Christine McGuinness says she stayed in 15-year relationship with Paddy for longer than she should have
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@mrscmcguinness / BBC
Christine McGuinness has said she stayed in 15-year relationship with Paddy for longer than she should have.
The 34-year-old model bravely opened up about her life, including her autism diagnosis in 2021, in the new BBC special Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism.
This isn't the first time she's spoken about the topic, having joined her former partner and Take Me Out host for the documentary Our Family and Autism.
The couple's three children - nine-year-old twins Penelope and Leo and six-year-old Felicity - all have autism too.
In July last year, Paddy and Christine announced they were separating after 11 years of marriage, but will remain living together in their family home in Cheshire.
Reflecting on why she stayed in the relationship in the new doc, Christine said she got together with Paddy at a time when she 'felt safe' in her life.
She made the revelation while speaking in an autism support group, where she discussed her struggles with the issue of consent, something that can be tough for people who have the developmental disability.
Due to wanting to be liked and not being able to pick up on social cues, some people with autism might say yes to certain situations that they don't want to be in.
Elsewhere in the documentary, Christine bravely shared about surviving childhood sexual abuse and being raped as a teenager.
When she met Paddy, she explains that she felt 'safe', telling the group: "I wonder if that's why I stayed in that relationship for 15 years.
"We're separated now, but I stayed with him for 15 years.
"And I know being a single woman, being a single parent is an extremely vulnerable place to be and it petrifies me."
Christine confirmed that she felt more able to leave the marriage following her diagnosis.
Growing tearful, she said: "I've stayed in a place where I was probably unhappy because it was safe and I don't like change.
"Ultimately, I wanted to keep my family together."
The mum-of-three explained how her diagnosis has helped her understand herself and started a quest to figure out her identity, while also trying to be herself unapologetically.
"I understand myself better now because that’s where I was comfortable just knowing that it was me, Patrick and the children - but sometimes change has to happen," Christine said.
"You just have to deal with it in the best way possible."
Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.
f you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.org