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Lorraine Kelly’s dad battled for life last year as she tells of heartache


She’s the much-needed pick-me-up for millions of locked-down TV ­viewers. Indeed, Lorraine Kelly now has a bigger ­audience than she’s had in the past decade.

But ITV’s queen of morning telly has been ­hiding a secret heartache in recent months.

Lorraine revealed there have been days when she has struggled to come in to work at all as she has been stricken with worry about her sick father John.

She said: “We went through a few very very tough months thinking that we were going to lose him. It was just awful. But he was amazing. He rallied.



Lorraine with her mum Anne and dad John

“He was so, so ill. This time last year he was in hospital and got out just before Covid started.

“He basically has heart failure. He also had a really bad scare and they thought he had lung cancer. But it was a massive ­infection that he had.”

Lorraine, currently running the Positivity Project about surviving lockdown on her ITV morning show, said that the toughest part of the pandemic for her has been not seeing her parents, who she used to fly up to see in Scotland from her London home as often as every ­weekend.

“I haven’t seen my mum or dad since last July. That I have found the most difficult,” she said.

“Not to be able to nip up and see them. You know what it’s like with parents – they don’t want to tell you there’s anything wrong so they say ‘Yeah, I’m fine’, because they don’t want you to worry as they know there is nothing you can do. So that’s really hard.”

Lorraine has resigned herself to missing out on a big family celebration for her dad’s 80th on March 8, which she said would have been a ­massive family get-together, a “gathering of the clans”.

Now, a larger celebration abroad is planned for her mum Anne’s birthday in September.

Lorraine said: “The lovely thing about being a bit older is that you can give ­something back to your parents who brought you up. My mum is going to be 80 on September 22.

“My absolute dream is to be able to take them to Singapore to see my wee brother Graham and to be able to celebrate out there with his girlfriend. I would take some of the family as well – they don’t know that.

“That will be such an emotional amazing celebration. I just hope we can do it out of travel restrictions.”



Lorraine’s dad John was being treated in hospital after suffering heart failure last year

Lorraine did share the good news that both of her parents have had the Covid vaccination.

“They felt grateful for having it done,” she said. “They are from a more formidable generation. They all want to have it and they are not listening to all this conspiracy theory nonsense. They are the generation that grew up when kids still died of childhood diseases.

“My mother had siblings who died of conditions you can now get vaccinated against like German measles and scarlet fever. They really know how important it is to get vaccinated.

“All the online scaremongering about the ­vaccine is infuriating. Imagine the state the world would be in if we didn’t have a vaccine – it’d be an endless cycle of lockdowns.”

Lockdown has also made ­Lorraine realise how much she misses human contact.

She said: “I miss the little things like not being able to see people for a cup of tea, going to the pub for a wee drink. Going out for lunch and dinner and meeting people.

“I don’t think I realised what a tactile person I was before. My wee dog is a ­border terrier and he runs away from me now because I ­cuddle him all the time.



Lorraine said that she struggled to come into work on some days while she worried about her dad’s health

“He has saved me because I take him out for a massive long walk every day. We walk for hours. That has kept me sane. And also has the fact that I am fortunate enough to still be working.”

Lockdown and family health worries have ­sometimes meant that the normally upbeat ­Lorraine has really struggled.

She said: “I have quite a sunny disposition but I’ve had days when I have really struggled to go into work – I’ve just felt a bit overwhelmed by it all. I try to talk myself around.

“I say you are very lucky to have work and to do such an interesting job. I try to get myself out of that mood by speaking to my best friend in Spain who I have not seen in over a year.

“And in the week if I’m having a bit of a wobble, I talk to my mum, I talk to my daughter, I talk to my husband and I also talk to my work colleagues. People are realising that it’s actually OK to feel wobbly emotionally.”

She did offer some great advice on ­surviving lockdown with a loved one: “Give each other space or you’ll drive each other nuts.”

Lorraine said she and her husband, TV ­cameraman Steve Smith, have spare bedrooms in case she wakes up early for the show. They walk the dog at different times and spend time in ­different parts of the house or garden.

She said: “Thankfully, Steve and I get on terribly well. So it’s working out very well.”

Watch Lorraine weekdays on ITV from 9am and catch up on the ITV Hub.





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