Ant McPartlin's drink-driving conviction nearly split up his partnership with Declan Donnelly and forced the pair to talk about their feelings and "deep things", it has been revealed.
The TV presenters, who return to screens as the popular Ant and Dec duo next weekend on Britain’s Got Talent, said that they were forced to think about their future together and tackle personal issues for the first time in years.
Speaking to the Guardian’s Weekend magazine in a joint interview, Donnelly said he was angry and upset over his colleague’s drink-driving offence, which he said was “indefensible”.
ITV News previously reported the moment he publicly apologised outside court after being convicted:
McPartlin was fined a record £86,000 and banned from driving for 20 months after he crashed his car in March last year while more than twice the alcohol limit.
He stepped down from his TV commitments, returning to work alongside Donnelly in January to film Britain’s Got Talent.
As reported by the publication, McPartlin and Donnelly – known as Ant and Dec – said that they deliberated over calling time on their partnership of 30 years.
Donnelly is reported to have said that he did think about splitting from his co-star and friend, but that he ultimately wanted McPartlin to be happy and healthy, and for their relationship to go back to what it was.
McPartlin said: “For the first time in many years, all we talked about were deep things like how we felt, and what the future held, and where we were, and all the chaos that has come along, especially for me.”
The TV stars met in 1989 on the set of children’s programme Byker Grove, before going on to form a musical duo under their characters’ names PJ and Duncan, and then becoming TV presenters in the mid-1990s.
They host programmes including Britain’s Got Talent, Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, which saw McPartlin replaced by Holly Willoughby at the end of last year.
The full interview with McPartlin and Donnelly will appear in Saturday’s edition of the Guardian’s Weekend magazine.