Christine McGuinness says she stayed in her marriage with Paddy for longer than she should have
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Christine McGuinness has opened up about the real reason she split from her husband Paddy after 15 years together, saying she stayed in the marriage longer than she should have.
The pair announced their breakup in July last year after 11 years of marriage and having three children together: nine-year-old twins Penelope and Leo and six-year-old Felicity.
In a joint statement shared at the time, the couple wrote: "We hadn't planned on sharing this publicly until we were ready but after the lack of privacy surrounding our personal life, we feel left with no other option but to clarify.
"A while ago we took the difficult decision to separate but our main focus as always is to continue loving and supporting our children."
They said that while it was 'not an easy decision to make', they are 'moving forward' in order to be the 'best parents' they can be.
Christine, 34, has now given more insight into her split with the 49-year-old presenter while discussing her autism diagnosis in a new BBC documentary titled Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism.
The model didn't find out about her diagnosis until she was 33, and she believes this is one of the reasons she stayed in the 'unhappy' relationship for so long.
While speaking in a support group about the impact of undiagnosed autism, one of the hosts describes how some women end up struggling with the issue of consent, and might say yes to certain situations that they didn't want to be in.
Responding to this idea, Christine says she found herself in that situation when she was a teenager and she wonders whether she never spoke about it because she's autistic.
When she met Paddy, she explains that she felt 'safe'.
"I wonder if that's why I stayed in that relationship for 15 years," she says. "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 then confirms that she felt more able to leave the marriage following her diagnosis.
Growing tearful, she says: "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."
Elsewhere in the documentary, which aired yesterday (15 March), Christine opens up about her battle with an eating disorder, which she previously credited Paddy for helping her to overcome.
Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.