Christine McGuinness has revealed she has been diagnosed with autism along with her three children who all have the condition.
The media personality, 33, made the admission in her new book Christine McGuinness: A Beautiful Nightmare and told how her husband Paddy McGuinness suspected it for years.
Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
In an extract seen by
Candid: Christine McGuinness has revealed she has been diagnosed with autism along with her three children who all have the condition
‘My issues with food, my social struggles, how hard I find it to make friends and stay focused, and my indecisiveness. The way I float through life reminds me of how my eldest daughter Penelope is.’
Christine added that while she was not completely surprised by the diagnosis, it was emotional to accept.
The model explained that she was diagnosed in August after she and Paddy, 48, were invited to meet Sir Simon Baron-Cohen who is the director of Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre.
The couple both filled out an AQ Questionnaire which is designed to measure the expression of Autism-Spectrum traits in a person.
Honest: The media personality, 33, made the admission in her new book Christine McGuinness: A Beautiful Nightmare and told how her husband Paddy McGuinness, 48, suspected it for years
THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with autism have trouble with social, emotional and communication skills that usually develop before the age of three and last throughout a person’s life.
Specific signs of autism include:
- Reactions to smell, taste, look, feel or sound are unusual
- Difficulty adapting to changes in routine
- Unable to repeat or echo what is said to them
- Difficulty expressing desires using words or motions
- Unable to discuss their own feelings or other people’s
- Difficulty with acts of affection like hugging
- Prefer to be alone and avoid eye contact
- Difficulty relating to other people
- Unable to point at objects or look at objects when others point to them
Christine explained the scale goes from 0 to 50 and an average neurotypical person would score about 15, which Paddy did, while hers was 36.
On being given the diagnosis, Christine wrote: ‘It was a lot to take in and once my appointment was over, I broke down in floods of tears. I think it’s because the news conjured up a mixture of emotions and while I’m not totally shocked and it’s a relief, I’m just really sad for my younger self.’
Christine said Paddy told her he suspected she was autistic for years and was always conscious that she had ‘quirks’ and was ‘a bit different’.
She said it often takes her hours to get ready or making simple decisions like deciding between two plain T-shirts.
Family: The model shares twins Penelope and Leo, seven, and Felicity, four, with comedian husband Paddy
Christine said she never had a single night out during her 20s and never had a 21st or a 30th because she would make every excuse not to socialise.
The star added she is the best version of herself when she is with her kids Penelope, Leo, both eight, and Felicity, five, and believes this is because they are all autistic.
Christine said certain behaviours she has now make sense in the wake of her diagnosis like her need to rearrange hotel rooms when she checks in or her preference for beige food.
The model said she and Paddy have not told their children they are autistic yet but thinks telling them she is too will make it easier.
Christine acknowledged she is concerned people might treat her differently now her diagnosis is public however she feels she is ‘living proof’ people with autism can do anything.
Christine wrote: ‘I have been confirmed as autistic. It’s strange, but I’ve noticed there are little hints throughout my life that I’m autistic and more like my children than I ever could have imagined’
Elsewhere in the book, Christine revealed she had anorexia when she was eight years old and Paddy called an ambulance ‘a few times’ when she was struggling with an eating disorder during lockdown.
Christine – who was born in Blackpool and grew up on a council estate in Merseyside – also talked about her childhood.
She shared that her mother Joanne was a cleaner and ‘juggled’ cleaning jobs so that the family could afford central heating and food on the table.
Christine also recalled an incident when she was caught shoplifting shoes from Asda as a youngster.
After being held in a ‘back room’ by police, Christine’s mum arrived and explained she could not afford to buy her daughter new shoes.
Future: The model said she and Paddy have not told their children they are autistic yet but thinks telling them she is too will make it easier
Noticing Christine’s ‘battered loafers’, police allowed her to keep the shoes she had stolen.
By the time Christine reached secondary school, she was using alcohol as a ‘crutch’.
Elsewhere, Christine claimed she was raped at a house party aged 13, and subsequently ‘blamed’ herself because she had been under the influence of alcohol.
The model said she lost her virginity when one of her classmates reportedly climbed into a bed she had been sleeping in and forced himself upon her.
She claimed that members of staff at her school gave her ‘very little sympathy’ and tried to convince her that she had ‘got it wrong’.
Awful: Also in the book, Christine claimed she was once raped at a house party aged 13, and subsequently ‘blamed’ herself because she had been under the influence of alcohol (pictured in 2020)
Detailing how she was abused, she wrote: ‘I remember saying ‘no’ and I tried to push him off, but I was so drunk I couldn’t physically move him.
‘After that I blamed myself massively. I know as an adult it wasn’t my fault, but I still think if I wasn’t drunk it wouldn’t have happened. But I’m OK, thank God.’
The TV personality went on to claim she was sexually abused by ‘someone close to her family’ between the ages of nine and 13 who made her watch videos ‘with sexual stuff in it’ as well as ‘tapes of people being murdered’.
She penned: ‘He’d also take me on days out to places like the beach, and after playing in the sea he would tell me he didn’t have any dry clothes. I would then have to travel home naked.’
Christine wrote that she had heard the man – who was ‘loved’ by everyone – later went to prison for abusing a child.
It followed an investigation surrounding claims of paedophilia where he wasn’t prosecuted for his crimes, she said.
A survey by UN Women UK recently revealed that 80% of women of all ages in Britain have been sexually harassed.
For confidential support call Rape Crisis England & Wales on 0808 802 9999 or visit rapecrisis.org.uk/get-help for more details.
Christine McGuinness: A Beautiful Nightmare is out on November 25.
She wrote: ‘I know as an adult it wasn’t my fault, but I still think if I wasn’t drunk it wouldn’t have happened. But I’m OK, thank God’