How an overseas lockdown made Kate Langbroek’s family closer than ever

Despite the major challenges she faced in the early days of the pandemic, the star says she regrets nothing about going to Italy.
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Australian comedian, radio and television presenter Kate Langbroek may be one of our most noted media personalities, but the 56-year-old’s proudest achievement is her tight-knit family.

WATCH: An inside look of Kate Langbroek’s Italian coronavirus lockdown

Along with snaps of her appearances on The Project and Hughesy, We Have a Problem, Kate’s Instagram is peppered with heartwarming images of her beloved family – including her husband, Peter Lewis, and children Lewis, Sunday, Artie, and Jan.

Back in 2019, the radio star made the shock decision to relocate her family to Bologna, Italy for a gap year – which ended up being more than they bargained for.

The family were stuck in Italy during the early days of the pandemic. (Credit: Instagram)

Reflecting on the moment she told her kids that they would be extending their European trip by a year, Kate revealed the reactions were mixed.

“We told the kids we were staying for another year. And Lewis took it really terribly. And he didn’t speak to me for three days, and for us that is very unusual,” she told the Herald Sun.

“We had this horrendous dinner where the meal was beautiful and tasted like dust in your mouth.

“Lewis had tears in his eyes, Sunday started crying and the two young boys were fine with it all, but then the French waiters must have thought ‘what’s wrong with these people?’.”

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Kate’s kids weren’t all on board with the move. (Credit: Instagram)

“We all loved it except for Lewis, but even he loved it at the end,’’ she said of her eldest son, who was diagnosed with leukaemia as a child which meant the family were unable to travel.

“It was because he had a secret girlfriend in Australia,” she added.

“They got back together and then broke up just two months before coming home. We had the two best months we had because his heartstrings weren’t being pulled back here.

“One day, we’re in Italy, at the most glorious piazza. And he said, ‘I miss Woolworths’. Then two weeks later one of his mates from school, Guido, he was going away with his mate for the weekend and Guido’s mum turned up in a red Ferrari. And I tapped on the window and said, ‘Are you missing Woolworths now?’.”

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Kate made the decision to reside in Italy for a gap year. (Credit: Instagram)

Despite the family enjoying their Italian adventure, with the star showcasing delicious food and spectacular landscapes on social media, just months into their trip COVID hit, with Kate and her family being forced into a brutal lockdown.

“We were just blindsided by it,’’ she told the publication, adding, “If we cast our minds back to the people we were, would we have ever thought that things that happened would ever happen?”

“It was originally two weeks and ended up being nearly four months. Restrictions just got tighter and tighter, to the point people couldn’t even take their dogs out.

“We knew lots of people with COVID and a few older people who died,” she explained.

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Kate’s fmily were forced into lockdown. (Credit: Instagram)

“We knew so many people who had it. My yoga teacher and one of Sunday’s girlfriends, their cleaner got it, so it was just the ripple effect.

“You needed a permit to go to the supermarket. I gather the second lockdown in Melbourne was brutal but we were over there going, ‘but you can go 5km’. We couldn’t go 500m. I was cooking – I lost count after 1200 meals. It was just where you were in the world.”

After finally returning to Melbourne at Christmas, the gang were again herded into strict lockdown as Melbourne’s COVID cases climbed.

“Our family is really good at lockdowns,” Kate told Stellar following her return.

WATCH: Radio star Kate Langbroek talks about being in lockdown in Italy

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“They say if you do the thing you love for an hour a day, within five years you’ll be at the top of your field, and I really hope our family thing is not lockdown.”

Despite the challenges, Kate is adamant that she would do it all again, saying the unusual experience brought her beloved family closer together.

“We’ve had moments of frustration but I’ve realised my family are pretty nice people to be locked up with,” she said.

“The kids are resilient, positive, never bored and happy… although I have a 16-year-old daughter, so that’s a relative concept.”


Kate said she did not regret the experience. (Credit: Instagram)

She also told the Herald Sun that “not once” did she regret her unprecedented situation.

Since her return Down Under, Kate has detailed her wild experience in her book, Ciao Bella! Six Take Italy.

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