Anne Hegerty was already in her mid-40s when she was diagnosed with autism – and admits she "felt sorry" for her mum.
The Chase star talked about her Asperger’s Syndrome before taking part in I’m A Celebrity.
The 60-year-old’s autism means she can find social interaction and communication tricky after she was only properly diagnosed 15 years ago.
"There are people who don’t always understand how it works or how to relate to me," she said on The Jeremy Vine Show earlier this year.
"I’m kind of torn here, I’m aware that we can be an awful pain to our parents when we are young – and even when we’re older.
"I do feel slightly sorry for my mum, who basically didn’t know what she’d ended up with."
I’m A Celebrity’s Anne Hegerty feels sorry for her mum after autism diagnosis
Anne was on benefits and on the brink of becoming homeless when she found fame on The Chase.
The I’m A Celebrity star was a freelance proof reader – but fell into difficulty when her autism meant she struggled to keep on top of her accounts.
"I just simply couldn’t keep it going and the result was I wasn’t paying my bills, but I was trying not to go on benefits on the grounds that I just thought that was sort of giving up. I wasn’t giving up," she told Stuff .
She was living in a council house but fell behind with rent payments when someone from the Housing Association paid her a visit.
"She was stepping over piles of unopened mail and realised we had a problem. She said ‘we will fix this, I will get someone to help you,’" she recalled.
(Image: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock)
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A social worker helped Anne sort out her bills and taught her to cope with everyday life.
She was also put on the Disability Living Allowance – a benefit to assist people with disabilities to live everyday lives.
Once her life was back on track, Anne learned about the "high level quizzing circuit" and the rest is history.
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After finding fame on The Chase, Anne still claimed the benefit – at least up until last year – as it’s not means-tested.
"It is difficult to go down the street without being recognised. It’s weird and interesting," she said of her fame.
"There are times when you’re not absolutely crazy about it.. but I hope I never take it for granted."
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