Christine McGuinness talks about marriage to Paddy

Paddy and Christine McGuinness discusses their children’s autism

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The pair, announced their split last July. They share nine-year-old twins Penelope and Leo, and six-year-old daughter Felicity, who all have autism. The former model revealed that she still lives in the same house as Paddy, 49, because the kids rely on a strict routine.

She told how she masked elements of her own autism, diagnosed last year, during 11 years of marriage to the Top Gear host.

Christine said the realisation she had the condition helped her see she had “faked a lifetime” as she tried to fit in, even before marrying Paddy.

She wanted to be the “perfect wife” and added: “I’d become an expert on playing a role. I was often alone and missed a lot of school before leaving at 14.

“My mum entered me into beauty pageants to help with my confidence and I’d morph into a different character to copy what the other girls were doing, ending up playing somebody who wasn’t me at all. I’d always wanted to be a wife. So once I met Patrick, I fully went into ‘perfect wife’ mode. You know: I will stay in, I will cook and clean and make sure I’m the best wife I can be.

“I was always pretending to be something else, rather than simply being me, and that’s all part of masking.”

But the ex-model insists the pair will have a “bond for life”. The Real Housewives of Cheshire star said: “I want the children to see Mummy and Daddy getting along, so we will have family days out and live in the same home.

“We’re kind of in and out, with our own busy schedules, but we get on. We have a bond for life with the children and I’ll always look at Patrick as family.

“We don’t want any dramatic changes, so it’s going to be a slow process moving forward.We don’t really know what the future holds. Our priority is for the children to remain comfortable and happy in a loving family.”

The star is “doing OK” after the split with Paddy and says her children inspire her to carry on. She also told Psychologies magazine: “They’re my biggest inspiration. The way they deal with their challenges at such a young age makes me think that if they can get through it, surely as a grown woman I can too.”

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