Sia Shares She's on the Autism Spectrum 2 Years After Her Controversial Movie

Sia said she is on the autism spectrum, more than two years after her movie Music sparked backlash for its portrayal of autism.

By Angie Orellana Hernandez May 30, 2023 10:00 PMTags
Watch: Sia Reveals That She's on the Autism Spectrum

Sia is embracing being on the spectrum.

The "Chandelier" singer shared that she is on the autism spectrum during the May 25 episode of Rob Has a Podcast, noting that her autism diagnosis came later in life.

"For 45 years, I was like, ‘I've got to go put my human suit on,'" the 47-year-old told host Rob Cesternino and Survivor alum Carolyn Wiger. "And only in the last two years have I become fully, fully myself."

Her diagnosis has allowed her to celebrate more parts of herself.

"Being in recovery and also knowing about which kind of neurologicality you might have, or might not have," said the singer, who wed Dan Bernard earlier this month, "well, I think one of the greatest things is that nobody can ever know you and love you when you're filled with secrets and living in shame."

She continued, "And when we finally sit in a room full of strangers and tell them our deepest, darkest, most shameful secrets, and everybody laughs along with us, and we don't feel like pieces of trash for the first time in our lives, and we feel seen for the first time in our lives for who we actually are, and then we can start going out into the world and just operating as humans and human beings with hearts and not pretending to be anything."

Parents Celebrate Their Children With Autism

The news comes two years after she was criticized for her portrayal of autism in her 2021 movie Music, which she co-wrote, directed and produced. The film sparked backlash after Maddie Ziegler was cast as a teenager on the autism spectrum, rather than the role going to an actor with autism.

Sia addressed the criticisms on Twitter, writing that she "actually tried working with…a beautiful young girl non verbal on the spectrum" but that the actress "found it unpleasant and stressful."

She also encouraged people to watch the film before forming opinions of the project. "I believe this movie is beautiful, will create more good than harm," Sia tweeted at the time, "and if I'm wrong I'll pay for it for the rest of my life."

Lester Cohen/Getty Images

The film received two Golden Globe Awards nominations—for Best Motion Picture in the Musical or Comedy category and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for Kate Hudson—amid more controversy. The movie was under fire again after a scene in the film showed a teenager with autism being restrained, which members of the autism community said could be dangerous for the person being restrained and the one doing the restraining.

In response, Sia wrote that the film would feature a content warning before deleting her Twitter.

"I promise, have been listening," she said. "The motion picture MUSIC will, moving forward, have this warning at the head of the movie: MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people. There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help w meltdown safety."

She further celebrated the nominations on Instagram. "This movie is a love letter to everyone who has ever felt they didn't have a voice. What an incredible, exciting and unbelievable experience," she said. "Congratulations to all the cast and crew, and thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press. What an honor!"

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