‘Bachelor’ Alum Demi Burnett Opens up About Recent Autism Diagnosis

Maria Wallisch

One of Bachelor Nation’s faves has always spoken candidly about her mental health.

The TV personality, 27, became a fan favorite on Season 23 of The Bachelor, where fans watched her compete for leading man Colton Underwood’s heart.

She then made waves on Season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise, where she appeared with and proposed to her girlfriend at the time, Kristian Haggerty, marking the first same-sex couple in Bachelor franchise history. (The pair have since ended their engagement.)

Demi revealed her autism diagnosis via Instagram over the weekend, posting several slides with information and resources about autism. “MAYBE A TRIGGER WARNING I DON’T KNOW BUT HEADS UP,” she wrote in the caption.

“I did a psychological evaluation and I’m autistic. There is a huge stigma when it comes to autism. I encourage you to be open-minded and accepting.”

The former Bachelor star also opened up about her diagnosis on Good Morning America and spoke about the “huge stigma” that comes with it.

“I grew up with the stereotype and the stigma around it, so I was like, ‘oh, I’m not autistic,’” said Burnett. “For the first time in my life, reading stuff that related to how I was feeling. I was like, ‘wait, that’s something that I felt that I could never describe,’” she continued.

Burnett described feeling different, not knowing why, and trying to mask it.

"That mask, of being like this 'oh my gosh, I'm so hot, I'm so fun, I'm so this, I'm so that'. That is like a personality I created for people to be comfortable around, and to be entertained by, to be accepted by," she said

Before her diagnosis, Burnett described struggling with depression and anxiety. "I was just really confused, and I felt like something was wrong with me," she said.

The TV personality's announcement will likely shed light on the different ways autism presents itself, especially in women. This is opening an important conversation of how autistic women have been underdiagnosed misdiagnosed, and diagnosed later in life. Burnett is an example of this, having just received her diagnosis at 27. Autism looks different for everyone, and research suggests that women and People of Color are underdiagnosed.

While she has received some negative comments on social media, Burnett’s announcement has been largely met with an outpouring of support, from fans and fellow Bachelor Nation alumni.

"All I want is to have a better quality of life," Burnett wrote on her Instagram post. "I will share more on my story of my evaluation and how I got to this point and all of my pain and struggles along the way. I want to make sure that anyone who is/was feeling like me can know you really aren't alone. It can get better! And most importantly, it isn't your fault."

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