Last year, the reality star and TV presenter announced that they were divorcing after 11 years of marriage, saying that it was “not an easy decision”.
Christine and Paddy share three children: twins Penelope and Leo, and Felicity. All three children are autistic, with Christine being diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disorder at the age of 33.
In a new interview, Christina said that she had masked when she first married Paddy in order to hide her natural responses to events and situations.
“I’d always wanted to be a wife so once I met Patrick, I fully went into ‘perfect wife’ mode, you know,” she told Psychologies magazine.
“I’ll stay in, I’ll cook and clean and make sure I’m the best wife I can be.”
Christine explained that she was “always pretending to be something else rather than simply just me”, adding that that was “all part of masking”.
According to the National Autistic Society, masking is an unconscious strategy in which autistic people hide or disguise parts of themselves in order to better fit in with those around them.
The Real Housewives of Cheshire star added that she’d “faked a lifetime” and had become used to hiding her true feelings.
She explained that, when she moved to Bolton with Paddy in her 20s, “the most comfortable place for me to be was to stay in the house waiting for him to come back. I was making things worse for myself because I ended up being too scared to go out. This lasted for around eight years.
“Patrick just thought I was a home bird, but I was making excuses all the time – whether it was weddings or birthdays – I avoided anything that meant socialising and having conversations with people,” she added.
Christine has previously spoken about being diagnosed with autism, saying that she had “struggled” throughout life, with the diagnosis helping her understand “why I am the way I am”.
McGuinness added that people should “have patience” with those who have been diagnosed with autism as “a lot of autistic people do move at a different speed”.
The British Medical Association (BMA) estimates that 700,000 people in the UK have some form of autism, while up to one in 100 children sit somewhere on the autism spectrum.
In December, Christine said that her children still didn’t know about her split from Top Gear host Paddy.