Christine McGuinness has revealed that she never ate a single school meal and suffered from an eating disorder since a young age.
The mum-of-three opens up about her past in BBC documentary Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism, in which she traces the link between her condition, her childhood eating disorder, teenage sexual abuse and her marriage to Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness.
The pair, who share three children together who are also diagnosed with autism, separated last summer after 15 years together.
At one point in the documentary, Christine shares how ‘petrified’ she is as an ‘extremely vulnerable’ single parent, later opening up about her harrowing experiences of sexual abuse.
She elsewhere talks about suffering from an eating disorder, and her anorexia battle into adulthood.
The Real Housewives of Cheshire star says: ‘I grew up in Liverpool on a big council estate with my mum and two siblings, and I have really happy memories of my early childhood.
‘But certainly, back in the 90s there was no understanding of autism.’
Christine went on to talk about feeling like a ‘loner’ as a child, saying: ‘The thought of going into school everyday was just horrific. It was just the worst place for me to go.
‘When I had physical outbursts, that was when I just couldn’t control it.
‘I remember throwing chairs in the classroom, I remember pushing tables over, I remember screaming and shouting.
‘Then of course, lunchtimes again, the canteen in high school was huge – it was loud, and the queue would go all the way down the corridor.
‘I only ever did that once and then I never ate at school ever again.’
Christine continued: ‘From age 11, I didn’t eat at all. I never had periods, I remember my mum asked me about it one day, when I was 14 or 15, and I was like, “No not at all,” and she took me to see a doctor.
‘That’s when I was diagnosed with an eating disorder I suppose.’
Christine’s years of disordered eating continued after school.
She went on to explain that her food issues are ‘sensory’, leaving her struggling with different textures and smells, and now she only eats food that’s ‘dry and beige’.
Christine also goes back to the beginning of her anorexia battle in her autobiography A Beautiful Nightmare, and says she first developed the disease when she was just eight years old, ‘and it was pretty bad for about 10 years’.
Her comedian husband Paddy helped her ‘gently’ change her eating habits when the couple moved in together, and she has slowly been recovering since.
Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism is available to watch on BBCiPlayer.
If you suspect you, a family member or friend has an eating disorder, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or at [email protected], for information and advice on the best way to get appropriate treatment
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