Paddy McGuinness spiralled into depression as he refused to accept kids’ autism

Top Gear host Paddy McGuinness opens up in his BBC documentary with wife Christine about how he struggled to accept his children’s diagnoses

Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism trailer

Paddy McGuinness shares three beautiful children with his wife Christine – but admits he initially struggled to accept them for who they are.

The couple share twins Penelope and Leo, eight, and daughter Felicity, five, who have all been diagnosed with autism.

Christine, who is autistic herself, opened up about the children’s unique personalities and needs in her book A Beautiful Nightmare.

And now, the couple are giving further insight into their family life in BBC documentary Paddy And Christine McGuinness: Our Family And Autism, which airs tonight.

In it, Paddy, 48, opens up about how he struggled to come to terms with the children’s diagnoses.

Paddy and Christine with their kids


Christine McGuinness)

He said: “The early days, before we had a diagnosis, were really tough. They wouldn’t sleep, they had meltdowns at loud noises and bright lights. Nothing we did helped. So we kept the curtains closed and hardly let anyone in the house.”

Admitting he ended up seeing a therapist after spiralling into depression and refusing to talk about it, he added: “It chipped away at me, with all of the things you have to do, things you have to deal with as a parent of children with autism. It dawned on me that, that’s it, that’s it for ever. There’s no ‘they’ll get better as the years go on’.

“In that whole haze of clinical depression, if you’d have given me the chance to take autism away from my children, I would have said ‘yeah’ but autism is part of who they are, so why would I want to take away a part of my children which I love?

The couple struggled to accept their kids’ autism



“I wasn’t unhappy for me. I was just stressed with the whole thing but I worked my bs off because I thought the only thing I can do for these kids is give them a life where they’re as comfortable as possible. What I should have been think­­ing is I need to give them as much love as I can. It’s more about having time with them. I realise that now.”

Christine, 33, admitted she was upset at first too, before she realised she had nothing to be sad about.

She said: “I was so upset about it because I didn’t understand it. Once I understood it, I realised it doesn’t change my children at all. My husband buried his head in work. There are times he just can’t cope with it. There are times when I want to shake him and say, ‘just get on with it. It’s not that big a deal’.

They open up in their BBC documentary


BBC/Raw Factual Ltd)

“But then the softer side of me thinks how awful must it be to live in a house with children who maybe you don’t understand or maybe you wished didn’t have this condition.”

* Paddy And Christine McGuinness: Our Family And Autism airs tonight at 9pm on BBC1

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