Anne Hegerty has been a staple of ITV quiz show The Chase since series two premiered in 2010.
Nicknamed ‘The Governess’, Anne is better known for her stoic alias, featuring a grey suit and cropped hairdo.
But away from the cameras, she’s a much gentler soul, and has been candid about her Asperger’s diagnosis and how it affects her life.
She’s even had something of an acting career, appearing in various pantomimes including Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk on stage.
And she let fans in on a rather more candid side to her during her 2018 I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here stint.
We take a look into The Governess’s life away from the cameras, from her secret hoarding addiction to her frank sex life admissions.
Impressive net worth
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that Anne’s net worth is in the millions.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the quizzer is said to be worth a whopping £2.21million, or $3million in the USA.
Though the exact figure she was offered as part of her I’m a Celeb deal isn’t known, it’s estimated to be within the tens of thousands mark.
Celebrity PR specialist Ed Hopkins told The Sun: "Anne is a household name with a demographic who watch I’m a Celebrity.
"She’s also big in her own right and would have likely been offered between £60,000 to £80,000 to take part."
Anne has always been candid about her Asperger Syndrome diagnosis.
The condition is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which is characterised by having significant difficulties with social interaction and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.
During her stint in the I’m a Celeb jungle, Anne said she’s "happy to talk about" her condition – and her frankness has even inspired a younger generation of fans, who reached out to Anne during her I’m a Celeb appearance.
She even admitted that in 2008, when she was working as a freelance copy editor, work dried up as she found she couldn’t hit deadlines due to her health struggles.
It left her struggling with debt, and, speaking to The Guardian, Anne admitted it was enough for the housing association to come round.
"I very carefully peeked round the door and she kind of shoved it open, walked across piles of unopened mail and said: ‘Right, we’re going to fix this’."
Anne was assigned a social worker who helped her get onto benefits, but admitted she was on the brink of homelessness at the time.
Anne was only formally diagnosed with the condition aged 45, and hits out at anyone who says she "battles" the disorder.
Speaking to OK!, Anne explained: "The point I would make is that I don’t battle with autism – which is simply my personality – but I battle with people who don’t consider what accommodations I need."
Anne spoke about her hoarding habit during I’m a Celebrity, during a frank chat with EastEnders actress Rita Simons in the camp.
Anne told her: "There are things. I mean, if you saw my home you’d know there was something very wrong."
Rita asked: "You’re a hoarder?", to which Anne replied: "Absolutely, and messy. An OCD person would not like my house. It’s just sort of… I just get overwhelmed by all the things there are to do. I’m like, I have no idea."
X Factor star Fleur East had some insight to share at the time, as she chimed in: "So you just leave it. You don’t even want to touch it."
But Anne told OK! that lockdown really helped combat her hoarding habit.
"I’ve had so much time to get things sorted, and I’ve been cooking proper food!" Anne shared.
"People have thought I must be struggling during this time because people with autism like routine and structure, but for so many years I found it hard to develop a routine with my job.
"Every day can be different and filming can require me to be out and about. With this, I can finally impose my own routine," she concluded.
Anne says her autism has also affected her sex life.
The quizzing superstar says that while she has fallen in love, it doesn’t tend to be with people she meets in real life, as she prefers to keep a distance between her and any potential lovers.
Speaking to OK!, Anne said: "I fall in love with historical or fictional characters. People I can put a bit of distance between.
"I get overwhelmed in the presence of actual people and everything shuts down. I’ve found that with sex, too. It’s like I can’t be fully in it. That much intimacy, I almost zone out."
Anne’s longest relationship lasted several months, but she admitted sex failed to match up to the expectations she’d set in her head.
Talking to The Sun on Sunday, she admitted: "Sex was always better in my head. I felt like I was somewhere else while it was happening."
She also said she doesn’t intend to embark on any future romantic endeavours, as "having a relationship isn’t fair on the other person".
She might be used to being in front of the camera, having appeared on everything from The Chase and Britain’s Brightest Celebrity Family to The Chasers Road Trip – but Anne’s most bizarre video appearance comes in the form of an ASMR clip.
ASMR – that’s autonomous sensory meridian response, or ‘brain tingles’ – usually features ‘trigger sounds’ like people whispering, scratching or tapping to make viewers sleepy and relaxed.
And Anne got behind the concept for a LADBible short clip, as she read out some raunchy fanfiction penned by fans to the delight of her viewers.
"As the word left Anne’s lips, Steve felt a flutter go through him, making his knees go weak like freshly set blancmange," Anne whispered as she shook a plate of jelly.
And yes, if that sounds strange – it makes even weirder viewing.
Anne was an incredibly good sport when a photo of her ‘lookalike’ went viral at a Newcastle football game back in 2019.
The chaser turned some cruel trolling on its head after a picture of a topless man cheering his team on at the game made the rounds on Twitter, with users writing: "Is that Anne Hegerty from The Chase?"
But Anne had a string of brilliant comebacks at her disposal, as she quickly turned to Twitter to write: "I would just like to confirm that this is NOT me…." with a cry-laughing emoji.
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And as another user wailed: "I can’t unsee this!", Anne hit back: "YOU can’t unsee it? How do you think I feel?"
Fans were full of praise for The Governess at the time, with one telling her: "This is why you’re my favourite chaser Anne!"
"Anne, I salute you – epic response!" another cheered.
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