Holly Madison speaks out about her autism diagnosis

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By Asiya Ali

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Holly Madison has opened up about her autism diagnosis.

The 43-year-old television personality - best known for dating the late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for seven years, until they parted ways in 2008 - recently spoke out about living with the developmental disorder on the Talking to Death podcast.

"The doctor told me that I have high executive functioning, which means I can pretty much go about my life and do things 'normally,'" the Girls Next Door alum said. "I think because I’m more quiet, I’ve only recently learned to make eye contact, I’m often in my own thoughts, things like that, so people take that as offensive."

"They’re like, 'Damn, you’re not super interested in me, f*** you,'" she explained with a laugh. "Like, I'm just not on the same social wavelength as other people but don’t take it personally. So I like being able to explain that."

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Holly Madison is best known for dating the late Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner. Credit: Denise Truscello / Getty

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is known as a spectrum disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience.

It is a neurological and developmental disorder that is characterized by some degree of difficulty with social interaction, communication, learning, and behavior, per the World Health Organization. Although it can be diagnosed at any age, symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.

The Down the Rabbit Hole author revealed to host Payne Lindsey that it was important for her to share her diagnosis publicly so people could understand her better. "I feel like throughout my life, people have not really liked me or have been like, rubbed the wrong way or been offended," she said.

"They think I'm like, stuck up or snobby or think I'm better than everybody else," she continued. "I also don't really have a gage for when other people are done speaking, so I tend to interrupt a lot, which pisses people off."

Like many people on the spectrum, the former reality star often finds it challenging to be flexible about the way she perceives others. "She said I have a hard time understanding why other people might think differently," Madison said about her doctor, "or do things differently than me."

Despite this challenge, Madison has learned to navigate social situations that may come more easily to her neurotypical peers, such as making eye contact. "I was never making eye contact before at all. I can apologize to people if I interrupt or talk over them and tell them why," she shared.

Furthermore, the author said that this "helps other people be more understanding" with her and not take her behavior personally.

"I have a little bit more patience now, and I don't take things as personally," she added.

wp-image-1263240195 size-full
Madison has "high executive functioning" which means she can "pretty much go about my life and do things 'normally'". Credit: Denise Truscello / Getty

The former Playboy model first talked about not being "neurotypical" and having "a hard time fitting in" during her childhood in an appearance on the Call Her Daddy podcast back in April 2021.

She explained to host Alex Cooper that she believed she had Asperger's - a diagnostic term that was reclassified as an autism spectrum disorder in 2013 - and was thinking about seeing a doctor.

She later confirmed in September on the Ahead of the Curve with Coco Mocoe podcast that she received a "formal diagnosis" as "someone on the spectrum".

Featured image credit: Denise Truscello / Getty

Holly Madison speaks out about her autism diagnosis

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Holly Madison has opened up about her autism diagnosis.

The 43-year-old television personality - best known for dating the late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for seven years, until they parted ways in 2008 - recently spoke out about living with the developmental disorder on the Talking to Death podcast.

"The doctor told me that I have high executive functioning, which means I can pretty much go about my life and do things 'normally,'" the Girls Next Door alum said. "I think because I’m more quiet, I’ve only recently learned to make eye contact, I’m often in my own thoughts, things like that, so people take that as offensive."

"They’re like, 'Damn, you’re not super interested in me, f*** you,'" she explained with a laugh. "Like, I'm just not on the same social wavelength as other people but don’t take it personally. So I like being able to explain that."

wp-image-1263240197 size-full
Holly Madison is best known for dating the late Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner. Credit: Denise Truscello / Getty

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is known as a spectrum disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience.

It is a neurological and developmental disorder that is characterized by some degree of difficulty with social interaction, communication, learning, and behavior, per the World Health Organization. Although it can be diagnosed at any age, symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.

The Down the Rabbit Hole author revealed to host Payne Lindsey that it was important for her to share her diagnosis publicly so people could understand her better. "I feel like throughout my life, people have not really liked me or have been like, rubbed the wrong way or been offended," she said.

"They think I'm like, stuck up or snobby or think I'm better than everybody else," she continued. "I also don't really have a gage for when other people are done speaking, so I tend to interrupt a lot, which pisses people off."

Like many people on the spectrum, the former reality star often finds it challenging to be flexible about the way she perceives others. "She said I have a hard time understanding why other people might think differently," Madison said about her doctor, "or do things differently than me."

Despite this challenge, Madison has learned to navigate social situations that may come more easily to her neurotypical peers, such as making eye contact. "I was never making eye contact before at all. I can apologize to people if I interrupt or talk over them and tell them why," she shared.

Furthermore, the author said that this "helps other people be more understanding" with her and not take her behavior personally.

"I have a little bit more patience now, and I don't take things as personally," she added.

wp-image-1263240195 size-full
Madison has "high executive functioning" which means she can "pretty much go about my life and do things 'normally'". Credit: Denise Truscello / Getty

The former Playboy model first talked about not being "neurotypical" and having "a hard time fitting in" during her childhood in an appearance on the Call Her Daddy podcast back in April 2021.

She explained to host Alex Cooper that she believed she had Asperger's - a diagnostic term that was reclassified as an autism spectrum disorder in 2013 - and was thinking about seeing a doctor.

She later confirmed in September on the Ahead of the Curve with Coco Mocoe podcast that she received a "formal diagnosis" as "someone on the spectrum".

Featured image credit: Denise Truscello / Getty