Christine McGuinness has admitted feeling unable to speak to anyone about the stresses of parenting three children with autism.
The 31-year-old model – whose children with TV presenter Paddy McGuinness, six-year-old twins Leo and Penelope and three-year-old Felicity have all been diagnosed with autism – confessed she keeps her feelings bottled up for the sake of her family.
Christine told OK! Magazine: “I admit I’m the worst when it comes to telling people when I’m struggling. I will never say if I’ve had a bad day and, to be honest, there’s no one I feel I can speak to.
“The day Felicity got diagnosed, Paddy and I had to take separate cars as he had to be somewhere and I cried all the way home. I felt I had no-one I could call because opening up about it would just make me break down.”
She added: “I just don’t feel there’s anyone in my life that I would fully trust with anything. And then it’s also that fear that if I get upset and let my emotions out, I won’t be able to get myself back together.”
Autism is a developmental disorder which can affect social interaction and the ability to communicate. Christine admitted it had caused her to lose friends as people were not always understanding about her children’s behaviour.
The former Miss Liverpool, who is an ambassador for The National Autistic Society, said she didn’t feel she had time for therapy or even friends, adding: “That’s just something else I’ve accepted.”
In 2017 Top Gear presenter Paddy, 46, said he never felt happy in himself, since his children had been diagnosed.
Christine said: “It was heartbreaking. I know he didn’t mean he wasn’t happy with me or the children, just that it’s difficult to switch off when we’re at home. There’s no time for us as a couple. No quality time, no date nights.
“Not even time to have a laugh together. We’re full-time carers and the kids come before everything. But we have to stay strong as a unit for our kids.”
But the former beauty queen said she felt encouraged by others being more open and accepting of autism and urged others to keep the conversation going.