Susan Boyle Reveals She Has Asperger’s Syndrome

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 8 2013 12:07 PM

Susan Boyle Reveals She Has Asperger’s Syndrome

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Susan Boyle at Magic FM studios recording her Magic FM Christmas Special with Neil Fox on November 12, 2013 in London, England

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Scottish Singer Susan Boyle, who shot to worldwide fame in 2009 when she sang I Dreamed a Dream on Britain’s Got Talent, says she was relieved to learn she has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. Boyle tells the Observer newspaper that she was told she had “brain damage” as a child. “It was the wrong diagnosis when I was a kid,” Boyle said, adding that “I always knew it was an unfair label. Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”

Boyle has become one of the bestselling British female artists, and Fox Searchlight is reportedly interested in doing a movie about her life, but her stardom has been accompanied by “reports of volatile behavior and emotional outbursts,” notes the Observer. Asperger’s impacts a person’s social and communication skills, often making it difficult for someone to know how to behave appropriately in different social contexts. It had long seemed that maybe success had been too much to bear for the woman who was bullied and called “Susie Simple” as a child. She discovered though that there was nothing wrong with her intelligence: “I was told my IQ was above average.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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