Melanie Sykes reveals her son’s autism diagnosis helped her end her ‘unhappy’ marriage

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  • Melanie Sykes has opened up about her son Valentino's autism diagnosis, revealing it was the "fuel" she needed to end her marriage.

    Melanie Sykes admitted that when her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, it made her realise she had to leave her husband, actor Daniel Caltagirone, so she could “function as a parent” to Valentino, now 17.

    “That boy is the light of my life. When he was diagnosed, he changed my life. I couldn’t be in a marriage that I wasn’t happy in, in order to help him,” she admitted on The Hot Mess Mums Club podcast on Friday.

    “I had to sort myself out and he helped me get out of the situation that I was in – he was definitely the fuel for the move to do that.

    “Because you and I know when you are unhappy you can’t function as a parent.”

    Melanie Sykes Daniel Caltagirone

    (Photo by rune hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images)

    Melanie Sykes admitted another driving force behind her decision to end her unhappy marriage was so her sons would see her “as someone to look up to and to respect”.

    She explained: “When you are unhappy you are not displaying what a woman should be dealing with. With two boys, particularly, I was very mindful of what they were observing of me as a woman and what they would take into their adult lives when they were dealing with women.

    Melanie Sykes

    Getty

    “Whether it be romantically or not because at that time I didn’t know what sexual persuasion they were going to be.

    “It was just what women are and what women are capable of. I am their main woman so everything I do; I want them to see me as someone to look up to and to respect. I think that is my duty as a mother, to boys particularly.”

    Melanie now co-parents Tino, as he is affectionately called, and her eldest son Roman with ex-husband Daniel.

    The couple split in 2008, saying they had “grown apart” with Melanie adding that they “share parenting completely”. She said at the time: “Our love for our children is greater than anything we feel about each other.”