Vanessa Fritz will change surname to avoid reverting to birth moniker
26th October 2022

‘Going back to my maiden name would be anti-feminist and stunting’: BBC presenter Vanessa Fritz reveals why she is changing her surname to her mother’s after getting divorced

It is not uncommon for women to go back to using their maiden name following a divorce.

But the BBC Breakfast presenter once known to viewers as Victoria Fritz has taken the unusual step of changing her surname to her mother’s maiden name – Valentine – after splitting up with husband Dan Fritz.

Miss Valentine, 38, said she ‘couldn’t go back’ to her maiden name, Trench, because it felt ‘emotionally regressive, stunting, depressing and quite frankly, anti-feminist’.

She was married to Mr Fritz for 11 years and they have two children together.

She used a lengthy blog post to explain the change to confused viewers and explained that she had removed her married name, Fritz, because her marriage had broken down and the name ‘no longer fits’.

Miss Valentine, 38, said she ‘couldn’t go back’ to her maiden name, Trench, because it felt ‘emotionally regressive, stunting, depressing and quite frankly, anti-feminist’

‘Hello. You may notice a little change today. If you are wondering why, here are a few words,’ she wrote yesterday.

‘The reasons for the breakdown of my marriage are private.

‘And, as I’ve discovered, via the inordinate number of conversations, apps, books, social media feeds, podcasts, seminars, webinars and every other resource I’ve exhausted in an entirely cliched Millennial bid to grapple with my world dissolving, those reasons no longer define me.

‘Call me old-fashioned, but airing dirty laundry is undignified at the best of times. Plus, I have two wonderful young children to consider. Protecting their wellbeing and right to a private life will always be my priorities.

She used a lengthy blog post to explain the change to confused viewers and explained that she had removed her married name, Fritz, because her marriage had broken down and the name ‘no longer fits’

‘Yet, however private I wish to keep my private life, there is an aspect of it that will always remain as much in public hands as it is in my own. And that is my name.’

The mother-of-two continued: ‘Here’s the rub. It no longer fits. It doesn’t fit the person that has emerged nor does it truthfully describe the future ahead of me. In the recasting and the recrafting, I’ve discovered my name matters. And so I am changing it.’

Miss Valentine said she ‘couldn’t go back’ to Trench so turned to her ‘Dubliner mother’s name’ for use in all aspects of her life.

She continued: ‘I’m taking it in tribute to the Irish strength and solidarity that has scaffolded me as I quietly rebuild.’ And she feels it sounds ‘epic’ and that the idea ‘sounds pretty damn good as loose plans for the future go’.

In 2016, she gave birth to one of her children after reading the business news on BBC Breakfast. Her waters broke shortly after she came off air. At the time Mr Fritz was stuck in traffic on the M6 so her co-presenter Sally Nugent was her birthing partner.

Miss Fritz joined the BBC in 2008, having worked for Breakingviews, a financial commentary site that is now part of international news agency Reuters.

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