Susan Boyle has revealed she has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, after years of believing she had suffered slight brain damage at birth.
The former Britain's Got Talent singing star - who has gone on to have hits around the world - told of her relief at having a proper explanation for "emotional outbursts" and "acute anxiety" that have afflicted her throughout her life.
Susan, 52, went on: "Doctors told my parents that I was starved of oxygen at birth and that this had caused me brain damage, leaving me with learning difficulties and a lower than average IQ.
"At school I was pushed aside as if I didn't matter, while the brighter pupils got all the attention. I was mocked and bullied.
"As a result, I spent my whole life in a bubble, felt inferior to others and had problems forming proper relationships."
Asperger's is a form of autism which typically means sufferers struggle with their emotions and have difficulty in social situations, often unable to pick up on non-verbal cues.
Susan has had difficulty playing live dates in the past because of anxiety problems which she now believes are as a result of her recently diagnosed condition.
She told Hello! magazine: "Now that I know the correct reason why, I understand myself better and can move on. It feels as if an enormous weight has been lifted."
"The message that I hope my revelation will give others is, if I can do it, so can you. No matter what your condition, you can do whatever you want."
Mark Lever, chief executive of The National Autistic Society, said: "Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which affects the way a person communicates with, and relates to, others.
"Diagnosis can be a critical milestone for people with the condition, which, as Susan said, can be a relief, providing an explanation for years of feeling 'different'. It can also offer a gateway to identifying appropriate support, and without it many people may find it difficult to access the help they need.
"By revealing her diagnosis Susan has played an important role in bringing the issue of autism to the nation's attention. Autism can have a profound and sometimes devastating effect on individuals and families, but public understanding and support can make a huge difference."
:: The full interview is in this week's edition of Hello! magazine which is on sale now.