Victoria Fritz: Valentine name change explained, why BBC presenter has different surname - who is Dan Fritz?
BBC Breakfast viewers were left confused after the presenter introduced herself as Victoria Valentine
BBC Breakfast viewers were left confused after presenter Victoria Fritz introduced herself under a different name on Wednesday (26 October). Sitting alongside fellow host Jon Kay, the presenter addressed viewers under the new name of Victoria Valentine.
But why has the BBC Breakfast presenter undergone a name change, seemingly out of nowhere? This is everything you need to know.
Why has she changed her name?
On Twitter, Valentine shared a lengthy blog post that she had written on her website titled “What’s in a name?” in which the presenter explained that the reasoning behind the change of her last name was due to a breakdown of her marriage.
Throughout the post, Valentine spoke about her life and her marriage, which she described as one of those “battles you cannot win”. She said that she had spent 11 years as Fritz, during which she had “more than anyone’s fair share of “Heil Hitler” comments and Nazi salutes”.
She said: “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 clichéd 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. 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.”
Valentine explained that the name Fritz “no longer fits” and that “it doesn’t fit the person that has emerged nor does it truthfully describe the future ahead of me”. Therefore, she decided to change it - however, she “couldn’t go back to my maiden name”, likening the option to “going back to live in your childhood bedroom”.
“Going back felt emotionally regressive, stunting, depressing and quite frankly, anti-feminist,” she said, due to the fact that her maiden name is that of her father’s and that she is “no more my father’s chattel, with spintery tail between my legs, than I ever was my husband’s”.
Valentine ended the post by writing: “So I’m taking my Dubliner mother’s name. I’m taking it in all aspects of my life; personal and professional, public and private. I’m taking it in tribute to the Irish strength and solidarity that has scaffolded me as I quietly rebuilt.
“I’m taking her name in celebration of the fantastic cousins who had me belting out Cher power ballads with them in the rental car with the windows down in the dregs of Italian winter when my heart was broken. I’m taking it because of the innate kinship I feel with my Irish family; the craic, the musicality, the story-telling, the quick wit, the laughter, the hardship, the struggle, the strength, the bonds that only those who’ve known what it is to be on the outside can feel.
“These Irish pieces of me are as laughably undeniable and enduring as the eyes in my head are and always will be blue. These familiar, familial pieces provide the warp and weft of courage and creativity that I carry forward.”
Who is Dan Fritz?
Dan Fritz is a writer and barrister, with Serle Court listing him as one of its junior counsels. The site describes him as “among the most sought after and highly rated chancery commercial juniors at the Bar” and, according to Serle Court, Fritz “is recognised by the main directories as a leading practitioner in Civil Fraud, Offshore, Chancery Commercial, Commercial Disputes and Company and Partnership Law”.
Not much is publicly known about Fritz, although it’s understood that he and Valentine married in 2011. Viewers first noticed that Valentine was without her wedding ring back in August.
Valentine and Fritz have two children together. They had been renovating a house in 2016 when Valentine found out she was pregnant with their first child and, five weeks earlier than expected, she went into labour in November 2016 and gave birth to their son, William.
The two also share a daughter together, although her date of birth hasn’t been publicly shared.
What has the reaction been like to her name change?
Replying to Valentine’s tweet, a number of her fellow BBC journalists and broadcasters congratulated her on the move.
Nina Warhurst wrote: “Gorgeous name! Congrats on the new chapter x”
“A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet as they say. New chapter beckons. Go Victoria Valentine xx,” Dani Sinha tweeted.
Ben Boulous wrote: “Welcome to the world, Victoria Valentine [clapping emoji]. It’s a really beautiful name and you wear it well xx”
“Love this [four leaf clover emoji],” replied Rachel Burden.