Scottish singer Susan Boyle revealed yesterday that she has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
Boyle, a 52-year-old church volunteer who became a global singing sensation, told Britain's Observer newspaper she had been diagnosed a year ago and spoke of her relief after years of bullying for her learning difficulties.
"It was the wrong diagnosis when I was a kid," she said.
"I was told I had brain damage. 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 shot to fame on the TV show Britain's Got Talent in 2009.
A devout Catholic and lifelong singleton who lived on welfare handouts, she became an overnight sensation after her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream from the musical Les Miserables went viral on the Internet.
Boyle's quirky sense of humour and golden voice won her legions of fans, but her rapid rise to fame and the huge press attention drove her close to a breakdown.
Asperger's affects communication and social interaction. Sufferers have difficulty picking up on social cues and gauging appropriate behaviour.
Boyle, who was nicknamed "Susie Simple" by her classmates, was deprived of oxygen at birth and was bullied throughout her school years.
But recent tests have revealed that she has above-average intelligence, she told the Observer.
"I was told my IQ was above average," she said.