Former Love Island contestant Niall Aslam has broken his silence after leaving the reality TV show, revealing that he has Asperger syndrome.
The student exited the villa after just a week into the current series, with producers announcing his early departure was due to "personal reasons".
Niall, 23, has now revealed he left because he has Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that affects how people interact with others.
Writing to fans in a lengthy Instagram post, the reality TV star said: "Right, so here it goes ... for this post I am putting my laying it on thick brush down and hoping to hit the nation with a love potion.
"For far too long I have suffered in silence and not acknowledged a massive fact about my life which going into the villa has led me to finally realise and accept.
"When I was a young child I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a fact that until this post has never shared outside of my close family.
"Growing up was extremely difficult for me and I often felt out of place."
Niall added that he felt that people didn't understand him, and that he did not "want the label or stigma that was attached to it".
"I think it is important that I come forward, not only so that I can finally be honest with myself and to those around me, but also so that other individuals in my position can embrace their true colours," he added.
"It's not been an easy ride for me to come to terms with this fact but I am glad that I can now accept who I am, and am looking forward to my next chapter."
Niall also thanked the team at ITV for their support in his decision to leave the show.
He added that the positivity he has received from the British public has been "overwhelming".
Whilst in the Love Island villa, Niall repeatedly referred to the children's book The Rainbow Fish by by Marcus Pfister, joking that he needed a female fish to "unravel his rainbow colours".
Before signing off, he wrote, "Now it's time for this rainbow fish to dive deep into the big blue ocean and show the world what I'm all about - there's more layers to come! #AutismAwareness #BeYourOwnKindOfRainbowFish #LessPrangMoreLove."
Niall's message has prompted a very positive response on social media, with fans of the show offering him their support.
The Love Island star was popular during his time in the villa, with friend and fellow contestant Alex George expressing his sadness at Niall's early departure.
"I'm obviously sad that Niall's left the villa. We got on really, really well," he said.
"He's such a great guy and I look forward to catching up with him and having some fun with him outside."
- What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong condition that affects the way a person communicates.
Many people with autism struggle to express themselves and find it difficult to form relationships with other people.
Autism is considered to be a spectrum condition, meaning that some people who have the disability will need more support than others.
People who have autism are at a significantly higher risk of other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
The NHS estimates that around one in every 100 people in the UK has an autism spectrum disorder, which includes Asperger syndrome.
Some difficulties a person with autism can face can include:
- Sensory sensitivity
- Discomfort in social situations
- Obsession, repetition and routine
- Challenges surrounding time management, organisation and planning
According to The National Autistic Society, there are many situations that people with autism find overwhelming.
Simple changes such as using clear language, avoiding changes to plans and being patient can help someone with a autism-spectrum condition feel more at ease.
For more information, read The National Autistic Society's tips here.