In Brief

What has Ant McPartlin been doing?

Presenter took time off in 2018 to focus on rehab and addiction recovery

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly were named best presenters for the 18th time in a row at the National Television Awards last night, despite McPartlin being absent from screens for much of last year.

The presenters accepted their prize via live feed from the Britain’s Got Talent auditions, with McPartlin particularly emotional.

“This is a genuine shock especially this year. I’m shaking! We want to say thank you to everybody. I really don’t feel like I can accept it, the one reason we won this award was this guy, his wit, his determination, I love you pal,” he said.

So what has McPartlin been doing?

The TV star entered rehab in June 2017 for treatment for depression, anxiety and prescription drug and alcohol abuse.

Announcing the move, he told The Sun on Sunday: “I’ve spoken out because I think it’s important that people ask for help if they’re going through a rough time and get the proper treatment to help their recovery.”

He later returned to work, but then went back into treatment after being arrested for drink-driving in west London in March last year. The incident came just weeks after he announced the breakdown of his marriage to his wife of 11 years, Lisa Armstrong.

After being handed an £86,000 fine and a 20-month driving ban, McPartlin told reporters at the court: “I let myself down, I let a lot of people down. For that I’m truly sorry.”

He subsequently cancelled his appearances on the remaining two episodes of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, as well as the live finals of Britain’s Got Talent, leaving Donnelly to present on his own.

Despite speculation that McPartlin would return to hosting I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, ITV confirmed in August that he would stepping down from the show, says the Radio Times.

A spokesperson for the TV channel said he would “continue to take a break from all television presenting roles until 2019”.

Saturday Night Takeaway was postponed until 2020, and - for the first time since it began in 2002 - I’m a Celebrity co-host Donnelly had a different presenting partner: Holly Willoughby.

Speaking to The Sun on Sunday last weekend, McPartlin said he had left London after getting out of hospital last year: “I rented some houses in the country and locked myself away and walked the dog. No TV or social media. I did nothing. I barely watched the World Cup. I worked on myself and got well.”

The presenter said he had been supported by his PA-turned-girlfriend Anne Marie Corbett, who whisked him away for his birthday in November while he was struggling with not hosting I’m a Celebrity.

He has now moved to a new part of London, further away from co-host Donnelly and his ex-wife.

“You can’t go through what I’ve been through without being humbled,” he told The Sun on Sunday. “I would say I’ve definitely been humbled for the better.”

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