She’s a staple of morning television, but being a mother will always come first for Lorraine Kelly. The 60-year-old presenter struggled to hold back the tears during a live video interview on ITV with her daughter Rosie, trapped in Singapore as most flights to the UK remain grounded.
“I’m very Scottish and very stoic, but when it comes to my daughter… I saw her little face and I managed to hold it together until the very end,” she tells OK! exclusively, directly after coming off air with her self-titled show.
Classified as key workers, Lorraine and her team continue to film as the rest of the country remains in lockdown. But while the news might be bleak, she tries to bring some positivity.
“We want to give people the news, but also be uplifting and reassuring,” she explains. “I’ve been doing this for a long, long time and people are telling me that it’s good to see familiar faces – Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, then me, followed by Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. It’s reassuring.”
Direct from ITV Studios in London, Lorraine reveals how a reunion with her 25-year-old daughter could be weeks away and why television remains a friend to us all…
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Did you expect to break down while speaking to your daughter live on air?
I’m very Scottish and very stoic but when it comes to my daughter Rosie, it’s a different thing. I managed to hold it together until the very end of the interview. I did say to her that I might get teary, but it wasn’t until I thought about not being able to see her in person that it hit me. I think that’s why I reacted how I did when she was on the show as it really touched a chord. I’ve never had as many messages, tweets, Instagram hits, texts from folk I haven’t seen for ages saying they were watching and had tears. Everyone is missing their families so much.
Does Rosie have to remain in Singapore now due to travel restrictions?
She was on the show because things had changed in Singapore that day and they were in lockdown again. The Singapore authorities have been well prepared because of past experience with SARS. They have been testing and taking people’s temperatures and are being vigilant. They’ve been overly cautious because they don’t want another spike.
When might Rosie be back?
She said it’s hard to get flights and is worried if she comes back on the plane where everybody is together for 14 hours, she could get it. What she doesn’t want to do is return home and give it to us, but when she’s home she will self-isolate. It’s hard to plan anything right now, but I would imagine she won’t get home until at least the end of May.
When were you expecting to see her next?
My mum and I were supposed to be going out to see her over Easter and, of course, we couldn’t. I haven’t seen her in person since Christmas time and that’s the longest we’ve ever gone without seeing each other.
That lack of family contact is making it hard for the nation…
It’s hard. It’s hard for everyone. But in these days of FaceTime and WhatsApp, at least we can see faces. It’s important that we can do Skype and Zoom – I’m loving all these apps. Oh my God, we’ve been doing Houseparty at the weekend with friends up in Scotland. I’ve probably spoken to my best friend in Spain more in the past few weeks than I normally do. I really hope we all can hold on to that.
How is life at home with your husband Steve? Are you keeping to a routine?
I’ve tidied out my knicker drawer and my books. I’m blessed to have a garden. I’m doing my exercise classes online as well. I’m finding the exercise and the dog walks are helping physically and also mentally to de-stress. We’re observing social distancing when we’re out. Hilariously, my dog Angus has a better social life than me. He’s going to a party next door with Tigger, my neighbour’s rescue dog, so we’re all isolating but dropping him off at the front door. It’s come to something when your dog has a better social life than you. We can’t have parties now, but oh goodness me, what celebrations there will be when we can!
What contact have you had with your parents?
I call them every day. My dad, who is 79, has a very serious lung infection and he’s also got a heart condition. He’s very sick and is high risk. My mum is as fit as a fiddle, but it’s hard because I just want to go and see them. I can’t put them at risk and that’s really tough. Sometimes it’s so heartbreaking because you see grandparents waving at their grandchildren through the window.
Television and the shows continuing as normal where possible are becoming a lifeline…
On my show we’re trying to reflect what’s going on. We have the news updates, but I also want to shine some light in all of this darkness. We reflect on what people are doing to make life better and what communities are doing to come together and I talk to people who are making a positive difference. We had a cadet, young Chris Johnson, on the show who is at home making visors for the NHS with his 3D printer because his aunt is a nurse. This is amazing and similar things are happening all over the country. I hope we can hang on to this sense of community when this is all over.
As the saying goes, the show must go on…
We’ve had a lovely positive response from viewers. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time and people are telling me – which is lovely – that it’s good to see familiar faces… Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, then me, followed by Holly and Phillip or Eamonn and Ruth. It’s reassuring.
But not everybody is sticking to the rules…
Most people are sticking to the rules and that’s encouraging. I know there are pockets of stupidity, but I’ve been really impressed by how people have responded to the lockdown. You just have to look at the fact Prince Charles had it, and Boris Johnson, to show that it doesn’t matter if you’re rich, powerful or famous – it can get you. The people who’ve died, it’s hellish and tragic and awful. You hear statistics, but every single one of those people is somebody’s beloved family member.
You realise what the important jobs are…
Those NHS workers who are putting their lives on the line every single day. It resets everything. Kids are leaving the bin collectors notes. All of these little pockets everywhere of people doing amazing and kind things.
How was it being on telly with Piers?
It was only for a couple of days while Susanna Reid was off, but he was great. He gets very annoyed with me saying this because he thinks it’s bad for his image, but he’s actually a very kind man. I know he can be a terrier, but it’s because he cares.
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Are you doing your own make-up?
My wonderful Helen has given me make-up tips and I’m recycling my wardrobe, wearing my high street favourites that are easy to wash and iron.
What’s your message for people like yourself who have family away from home?
This will be over one day. Even though it doesn’t feel like it now. It’s going to be hard for the next few weeks or months, but we will all get back together. We will never take each other for granted again. Or simple things like sharing a meal or watching our favourite show together. Simple, small, tiny things are what I’m really missing and one day we will get them back. We will.
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