The former 98 Degrees hottie, Nick Lachey, is opening up about his own personal experience with autism, a super sensitive topic in today’s world. Lachey shares that his younger brother, Zac, was diagnosed with autism when he was seven. Nick hasn’t spoken publicly of the topic before in consideration for his brother. Zac, who is now 19 years old, has given Nick the go ahead to talk about his diagnosis. Nick Lachey said he waited to come forward until Zac felt “comfortable with that happening”.
Zac was adopted in the late 1990’s, after Drew and Nick Lachey struck out from home to form the band 98 Degrees. Nick says his mom could see in the early years of school that the child wasn’t learning “in the typical way”. When he was seven years old, they learned Zac had a form of autism, specifically Aspberger syndrome.
“He’s referred to as high-functioning autistic,” said Lachey in an interview with CBS News. “So he’s verbal and able to go to a fairly typical school. He’s socially different than what we perceive as normal for kids. He gets anxious and he’s very focused. He hones in one on thing and he can’t be taken out of it. He’s a good kid, a sweet kid. He just learns differently than most people and reacts to situations differently.”
“My family has dealt with that, and we’re inspired by his courage and strength. He’s been an inspiration to me…” Nick Lachey says.
“There’s just so many questions and very few answers,” continues Lachey. “It’s just something we have to do more research on and we have to get the answers that these families so desperately seek. Mine included.”
Nick Lachey’s love for his brother is the driving force behind his involvement with the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction, of which Nick is now the spokesperson. The program sells bunnies that have been signed by celebrities, including Lachey. Others who have signed a gold bunny include Celine Dion, Tom Hanks, Lucy Hale, Blake Shelton, and more. All proceeds benefit Autism Speaks, an organization that sponsors autism research. An additional 10 cents from each bunny sold between now and Easter will be donated, as well.
“The work they do in terms of research; there are so many questions where autism’s concerned. One in 68 kids will now be diagnosed, and my younger brother Zac is one of those kids,” Lachey said in an interview with Good Morning America.
It cannot be easy to stand before the world and bare your personal life. We applaud Nick Lachey for speaking out on a subject that touches so many lives. Well done, Nick. Well done.
[Image courtesy of Ryan Seacrest]