Reality TV star says that being diagnosed with autism helped her work out why she stayed with husband Paddy – because she felt safe and doesn’t like change.
The mum of three autistic children, 34 – who separated from the TV host last summer after 15 years together – said: ‘I didn’t want my family to ever fall apart and that’s why I stayed married.
‘As an autistic woman, I like to stay where I’m comfortable – I like things to stay the same.
‘I understand myself better now. That’s where I was comfortable – just knowing that it was me, Patrick and the children. But sometimes change has to happen. You just have to deal with it in the best way possible.’
The couple – who have twins Leo and Penelope, nine, and Felicity, seven – were rocked in 2018 when Paddy, 49, was pictured with former All Saints singer Nicole Appleton.
‘I was absolutely devastated by these pictures,’ she revealed later. After they split last June, claims emerged he also flirted with another woman.
Christine uncovers the issue of undiagnosed women and children in a new BBC One documentary. In it, she traces the link between her condition, her childhood eating disorder, teenage sexual abuse and marriage to Paddy.
After her diagnosis, she began a mission to figure out her identity. ‘I wanted to be the perfect wife and the perfect mum,’ she says.
‘I insisted on doing absolutely everything. I’m trying to not people-please as much, which is hard as that’s naturally me. I hate the thought of upsetting anyone.
‘I’m trying to say yes to more opportunities that scare me because I want to enjoy life and experience more.
‘But also say no to things I don’t want to do. I accept myself more. I’m a lot less apologetic about myself now. I’m proud of myself and I’m happy with where I am right now.’
The couple made another BBC documentary – Our Family And Autism – six months before splitting. In her new show, Christine meets a group of autistic mothers, which convinced her she didn’t need to fit in.
And she also reveals another radical change.
‘I had a wardrobe for clothes I’d wear at home, a wardrobe for social media, and a wardrobe for TV – all completely different,’ she says. ‘It was like three different people lived in that wardrobe and I didn’t know which one I was.’
Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism is on March 15 on BBC One (9pm) and iPlayer.