Until now, the story of Susan Boyle—the Scottish singer who rose into the spotlight after her performance on Britain’s Got Talent—hasn’t been fair. Part of the problem is that people haven’t had all the information, and today’s news should help clear things up. Susan Boyle has revealed that she has Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism on the high-functioning end of the spectrum.
In the past, she’s been described as “slow,” and former BBC host Paul Henry even called her “retarded,” saying, “Here’s the really interesting revelation: she is in fact retarded… And if you look at her carefully, you can make it out.” As a child, she was bullied and given the name “Susie Simple.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Susan Boyle reacted to being judged and explained:
Some articles have said I have brain damage. It’s been something else. I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me. I have Asperger’s. It is a relief.
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 greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.
Diagnosis of Asperger’s has increased in recent years. You can read more about it here.
Susan Boyle’s 2009 debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, is the UK’s best-selling debut album of all time. Her latest album, Home For Christmas, is out now.