I’m A Celebrity’s Anne Hegerty was the first campmate to break down in tears last night as she sobbed to her teammates about feeling overwhelmed.
The Chase star, who is better known as The Governess on the ITV daytime show fronted by Bradley Walsh, cried with exhaustion after her yellow team missed out on sleeping in the comparatively luxurious Croc Creek and had to kip on the dirty ground in Snake Rock because they lost the first challenge.
Anne, 60, was comforted by fellow stars Emily Atack, James McVey and Fleur East as she threatened to quit the show after her horror start.
“I’m really close to saying I can’t do this,” she admitted.
Her teammates gave her a cuddle and reassured her that it was normal to feel overwhelmed by the stresses of jungle life.
But Anne is finding it extra tough because of her Asperger’s syndrome – a form of autism that can make social interaction and communication difficult.
She opened up about her autism earlier this year on The Jeremy Vine Show, revealing she’d only been properly diagnosed in her 40s.
“People say to me, ‘I understand you suffer from Asperger’s’ or ‘you suffer from autism’, and I’m like, ‘no, I have Asperger’s, I suffer from idiots,” she joked.
“Because you know there are people who don’t always understand how it works or how to relate to me. 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.”
Anne also spoke of her difficult childhood on I’m A Celebrity last night, telling the camera it had been hard growing up.
“When you’ve grown up always knowing that there’s something that seemed to be different about you from most people – and not being able to understand until my mid-forties that what we were talking about here was autism – I’ve had to learn an awful let about myself and what I can and can’t do and what I can or can’t cope with,” she said.
“At the moment I’m quietly panicked.”
Anne also revealed ahead of the show that ITV bosses have told her to warn them if she needs support.
She struggles with ‘faceblindness’ – a condition that makes it harder for her to identify people she’s met – and doesn’t let others into her home because it’s so cluttered.
“People always say to me, ‘Where do you keep your autism?” and I always say, ”It’s it’s behind my front door and you’re not coming in.'”
For the same reason, Anne doesn’t like going on holiday.
“I just need everything to go quiet, for people to stop bothering me and not thinking about when I’m going to get packed,” she said.
“I like to have my own kitchen so I can cook and a washing machine so I can do washing. The things you can’t get in a hotel.”
But the same condition that makes reading social cues hard has also helped Anne to thrive on The Chase, because she has an encyclopedic knowledge of quiz trivia.
Anne got her TV job in 2010 thanks to a social worker who helped her apply to ITV, and has been on the show ever since.
She’s been ruled out of tonight’s Bushtucker Trial on medical grounds – although neither she nor producers have gone into detail about whether her autism is a factor in not doing it.
*I’m A Celebrity continues tonight at 9pm on ITV
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