How much will Tess take before calling it quits with Vernon?
Whatever it was Vernon Kay was up to when he contacted an out-of-bounds glamour model, the real focus is on his loyal wife and why she's putting up with her antics, writes Dee O'Keeffe
Tess Daly is a class act. At 46, she co-hosts the BBC’s flagship entertainment programme ‘Strictly’, is mum to two daughters Phoebe (11) and Amber (6) and has advertisers falling at her feet.
Her only problem appears to be husband Vernon.
Since news emerged on Monday that Vernon had been texting glamour model Rhian Sugden (29) – the same model he was caught sexting in 2010, an incident which nearly ended his marriage – all questions have been about Tess.
Vernon and Tess had the seemingly picture-perfect marriage up until 2010 when Rhian and four other women came forward to divulge that Vernon had been sexting each of them.
Tess stood by her man then – but let him know such behaviour was unacceptable. Indeed the public – who seem to adore Tess – let Vernon know, too.
Six years later, Vernon contacted Rhian again. This time he claimed his wife knew about his exchanges with the model.
He wrote on his Facebook account: “I was contacted by Rhian out of the blue back in December regarding the story in 2010 claiming she had information she wanted to pass on. I recognise how it may look when messages are pulled out of context but there was never any inappropriate intent to our communication, I was merely trying to find answers to questions that I’ve had since 2010.
"Tess is aware of everything that has been discussed with Rhian.”
- Read more: Sinead Ryan: Oh, Vernon - what on earth were you thinking? Second sexting scandal is truly unforgiveable
Maybe he’s telling the truth, maybe he’s not. The story has moved on though in the hearts and minds of Tess’s adoring public, who are now wondering how she can forgive her husband on the basis that he doesn’t speak to the model ever again. She tried that approach six years ago and it didn’t work.
“Tess is utterly devastated but does not want to give up on her family. She met Vernon on Tuesday night and tore strips off him. This has been so humiliating for her. She can’t believe he has been in touch with Rhian again,” a source told one publication.
Another publication reported that Tess was choosing to see the latest incident as “entrapment” of her husband.
In the eyes of the public, Vernon now appears rather dimwitted and lacking in imagination. Why didn’t he run for the hills when the woman who nearly wrecked his marriage six years ago contacted him again? What kind of “truth” was Vernon hoping to obtain by meeting her in a hotel room? And he claims his wife knew all along. The mind boggles.
Maybe it’s the world we live in, but the real conversation is all about Tess. How can she so readily forgive him? Does she have a tipping point? If so, how many more times will Vernon humiliate her before she arrives at that point?
Tess has done nothing wrong, but Vernon has used her as some kind of shield to his detractors saying ‘nothing to see here – but she knew all along’.
And it’s thanks to him that pictures of Tess are appearing alongside images of Rhian.
Publicists acting for the couple must be dreading the weekend. If Vernon has any more skeletons, they could emerge then, as they so often do when it comes to celebrity scandal.
And there are signs that the model could spill more. Rhian opening up to the press is not beyond the realm of reality – her fiance, actor Oliver Mellor, has form when it comes to that.
Former Coronation Street actor Mellor (34), who played Dr Matt Carter in the soap, spilled the beans about his affair with colleague Kym Marsh (39), who plays barmaid Michelle.
Kym was married at thetime, and Oliver was in another relationship.
“The last thing Kym wanted to do was hurt anyone,” Oliver helpfully told a tabloid. “And she knew what we were doing could have serious consequences for everyone.
“But the fact we were both willing to take those risks when the stakes were so high shows how much it meant.”
Rhian has kept on her engagement ring – but it’s not clear how much her fiance knows. He hasn’t posted anything since March 16, but given his past form, Tess’s publicist should be worried.
Fans will fear that the humiliation she is suffering at the hands of her husband will continue into next week.
Why put herself through it?
Let’s pause for a minute and consider the fact that it’s impossible to know what really goes on in a relationship, or indeed why women like Tess routinely take chancers like Vernon back. Perhaps she simply cannot even begin to contemplate life without her husband
Maybe she’s more sanguine, like the French, than most Irish women would be about matters of the heart.
Would we do the same?
If we were married with children and the person we had built a life with and loved dearly messed up, first by sexting and then by offering the worst excuse ever for meeting the recipient of the saucy messages six years later, can we be absolutely be certain we’d leave them?
You won’t know the answer to that question until you’ve walked in Tess’s shoes. But for now we shoot from the hip and say to ourselves there’s no way on God’s earth we’d take him back.