I’m A Celebrity 2018: Anne Hegerty talks about autism with Rita Simons

Lewis Collier
November 20, 2018

Hegerty, who stars as the stern Governess in ITV's teatime quiz show The Chase, has Asperger's and had told how elements of being in the camp could be a "source of stress".

"I'm really close to saying I can't do this", she said to some of the other contestants who gathered to console her.

Hegerty was officially diagnosed with Asperger's in 2005, two years after first suspecting she might have the condition.

'It wasn't until 2003 when I was 45, ' Anne revealed. She is an incredible person and she is the person who gave me the confidence to speak about my diagnosis to other people.

After being comforted by her campmates, Anne told the Bush Telegraph: "They're absolutely brilliant, they're a fantastic bunch. The Governess is awesome!"

Before going on the show, Anne revealed that show bosses feared she wouldn't be able to cope Down Under due to her autism.

When one critic on social media responded to Jenny's tweet with a comment that Anne put herself forward for the show and was "getting well paid", The Vixen (as she's nicknamed on "The Chase") continued: "Anne has Asperger's Syndrome which has a positive benefit on her quizzing ability but also means that a lot of things that us Neurotypicals don't think twice about are incredibly hard and stressful for her".

Trying to make sense of it, Rita added: 'So is it more a case of you've had to go, I should feel like this, so I should act like this because that's how I'm supposed to react like now'.

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Shaun Wallace, the show's "Dark Destroyer", tweeted Hegerty, saying: "We are all rooting for you!"

In the opening episode, viewers saw Hegerty break down in tears as the harsh reality of the jungle hit her.

The professional quizzer spoke about living with Asperger's ahead of her arrival in the jungle, insisting that she did not want her fellow celebrities to feel sorry for her.

Elsewhere, Anne was in tears during the launch of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here on Sunday, as she threatened to quit the show just hours after entering camp. I think it will be quite structured in there.

Meanwhile, during an interview with Starts at 60 earlier this year before she signed up to the show, Anne admitted her biggest fear about doing a show like I'm A Celebrity would be her autism affecting the way she interacts with her fellow stars.

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.

It is estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the United Kingdom have ASD.

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