(LONDON) — From the moment she stepped into the public spotlight, singer Susan Boyle has been surprising people.
The shy middle-aged woman stunned the audience of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 with her soaring vocals while performing the Les Mis song “I Dreamed a Dream.”
Since then, the 52-year-old Scottish singer has sold millions of albums, been nominated for two Grammy Awards, written an autobiography and become the subject of a hit musical and a possible biopic with Meryl Streep reportedly in talks to play her.
Now, she’s surprising the world once again with her response to learning that she has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
“Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself,” she told British newspaper The Observer on Sunday. “I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me.”
That label – that she was “brain damaged” as a result of oxygen deprivation at birth – followed her through school, where she had difficulties learning and was mocked as “Susie Simple.”
Then, a year ago, she sought help from a Scottish specialist, who told her not only that she has Asperger’s, but an above-average IQ.
“I would say I have relationship difficulties, communicative difficulties, which lead to a lot of frustration. If people were a bit more patient, that would help,” she told the newspaper.
She added, “Asperger’s doesn’t define me. It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio