Susan Boyle 'relieved' after Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis

Scottish singing sensation hits out at claims she has ‘brain damage’, instead says she suffers from high-functioning form of autism

The singer Susan Boyle has revealed for the first time that she has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism.

The Scottish mezzo-soprano, who rose to international fame after appearing on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, hit out at previous claims that she had “brain damage”, instead saying that “it’s been something else”.

Speaking in an interview with the Observer, Ms Boyle said she went to see a specialist in Scotland, who told her that her IQ was above average. She was told she has Asperger’s, and said it was “a relief” to finally receive a diagnosis.

“I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me,” she said, explaining that her condition made her different to her peers as a child. “That made me more determined to be where I want to be,” she added.

Asperger’s is defined by the National Autistic Society as having “similarities with autism, [though] people with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems with speaking and are often of average, or above average, intelligence”. It adds that they “may have specific learning difficulties”, but do not usually have the “disabilities associated with autism”.

Ms Boyle has sold an estimated 19 million albums worldwide, and was the first British female artist ever to have a number one album in both the UK and the US charts at the same time.

“Asperger's doesn't define me,” she told the Observer. “It's a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”

The singer has previously admitted she suffered from depression when she was younger, and said she feels there is less of a stigma surrounding mental illness than there used to be.

Though her work requires a great deal of travel, she still lives in her family home in Blackburn, West Lothian, and agreed she is almost always surrounded by a network of support.

“I am not strong on my own,” she said. “When I have the support of people around me, I am fine.”

Ms Boyle has a cameo role in the festive film A Christmas Candle, and is set to be featured in a Fox Searchlight production about her life story. She is tipped to be played by the Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living