Long Lost Family on ITV: Mother and son can’t hug due to COVID-19 as viewers brand it ‘cruel’

Julie and Ian were reunited but couldn't hug

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ITV viewers branded an emotional Long Lost Family reunion between a mother and son “cruel” after they weren’t allowed to hug because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The ITV show, presented by Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall, specialises in bringing together family members who have been separated through life.

And last night’s episode (Monday February 15) was another tear-jerker.

Long Lost Family Julie and her son couldn't hug because of COVID restrictions
Julie describes her pain (Credit: ITV)

What happened to Julie on Long Lost Family last night?

Retired nurse Julie Johnson from Lancashire had to give up her first-born son for adoption when she was a teenager.

There was good news for Julie and Steve when the show’s researchers found him and put them in touch.

Read more: Long Lost Family: ITV show’s five most emotional episodes ever as season 10 concludes

However, with Julie suffering from health problems and her son – now called Ian – living in Staffordshire, the two had to wait six months before meeting.

And when they did, there was more heartbreak – the two couldn’t hug because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

How did viewers react to the emotional meeting?

Julie said prior to their socially-distanced meet-up: “It’ll be hard not to be able to give him a hug because I’ll instantly want to give him a hug.

“But I won’t be able to. I might have a few tears.”

Viewers also felt Julie’s pain and took to Twitter to bemoan the cruelty of the situation.

One wrote: “Watching #LongLostFamily and an adopted son meets his mother and sisters for the first time…

Covid laying waste to another family’s happy plans.

“…And they can’t hug (on camera anyway) because of ‘social distancing’. CRUEL, INHUMAN AND INSANE.”

Another said: “#LongLostFamily ‘I can’t believe he’s mine’.

“God bless, Julie, and how cruel is fate. Covid laying waste to another family’s happy plans.”

Others admitted they were in tears, with one saying: “In tears for Ian and family after 43 years no hugs, social-distancing, no big Christmas party either.”

Another said: “Omg they couldn’t hug. I’m in tears.”

Long Lost Family Julie and her son couldn't hug because of COVID restrictions
Julie and Ian couldn’t hug because of restrictions (Credit: ITV)

“I wasn’t given a choice”

Julie described the moment she became pregnant at 14 during the show.

After giving birth, those around her told Julie she was “too young”.

“Instantly [it was] ‘you’re too young, you’re a child, it’s better for you if the baby’s adopted.’

Read more: ITV Long Lost Family: Viewers in tears over unexpected twist as mum searches for her family in Hong Kong

“I wasn’t given a choice.”

Julie went on to have three more children with her husband, but always thought of Steven.

And now, they’re reunited in the most difficult of circumstances.

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