown with a fitted waist and full skirt, Tess accessorised with a sparkly bag that matched her tiara and Jimmy Choo shoes.

Tess later told the Daily Mail: "[My dad] never got to meet my children – which is my biggest regret, he would’ve loved them. But he never got to see me do Strictly either, and he would have been so proud.

"When you lose someone, the way you think about everything changes forever. You know it can all go in a second, so it makes you want to protect what you have."

For their ten-year wedding anniversary, I'm a Celebrity star Vernon surprised Tess with an impromptu vow renewal ceremony in France. "I opened my anniversary card and it said, 'Today we are going to renew our vows,'" she told HELLO!. 

"He said, 'We're just going to renew our vows, I've arranged it. I've found a catholic priest.' I thought the kids were at home and the grandparents were looking after them for the weekend. [But] Vernon had arranged for all of them to fly over."

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