Naww! Melanie Sykes opens up about caring for an autistic child and how time apart will be 'difficult' while she's on I'm A Celebrity

She’s currently living it up in the I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here jungle, but Melanie Sykes will no doubt be missing her two sons, one of whom suffers from lifelong disability; autism.

The 44-year-old, who split from husband Jack Cockings last year, discovered that her 10-year-old boy, Valentino Luca, had autism after he began to display certain symptoms of the condition as a toddler.

Speaking about the struggles she endures of caring for a disabled child, Melanie said: ‘There are issues such as judging from other people. Valentino looks like a normal child but if he gets overloaded – if in a restaurant there is too much music, or the clatter of cutlery, he will have to get up and hop about. I do try and explain to people.’

TV presenter Melanie explained how her child might not be the most sociable of kids but but he’s still adored by his classmates.

‘He doesn’t have any friends but he doesn’t want any – even though all the people at school love him. He couldn’t give a monkeys. Valentino is in regular school, he has one-on-one support, but he is still an autistic child – he has social issues,’ she added.

‘They [people with autism] are very sensitive people. And they are very fun. Tino makes me laugh on a daily basis. He has no filter – he just says it how it is. He is a real character, a real joy,’ revealed Mel.


The television presenter, who is also mum to Roman Laurence, 12, is rarely separated from her children and is obviously feeling the pressures of being away from her two sons while Down Under. On Sunday night’s I’m A Celebrity, Mel broke down in tears after receiving a care package from home.

Before entering the jungle she admitted that leaving her kids would be the toughest part about being on the show.

‘This is the longest time I have been apart from my kids and it will be hard and difficult. I am going to miss them so much,’ revealed Melanie. ‘My youngest doesn’t really know about the show but my eldest is 12. He is looking forward to it but he will miss me. They are just kids and they want their mum.’

Catch Mel in action on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity at 9pm every evening. FYI though, it’s not on tonight because of the football…booo!

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Lucy Gornall