Susan Boyle, who in 2009 bowled over the judges and audience of Britain's Got Talent, has opened up about being diagnosed last year with a form of autism known as Asperger’s syndrome. The 52-year-old singer and unlikely star was previously led to believe she suffered from brain damage related to oxygen deprivation during birth.
According to an article in the Star, Boyle was bullied as a child and referred to as "Simple Susan" before discovering she has an above-average IQ.
“I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me,” Boyle said. “Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”
The news of her condition comes just as Boyle drew criticism for her cameo role in a film The Christmas Candle. Co-star Lesley Manville regarded Boyle's casting as "disturbing":
“It’s a shame such a nice cameo role was not in the hands of any number of actresses who can act and sing and would have done it admirably."
True not all singers can act. Admittedly, very few actresses can carry a tune like Boyle. Her performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis (below) stunned the world, and seemed at odds with her withdrawn disposition. More than 14 million records later, and with her fourth album “Home for Christmas” just released, the singer hopes that others will gain new understanding of her personal challenges.
“I would say I have relationship difficulties, communicative difficulties, which lead to a lot of frustration. If people were a bit more patient, that would help,” Boyle said.
“Asperger’s doesn’t define me. It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”
So little is still known about how Asperger's presents in females, so it's refreshing to hear of a celebrity broaching the discussion. Good on Susan Boyle for raising autism awareness!