Tara Palmer-Tomkinson: 'I'm not on drugs, I have autism'

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how an individual person relates to and communicates with other people

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson has battled with substance abuse, hyperactivity and has long been the subject of tabloid fodder thanks to her hard-partying, socialite lifestyle.

But the 42-year-old godchild of Prince Charles has since had a revelation. She has since been told she's been living with autism.

"I was diagnosed as having a high degree of autism," she told the Mail on Sunday in an interview.

"It was a shock but could explain why I've always lived my life at such a frantic level.

"I was even given Ritalin as a child to make me concentrate. No one could understand why I behaved a certain way. I do fidget and ramble when I speak, but I'm totally aware and focused."

She went on to claim that she feels many assume her sometimes erratic or unusual behaviour to be the result of drugs.

"Sometimes it might seem like I'm on something, but I've worked hard to stay off drugs since I left rehab in 1999," she said.

However, she said learning from her psychologist that she was on the high autistic spectrum was actually a "relief".


"I had a reason for my odd behaviour. It's probably why I'm very driven and always throwing myself into everything that I do.

"Now I'm beginning to understand myself, I don't ever want to of back to feeling like some mad woman."

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how an individual person relates to and communicates with other people, and how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that people with autism may share certain difficulties, but that it will affect their lives in different ways.

Often, females who suffer from autism are diagnosed later on in their lives for a number of reasons. Not least because as a gender, they are often better able to follow social actions by delayed imitation and therefore mask the signs.

This means that thousands of autistic girls struggle through early life, aware that they are different but not why they are different.

Elsewhere in the interview, she discussed her past struggles to overcome drug addiction.

"I really regret the first time I did coke," she said. "It was with a boyfriend and while I don’t regret the fun I had on it, I do wish I had never started.

"I started lying to everyone close to me. I became deceptive and deceitful at hiding the fact that I was using.

"When you get sober only your family and good friends are pleased. I’ve learned that sobriety doesn't suit everyone around you.

"I went to a friend’s house for the weekend and they told me they had put a joint in my bedroom in case I wanted to light up before bed. I decided not to stay.

"Then the host escorted me to my car and said, 'You were so much more fun when you were stoned.' I left in floods of tears.

"I’ve ditched all the toxic people I used to have around me and I won’t stay anywhere that drugs are being used."

Read More: Palmer-Tomkinson Became 'Recluse' To Battle Drugs
Message From Autistic Girls Will Change The Way You Think
New Insights Into The Mystery Of Autism
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

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

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants