Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter
Paddy McGuinness said he is “very proud” of his ex-wife Christine after the airing of her new documentary, which explores her recent autism diagnosis.
In the BBC One programme, Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism, Christine uncovers a world of autistic women and girls who have been misunderstood by science and society after her diagnosis in 2021.
The 34-year-old TV star and author also speaks honestly about her marriage to Top Gear presenter Paddy (49) and why they split after 11 years.
The couple wed in 2011 and share children Felicity and twins Leo and Penelope, all three of whom are autistic.
Paddy and Christine revealed last July they had separated, seven months after their moving BBC documentary Our Family And Autism, which reflects on Christine and her three children’s diagnoses.
After the release of Christine’s latest documentary, Paddy posted a photograph of her on Instagram and wrote: “Very proud of Christine for making this new documentary highlighting Autism, particularly in women.
“It’ll be a massive help to our daughters in years to come along with our little lad. #unmaskingmyautism #awareness #acceptence.”
Christine previously said she stayed in her marriage because it was “safe” and she “doesn’t like change”, which she realised after being diagnosed with autism.
Ahead of the documentary’s release, she said: “I didn’t want my family to ever fall apart and that’s why I stayed married. As an autistic woman, I like to stay where I’m comfortable, I like things to stay the same.
“I understand myself better now because that’s where I was comfortable just knowing that it was me, Patrick and the children – but sometimes change has to happen.
“You just have to deal with it in the best way possible.”
Christine, who suffered sexual abuse as a teenager, said when she first met Paddy he felt “very safe”.
The documentary was also a journey of self-discovery for Christine, who uncovers the links between her autism, having an eating disorder and being abused when she was younger.
The programme received praise from the public and famous faces, including TV star Carol Vorderman, who tweeted: “Just watched Christine McGuinness programme about Autism. A beautiful show @BBC.
“My son was in a school for children with special educational needs for many years. I know many people here have gone through similar as a child/parent. If you missed it, try it on catch up?”
Autism charities were among those to thank Christine for shining a light on the topic, with Ambitious About Autism writing on Twitter: “Thank you Christine McGuinness and all the women who took part in #Unmaskingmyautism for sharing your journeys.
“Its so important to keep broadening understanding of autistic women and girls so more can find answers and avoid being mislabelled or misdiagnosed.”
Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism is on BBC iPlayer.