Wednesday 20 February 2019

Ant McPartlin confirms split from wife Lisa following difficult year

The presenter sought help in 2017 for depression, alcohol and substance abuse.

Ant McParlin and Lisa Armstrong (Ian West/PA)
Ant McParlin and Lisa Armstrong (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah and Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Ant McPartlin and wife Lisa have announced their split – following a torrid year for the much-loved TV star.

The statement, confirming the “sad” news, comes after months of speculation about the couple’s 11-year marriage.

I’m A Celebrity…, Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway co-host McPartlin, 42, sought help last June for depression, alcohol and substance abuse.

He revealed that he could have died, telling the Sun On Sunday: “I was at the point where anything – prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs – I would take.

“And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me, ‘You could have killed yourself’.”

Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong (Ian West/PA)

The star struggled with a two-year addiction to super-strength painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

It was a conversation with wife Lisa Armstrong and TV partner Declan Donnelly (Dec) which got him on the road to recovery.

And McPartlin gave a glimpse of how his struggles affected his wife, when he told how he asked her to call an ambulance in the early hours of the morning after bingeing on tramadol, morphine and alcohol while recovering from a second knee operation.

He told the newspaper: “It was five in the morning and I was screaming in pain so I rang Lisa.

“She was upstairs because I was living in the living room because I couldn’t get around. I said, ‘You’re going to have to call me an ambulance. I’m in a bad way’.”

It was a far cry from the early days of their relationship.

The couple met at a Smash Hits concert in Newcastle in the mid-1990s while Armstrong was an aspiring pop star in Deuce and McPartlin was performing with Donnelly as PJ & Duncan.

Ant and Dec (Ian West/PA)

The band enjoyed some success with songs like Call It Love and I Need You before splitting up in 1997.

Armstrong pursued a change of career and is now head of make-up and hair at Strictly Come Dancing.

After McPartlin proposed in Dubai, the pair tied the knot in 2006, at a star-studded ceremony at St Nicholas’ Church in Taplow, Buckinghamshire, with Donnelly as best man.

McPartlin later told how the couple struggled to conceive, dispelling any myth that they did not have children because they were waiting for his on-screen co-host and best friend Donnelly to marry.

“There’s a rumour that we do everything together and I’m holding off having kids till Dec finds himself Mrs Right,” McPartlin told Radio Times magazine.

“I love that idea, but I’m afraid it’s not true. Lisa and I would love to have kids. We’re trying. It’s tougher than you think when you get a bit older.”

Armstrong has not spoken publicly about the marriage, although she did post a picture on Twitter giving a clue as to how she felt about 2017, throwing out a bag of rubbish labelled 2017 while holding her nose.

Meanwhile, McPartlin returned to his TV duties on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! last year.

He and Donnelly, who settled down and wed his agent Ali Astall in 2015, were back on sparkling form and the pair even quipped about McPartlin’s year.

Donnelly joked that he would have a new co-host on the show, Holly Willoughby, and when he later asked his co-presenter: “Where were you all summer anyway, what were you doing?”  McPartlin replied “Just stuff… just dead busy”.

McPartlin confirmed the end of his marriage on Saturday night, after months of rumours regarding the couple’s relationship.

A statement issued by McPartlin’s representative said: “In response to the recent speculation in the media, Ant is very sad to announce that, after eleven years, he is ending his marriage to Lisa McPartlin.

“Ant asks for privacy at this difficult time, for both himself, Lisa and their immediate families.

“No further statement will be made.”

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