I Am Madeleine McCann girl Julia Wandelt breaks silence on furore as Kate and Gerry ‘accept apology’

Almost a year on from her claims she was the missing girl…

Julia Wandelt, the girl who claimed “I am Madeleine McCann“, has declared that she “never meant to hurt anyone” after making her shock claims early last year.

Back in February 2023, after a childhood lost to abuse, Julia created an Instagram account called “I am Madeleine McCann”.

She revealed that she was certain she was the missing girl, who disappeared from her Portugal holiday apartment in May 2007. Madeleine was aged just three years old at the time.

After a DNA test, an appearance on an American talk show and the involvement of a celebrity psychic, Julia was eventually revealed not to be Madeleine. Instead, her DNA appeared to match up with the story that her family had told her.

Now, speaking to BBC Radio 4 podcast series Why Do You Hate Me? from her home in Poland, Julia has broken her silence for the first time to address what happened almost a year ago.

Julia Wandelt on Dr Phil
Julia Wandelt gained notoriety the world over with her Madeleine McCann claims (Credit: YouTube)

‘I am Madeleine McCann’ girl Julia Wandelt ‘never meant to hurt anyone’

Speaking to the podcast, Julia shared: “I never meant to hurt anyone – including the McCanns. I really wanted to know who I am.”

The episode is one that Julia appears to wholly regret. She admitted if she could go back in time she’d have acted very differently.

“I would never go on social media. It can destroy you,” she explained.

Julia then continued: “I knew that there will be people who will not believe me or hate me, but I didn’t expect that I will get death threats, for example. It was something that I don’t understand. People knew that I was abused and they all knew that I deal with depression.

“I was trying to be strong even when people said, you should die. You should be raped, you should be killed, you should be murdered, you shouldn’t exist in this world.”

Madeleine McCann as a child
Madeleine went missing in 2007 (Credit: Splash News)

Julia’s apology to Kate and Gerry

Speaking about saying sorry to the McCanns, Julia revealed that it upset her that she may have brought the couple “more sadness”.

“I apologised to the McCanns because I don’t know them personally. I don’t know if they were watching this journey, if they were sad or whatever. And I just wanted to say sorry. Because every person can react in a different way and maybe it brought them more sadness,” Julia said.

They are all willing to accept Julia’s apology and forgive her for the situation that unfolded online.

“I didn’t want them to feel sad.” She then went on to add: “I really wanted to know who I am, and I knew that it could make them feel sad.”

Kate and Gerry McCann at a vigil
Kate and Gerry are thought to have accepted Julia’s apology (Credit: Splash News)

Podcast host Marianna Spring said she reached out to the Find Madeleine campaign, run by Kate and Gerry, her family’s official search organisation, and people connected to the McCanns.

And, she then claimed, that they have accepted Julia’s apology.

“Those people, who have also been affected by some of Julia’s content, told me they are all willing to accept Julia’s apology and forgive her for the situation that unfolded online,” she shared.

Read more: From initial claims to DNA results – full timeline of Julia Wandelt’s claims

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor