Sia has been on a bizarre sort of redemption arc ever since she faced intense (and fairly deserved) scrutiny from the autistic community over her 2021 film Music, which starred Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical performer, in the role of a non-verbal, autistic artist. In addition to her obnoxious and offensive comments about the film online, the “Chandelier” singer also faced backlash for featuring a dangerous prone restraint in the film, which she has since apologized for and promised to remove from all future printings. “I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough,” she said in a Tweet at the time. (The singer deactivated her account not long after and the Tweet has not reappeared.)
Then, this past May, Sia revealed a personal journey of her own: she was on the autism spectrum herself, per a new diagnosis. “I’m on the spectrum, and I’m in recovery—there’s a lot of things,” she said. “I’ve felt like for 45 years, I was like, ‘I’ve got to go put my human suit on,’ and only in the last two years have I become fully myself.”
In a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music Beats 1, the singer shared that an unexpected figure helped her come to this realization, which she called “the best thing that’s ever happened to me”: Kathy Griffin.
“I’m so grateful to Kathy Griffin for just saying, ‘Me and your fans, we think you’re autistic and you should get tested,” she said, detailing that she underwent an 18-hour neuropsych evaluation upon the comedian’s suggestion, which eventually led to her autism level 2 diagnosis. “It made a lot of sense to me because I’ve suffered, like really suffered my whole life, and I didn’t know why,” she said.
Despite this life-changing diagnosis, Sia is still proud of the controversial film. “I think it will have a little renaissance. That would be really nice,” she said. “That would make me really happy.”