The Chase star Anne Hegerty has had a difficult time on UK reality TV show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! over the last few weeks, facing her biggest fears in harsh conditions in the Australian “jungle” with a group of complete strangers.
But ‘The Governess’ has now been widely praised by fans for her confidence and bravery in sticking it out and using the platform to speak openly about her autism diagnosis, as she became the fifth campmate to be voted off the show on Wednesday night (UK time).
Anne, 60, was embraced by her campmates as they reacted in shock to the news she had been voted out, with many no doubt expecting her to go all the way to the final thanks to her huge support network across the world.
However, she smiled and took the announcement well as she said some emotional goodbyes and met hosts Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby for a final exit interview straight after.
She has since been praised by viewers on social media, who commended her bravery in staying on the show as long as she has — despite openly admitting she was struggling.
One wrote: “You can walk out of camp more than proud of yourself. You have been an inspiration from the very start. Watching you blossom and come out of your shell has been wonderful! Well Done Anne!”
“She flew halfway around the world, lived in a jungle for almost 3 weeks on basic rations,” another added. “I would say that is COMPLETELY out of her comfort zone.”
While one fan wrote: “Hopefully people now have a better understanding of Autism and the struggles it’s brings to a person’s life who is diagnosed as Autistic that’s all thanks to the WONDERFUL @anne_hegerty. Thankyou [SIC] Anne you’re a special lady… INSPIRATIONAL.”
Anne’s own family have previously expressed their concerns over the star’s time on the reality show, admitting to the Daily Mail they knew she would be finding it difficult.
“I know she will find it difficult, but we are all rooting for her,” Anne’s Uncle Richard, 87, told the news outlet. “It is very much out of her comfort zone and to be honest I am surprised that she agreed to go on the show.”
Despite her struggles, Anne has continued to educate those in the jungle and viewers at home about her Asperger’s syndrome. In an episode previously, she explained how it had impacted her love life in a frank conversation with Scottish-American actor John Barrowman. The TV star, who is single, said: “When I was working out that I was autistic it clarified a lot of things for me and one of those things was ‘that’s why I never seem to be able to make it work, that’s why I always feel claustrophobic in a relationship’.
“That’s why I kind of think that’s probably not intended for me.”
Before entering the show, Anne had been open about her fears of going on a reality show due to her autism – and admitted that she values her space, in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60.
“I can’t be around people too much,” she said. “So that could be a problem.”
She also appeared in a promo video for the show ahead of its launch and explained: “I feel I seem to have spent most of my life avoiding anything that might possibly resemble camping outdoors… Why am I even doing this?”
The TV star admitted that she thought she would annoy people.
“I’m sure I will annoy people immensely,” she added. “I think I’m capable of being deeply annoying… I’m kind of hoping this is going to be a bit of a learning curve.”