Susan Boyle has revealed that she has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that affects a person’s ability to socialize and communicate with others.
Boyle told The Guardian that she went to a Scottish specialist a year ago, and discovered that her IQ was above average. But there was something else, she added, something that doctors incorrectly diagnosed as brain damage when she was a child.
“I have Asperger’s,” she said. “It is a relief.”
The 52-year-old, who shot to international fame in 2009 with her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables on Britain’s Got Talent, said her then-unknown condition made her feel like an outsider growing up. Boyle suffered from oxygen deprivation during birth, which resulted in learning disorders. She was nicknamed “Susie Simple” at school and suffered from depression. She struggled, and still continues to struggle, with relationships and being able to communicate, and said she can never tell if people are being genuine. But despite those difficulties, Boyle hasn’t let her condition dictate her life.
“Asperger’s doesn’t define me,” she said. “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.”
Part of why Susan Boyle does what she does is because of her mother, Bridget, who died in 2007 at the age of 91. While Bridget Boyle passed away before her daughter became famous, the Scottish Grammy nominee said she believes her mother helped her fulfill a promise she made to do something with her life.
“Spiritually, she’s with me all the time,” Boyle said. “She has had a word with someone upstairs, because I wouldn’t have had this otherwise. There has been some sort of intervention in some way. I do feel that.”
Boyle added, “I am here for a reason, and it must be to make people happy. I hope I can do that through my music.”